Director Tim Burton is known for having a unique and rather "dark" perspective on storytelling. His films, including Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, explore human nature and the demon inside us all generally in a rather humorous and lighthearted way. An excellent example of this is his 1988 film about death and hauntings titled Beetlejuice. Starring Michael Keaton (Spotlight), Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise), Alec Baldwin (It's Complicated), and Wynona Rider (Heathers), it offers a non-scary look at "the other side" and what happens when we die. Thanks to Warner Bros. we can now experience this terrific film in 4K UHD.
Adam (Baldwin) and Barbara (Davis) live in a small town in a big house on a hill. Childless, their relative who is a realtor by trade, urges them to sell the house but they refuse. However, one day, after running to the store, they crash on the way home and drown in the river. At first, they don't realize they are deceased but when the new owners move into what was once their house, Adam and Barbara try almost anything to scare them away. Unfortunately, the living can't see them, and since they are new at this whole afterlife thing, they are unsuccessful.
The new owners, from New York City, decide to redecorate the house from country décor to modern chic much to Barbara's and Adam's dismay. However, Lydia (Ryder), the teenage girl now living in the house, is obsessed with death and can see Barbara and Adam clear as day. They strike up an unusual friendship especially when the older ghost, Beetlejuice (Keaton), that Adam and Barbara release to help them scare off the living, becomes unruly and uncontrollable. Beetlejuice is obnoxious, obstinate, and he will do anything he can to escape the afterlife, even if it means tricking Lydia into marrying him.
Keaton shines in this role, breathing life (pun intended) into an immature and manipulative ghost. He plays the title character with a certain amount of moxie blended with a childlike, mischievous air that has the audience liking him while not wanting to. Ryder is great as the serious, brooding teenager who is actually tickled pink to be able to see and hear the dead. Davis and Baldwin portray the cute and loving couple realistically, which makes their characters believable.
The 4k video quality is a definite improvement but sometimes the black levels are off creating somewhat of a distraction. The details are sharp though and the colors are true and deep. The Dolby Atmos audio compliments the video very well. The depth is particularly noticeable during the now-infamous scene of the Deetz family and guests lipsynching to the Banana Boat Song/Day-o. The Beetlejuice Combo pack comes with the 4K disc, Digital HD, and the previously released Blu-ray disc. The latter houses the previously released extras including: Music-Only Track, Beetlejuice Cartoon Episodes (A-Ha!, Skeletons in the Closet, and Spooky Boo-Tique), and the
Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:27).
I was in high school when this terrific film was released and I loved from the first time I saw it. Keaton is wonderful as is Ryder and Catherine O'Hara (Best in Show) offers a memorable performance as Delia, the "artist" whom, despite being less than pleased, moves to the countryside to please her husband.
I recommend getting this movie before October so you can enjoy it with your family during Halloween season. It's fun, adorable, amusing, and heartfelt but be forewarned, you will find yourself with the Banana Boat Song/Day-o stuck in your head for days to come!