Beetlejuice is the second film directed by Tim Burton. It stars Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as Barbara and Adam Maitland, a happy married couple who, on their way home from the store, crash their car and upon arriving home, realize that they have been killed, and must haunt their house. Eventually, a family called the Deetzes moves into the house, and changes the style and layout of it, angering the Maitlands. Their attempts to scare the family out of the house are foiled, as the living do not pay attention to the deceased. They call upon the help of a mischievous “bio-exorcist” named Betelgeuse to help get the Deetzes out of their house, but turn him down. The daughter of Charles and Delia Deetze, Lydia (Winona Ryder), can see the couple and tries to help them but her efforts are foiled as well.
First off, let me explain my main problem with the film: Betelgeuse himself. While Michael Keaton plays the character very well, and his upbeat and wild attitude makes for a funny experience, he only appears for about 15% of the movie, if that. I truly think that as the title character, he should have way more to do and play a way more integral role in the story than he does. In fact, I think that the whole movie could’ve been done without him. Burton could’ve just created a film about two ghosts trying to scare the owners of their house, with hilarious results. That’s what Burton does best. He always manages to turn something scary at first into a humorous tale, and this could’ve easily worked as that, but instead, it became more complicated with Betelgeuse involved than it had to be.
That said, there are still plenty of great scenes in the film, such as when the Maitlands use their powers to make the Deetzes sing the Banana Boat song at a dinner party. Funniest one in the movie, by far. As for the story, it’s really unique compared to other paranormal films like it. With the majority of ghost movies, we’re on the receiving end of things, seeing only what the living see. But with Beetlejuice, we see both the ghosts’ actions from their PoV and from the Deetzes’. In comparison to other Tim Burton films, it makes for a thrilling experience. While the green screen in the film hasn’t aged that well, considering how good others have, it’s not the worst and is acceptable by today’s standards. Its writing is also exceptional, and adds to the film’s well-deserved praise. Beetlejuice may not have the most fleshed out titular character, but it’s still a funny and creepily splendid outing in Tim Burton’s filmography. I’m going to give it a B+. Stay tuned for my next review, Edward Scissorhands!
Beetlejuice stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton. Directed by Tim Burton.