Beetlejuice (Blu-ray / DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton
Directed by Tim Burton
Distributed by Warner Home Video
In 1988 Tim Burton unleashed "The Ghost with the Most" on an unprepared public. At that time we'd never seen anything like Beetlejuice before. A funny, spooky, loopy, and kooky look at life after death and what lays in wait for us on the other side? Talk about imaginative! This is where visionary director Burton excels the most ... almost effortlessly. There's no doubt Beetlejuice is one of the most bizarrely entertaining flicks of the last few decades, and now it has gotten with the times and been released not only as a twentieth anniversary DVD package, but also as a twentieth anniversary Blu-ray package as well.
Our plot finds us sympathizing with a recently deceased couple (Baldwin and Davis) who refuse to leave the home that was once very much filled with their living love. They may not have their lives, but at least they have their house, right? Wrong! A family of impossible to deal with idiots (except the daughter, played by an unforgettable Ryder) move in and start tearing things to pieces. Angered, our spirits try to frighten the intruders away, but to no avail. It's time to bring in the heavy guns -- bio-exorcist, Betelgeuse (Keaton). This guy swears he can rid them of the living, but little do our special spectres realize that this dastardly ghostly equivalent of a used car salesman has a much more horrifying agenda and price for his "services" than they originally had expected.
This movie is packing win. Everything about it shines from top to bottom. The DVD edition looks great, but its Blu-ray cousin -- wow! Everything is top notch. The colors literally pop right off the screen. The blacks are deep and the contrast is right on the money. I've seen this film a ton of times and grown pretty accustomed to the less than stellar prints that were previously available. Seeing it in 1080p was akin to watching it for the first time. You'll hardly believe your eyes! There's no question which is the winner in terms of picture quality ... Blu-ray all the way!
The audio tracks, be they Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Blu or Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD, are pretty much comparable. This is an older movie, and for whatever reason the sound mix really shows its age. That's not to say that it sounds bad, but I have heard a lot better in TrueHD.
Then there are the extras. Or should I say lack thereof? What's included here is identical on Blu-ray and DVD. There are no high-definition bonuses awaiting. All we get is an isolated score, a trailer, and three episodes of the hilarious animated Beetlejuice TV show -- "A-Ha!", "Skeletons in the Closet", and "Spooky Boo-Tique" -- which are presented in standard definition. Some anniversary edition, eh? *shakes head*
In the end, if all you have is that old bare bones DVD from way long ago, there's no reason not to upgrade to this edition. Something ... even a little something ... is better than nothing at all. Folks with the Blu's shouldn't hesitate for a second either. If you have the means, there's no reason not to dig on all the hi-def goodness. Maybe in a few years Warner will give this flick a worthy release. Until then, this will have to do.
4 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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