Beetlejuice

What’s it about? As if we didn’t already know.

Yeah, well some of us missed the boat on a lot of 80s classics as we were too busy watching Power Rangers.

What, for 12 years?

Shut up. Anyway, a deceased young couple spend the early stages of their afterlives attempting to scare an obnoxious family out of the recently vacated country home with the help of the titular ‘bio-exorcist’.

Feel a bit late to the party?

Definitely. Beetlejuice feels like the sort of movie anyone could enjoy. The story, haphazardly and quickly told, is very much a product of the decade it was made in; it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s so much fun that you don’t really care. The tale of a young couple, Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) dying in a tragic car accident, being bound to their house in spirit form and having to suffer the indignity of seeing a new family move into the home they’d slaved over only to see it turned into a ridiculous vision of modern art (plastic everything and large shapes a-go-go) by the family’s suffering artist might initially seem quite bleak. Of course, when you factor in that neither Adam or Barbara can leave the confines of the house after their death lest they get sucked into a shadow dimension populated by giant sandworms, taking the film seriously would be a mistake.

Adam and Barbara inhabit an absorbing and fantastical world where they get assigned to a careworker who advises them on how best to scare the new tenants out of their house. Unfortunately, their attempts backfire spectacularly, accidentally making the new family warm to them, and they soon enlist the help of freelance bio-exorcist ghost, Beetlejuice to get rid of them properly. Michael Keaton is fantastic in the title role, combining off-kilter comments, cartoon mayhem and just enough menace to steal every scene he’s in. Of course, it helps that director Tim Burton is in full-on fantasy mode. This might not be a story he’s written but the special effects, settings and characters are all so well realised that it may aswell be. It’s imaginative, random and damn funny.

Final thoughts?

Enjoyable offbeat story, wonderfully unique special effects and animation, and Michael Keaton is freakin’ awesome.

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