It’s been twenty years since Beetlejuice came out, and we didn’t know a lot back then. We didn’t know that Michael Keaton would essentially retire after Batman. We didn’t know that Alec Baldwin would blossom, fade, and be reborn anew as a comic icon. We didn’t know if Winona Ryder was going to succeed with the studio system. We didn’t know about Jeffery Jones’s sexual predilections and we weren’t sure if Tim Burton could keep up his winning streak.
Such is life; but Beetlejuice has aged well. Bladwin and Geena Davis star as Adam and Barbara, a happily married couple who enjoy their time at their perfect Norman Rockwell home. Which is good for them as they die accidentally and are stuck in their home. Such is death. They get a book telling them how to deal with their passing, but it reads like stereo instructions.
A family, the Deetzes moves in, headed by Charles (Jones) and Delia (Catherine O’Hara), with his daughter
What is amazing about the film is how brilliantly it mixes tone. The mash-up of Rockwell with Gothic is more fitting than one would expect, while
Alas, other than the great 1080p transfer, there’s not much here to recommend the film. Warner Brothers presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 and in a TrueHD track. Extras are limited to the film’s theatrical trailer and three cartoons from the Beetlejuice Animated series. I made it through one, and though playful, it’s not really a good companion piece to the film.
Body Heat was Lawrence Kasdan’s first film, and though he gets the mood and look right, it never quite sings. William Hurt plays Ned Racine, a lawyer in
On top of the trio, you’ve got a strong supporting performance by Ted Danson, and a star turn by Mickey Rourke as an expert pyromaniac. But the film – like a lot of neo-noirs, falls into the trap of not being clever enough. We know how these things go, so you keep waiting for the machinations to be a little more elaborate or involving. But if the film falters in plot, Kasdan was always an ace writer, and so the film has a number of great lines (“You’re not very bright, I like that in a man” being the classic).
Though I was also not a great fan of it, The Last Seduction does this sort of thing better, but the way it succeeds may be more as female empowerment experiment in genre. Body Heat is from the male’s perspective, and that works too, but in the supplements Kasdan references films like Out of the Past. Sadly, you can’t improve on perfection.
Warner Brothers presents the film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and in TrueHD. The transfer here is that much better than the DVD, and the sweat, heat and mist are palpable figures, which was always what was intended. The extras are a carbon copy, though. There’s a three-part making of, with sections entitled “The Plan,” “The Production” and “The Post-Production” (44 min.) with interviews with Kasdan, Hurt, Turner, Danson, composer John Barry, editor Carol Littleton and cinematographer Richard Kline. It’s a fairly informative piece, though fans who’ve always enjoyed the film’s erotic kick may be less than pleased to see Turner as a middle-aged woman who’s settled into herself. She still gives a fun interview though. There’s also a 1981 interview with Turner and Hurt (12 minutes) that may kick that interest back up, and the two are fun there. There are five “lifted” scenes (10 min.) that mostly extend what was previously seen, and the film’s theatrical trailer.