Beetle Juice - (1988)
"Rule Number Two: the living usually won't see the dead"
The standard wonderful atmosphere of Tim Burton's movies takes on a slight pinkish hue in this film, without abandoning the general black, a matte-type background that we are used to. Yes, there are still grotesque characters, yes, it's still baroque, and yes, it's still a fantasy; but this film really "see death in an optimistic way", with its comical aspect being much more carefully and better crafted than its noir or horror counterparts. Beetlejuice is a film that fans and haters alike will find so much difficult to forget.
Two newlyweds die in a car accident and end up in a kind of purgatory arranged in the attic of their own home. They don't even know they're dead. They have to wait for a classification that will allow them to advance to the rank of angel, and the bureaucracy of celestial formalities is...supernatural (how else could it be?). The house, which continues to exist in the real world, is taken over by a bizarre family, relation to whom the two automatically become ghosts. Beetlejuice, Freelander, and bio-exorcist spirit intervene, hired by the two at first to scare the new tenants... It's not as simple as it seems... The new tenants are from New York, so they're used to pretty much anything. They've only heard about being scared. Instead of being afraid of them, they see the two ghosts as a very good business opportunity, which they rush to take advantage of through tourism.
Finally, misunderstandings arise which are eventually dispelled in a harmonious cohabitation between the living and the dead, with the only loser in the whole affair being Beetlejuice, condemned to the waiting room, where another petitioner, a medicine man (magician, shaman, or wizard - the Jivaro Indian tribe - Amazon), punishes him severely by shrinking (humorously) his head. Although it's just a satire, and the existential themes are treated superficially and from a humorous perspective, the film manages to induce a different and complex feeling through the play of sets, the contrast between the two families, and the filming techniques that aim primarily at altering spaces to induce a feeling of unnaturalness. The film boasts a lively aesthetic, featuring original humor and practical effects that integrate seamlessly into the overall experience.
"Beetlejuice combines gleefully gory special effects with high camp, sharp wit, and irreverent humor."
Go see this movie if you haven't seen it yet (TV channels have made a habit of rerunning it). If you've already seen it, go see it again, but this time pay more attention to the sets, actors, and makeup. Beetlejuice, when viewed properly, helps you understand how Tim Burton works. Still remains a unique film with plenty of capacity to entertain and to bring people to appreciate cinema more. The implementation of practical effects is executed exceptionally well, utilizing techniques such as stop-motion animation, prosthetics, and costumes to bring the peculiar creatures of the afterlife to life. Practical effects in film possess a timeless quality, as even when they appear dated, they remain relevant to the narrative and offer a tangible element for actors to engage with. Despite being able to discern the techniques used for many of the effects in the film, I remained fully engaged and immersed in the viewing experience. In fact, the practical effects only served to deepen my engagement with the film.
Rumors have been widely circulating that there is a possibility of a new Beetlejuice 2 starring Johnny Depp to be released around 2025. Only some rumors it seems!
PS: Remarkable performances by Alec Baldwin, but especially by Michael Keaton, in a role that's different from anything he's played before and in which he does...fantastically!
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