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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Sided
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Italian - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Isolated music score
  • Production notes

Beetlejuice

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Director Tim Burton has given us many darkly artistic films such as Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands and has created himself a style for his films. Beetlejuice would have to be one of his quirkier films, and also one of his best along with Batman. Boasting a huge talented cast, a spooky and energetic score and superb special effects for its time, Beetlejuice is guaranteed to entertain.

Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffery Jones (who also features in Sleepy Hollow), Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder (who also features in Edward Scissorhands) and Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, this huge cast really blend together nicely and Catherine O’Hara is just brilliant at playing the selfish and childish bitch. Winona Ryder plays her usual dark characters, and this, being so early in her career really boasts her ability. But Geena Davis, A young Geena Davis at that; She just reminds me of Bonita from Play School but still really fits the role.

After being killed in a car accident on their vacation, the home-loving couple (Alec Baldwin and a young Geena Davis) are stuck haunting their own house. An obnoxious, trendy family move in and they have trouble scaring them away. What better way to do it than to call the afterlife’s freelance bio-exorcist to scare the family away?

  Video
Contract

Filmed in the 80s, this film shines brightly on DVD. The colours are really full and rich, but still hold the 80s flavour. The skin tones are very soft and pastel-like, giving the transfer a painted feeling. The black areas are bold and stark, and work brilliantly with the luminous greens, bright whites and dazzling colours, and the transfer is simply stunning, especially for a film of its time.

The disc is double sided, and single layered on each side. Side A features the 4:3 fullscreen transfer, while Side B features the 1.85:1 widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer. There is minimal difference between the 4:3 aspect and the widescreen aspect, and the only advantage to watching the widescreen side of the disc is that you don’t get the Pan and Scan movement. But the question remains, with the aspect of 1.85:1 being so close to 4:3, why not make these dual ratio discs with films shot in 2.35:1 and showing a really good comparison between the pan and scan alternative?

  Audio
Contract

The soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 in English which is surprising as when this film was made, the soundtrack would have been stereo. Also to my surprise is that both sides of the disc feature a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, unlike Columbia Tristar’s Limited Edition release of Men In Black which has one side as Stereo and the other as Dolby Digital 5.1. The rear channels are only used for the occasional sound effects and always for Danny Elfman’s superb score. The clarinets that trill all the way through the film really add an edge to the score as do the duelling and straining strings, and the trombones and tubas add a bass, boldness and fullness to the score.

The surround channels are generally too loud for their own good, and become too prominent in the sound set-up, distracting away from the front speakers where all the dialogue and general sound effects come from. The dialogue is audible for most of the film, but some phrases can be lost when the soundtrack becomes to loud in the surround channels. When there is no background score, the surround channels are just dead, which keeps reminding you that you are watching a film. But still, given the film’s theatrical release date, the new surround soundtrack is good, but just too loud in the surround channels.

  Extras
Contract

Interactive Menus, Scene Access, Theatrical Trailer, Music Only Soundtrack, Production Notes, Cast and Crew, Film Flash.

The Production Notes and the Cast and Crew notes are the one of the more informing sets of notes. The production notes go into great detail about the scripting, producing, art direction and the scoring of the film.

The menu is simply atrocious though. The writing on the buttons is very hard to read, and the menu just looks disgusting. However, once you have left the main menu, the buttons become clearer to read.

  Overall  
Contract

The humour used is really smart and clever, and is thoroughly entertaining. This is definitely a collector’s disc if you are a fan of Burton as it really shows off that even older films can still have superb transfers. The combination of horror, comedy and quirkiness really gives the film a Burton edge to it. The transfer is really nice and clean, especially for its age and is a delight to watch. The extras are a bit disappointing but getting behind-the-scenes footage and other bits and pieces like that would be hard to come by, especially in a good enough quality. Overall a really nice disc to watch, with the added feature of Dual Ratio for those who like their fullscreen movies.


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      And I quote...
    "A dark fairy tale that takes you beyond this life"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          REC R-800c
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Centre Speaker:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Surrounds:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Subwoofer:
          Cambrige
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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