The plot itself here is enough to give Burton free reign to be as bizarre and wacky as he wants to be. Whether it’s the dry take on Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’s quaint American town, the satiric post-modern style of Winona Ryder’s family or the darkly comic view of the afterlife, everything is filtered through Burton’s unique interpretation and mixes surprisingly well. Just look at the underworld sequences, which are a) original and b) still tons of fun for the imaginative character designs and visual gags. The practical effects and makeup when Beetlejuice does his thing, for example, are clever and highly rewatchable. And I still laugh at the waiting room inhabitants, like the lady sawed in half, the shark guy and the dead football team. Weird, but funny. (Much like the movie itself.)
However, the main reason this movie still holds up is the title character. Michael Keaton is phenomenal here, showcasing a different side then he had or ever will (probably) show as an actor. His nonstop barrage of witty comebacks and physical humor and timing really sells Beetlejuice as the slimy, car salesman-like character. Even though his part is really a supporting role at best, he’s the character that sticks with you and I can’t imagine any other actor besides Keaton having that same effect.
Beetlejuice Cartoon (36:45): Three episodes of the early 90s cartoon spinoff, which strangely enough revolves around the plot that Lydia and Beetlejuice are best friends. I remember watching this a few times as a kid, and there are still some cute spitfire gags from the Keaton ripoff voice actor, but I don’t think the show is special enough to recommend.
Music Only Track: A nice way to highlight Elfman’s trademark fun score, but I can’t imagine anybody actually watching the movie like this.
Extra Tidbit: Despite being the title character, Michael Keaton is only in the movie for a total of 17 minutes.