C'mon Hollywood: Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!
In 1988, Tim Burton’s BEETLEJUICE was released, signaling a “darker” style (his previous studio film was PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE) that would become his signature for many years to come. Michael Keaton, who played the titular “ghost with the most” was fairly well known from his performances in MR. MOM and GUNG HO, but wasn’t exactly “on fire,” until after the release of BEETLEJUICE (and then, of course, Burton’s BATMAN).
BEETLEJUICE is considered by most to be a classic, both of Burton’s traditional style and Keaton’s awesome performance. The supporting cast of Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, skinny Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, etc.,were all good as well, but nothing compared to what Keaton did in just under 18 minutes of screen time. It was a role that let us see a crazier, more sinister comedy streak from the actor, creating a barrage of quotes from the film that stand to this day.
We all know that box office success typically guarantees a sequel, especially today, but sometimes it just doesn’t come together. With BEETLEJUICE, Tim Burton’s career exploded, leading him to BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS, both with Keaton. However, after that the two separated into their own respective careers and haven’t reteamed since.
So, the question is: Why not? Why leave BEETLEJUICE hanging? I’m sure that many of you will feel that it would be best to leave the film be, let it stand as is. You may think “not every movie needs a sequel” and I’d agree with you, especially in the case of SMURFS 2. But, in this instance, I feel that BEETLEJUICE absolutely deserves a one. In fact, I think the character should be in multiple sequels. Additionally, I know the argument of both Keaton and Burton being “past their prime” will inevitably come up, which is ridiculous. I’d like to know what the age limit is for making successful films. Also, let Clint Eastwood know, because he hasn’t gotten the memo and he’s 82. Or Ridley Scott, who’s 75.
Michael Keaton created an awesome character in BEETLEJUICE, a bad guy we root for, even if we hope he gets his due in the end. He was funny, charismatic, memorable, quotable, and he ate bugs. Keaton simply OWNED the role. I could not see another actor playing BEETLEJUICE, nor would I want to. For as long as Keaton draws breath he IS Beetlejuice. I don’t want a reboot, I don’t want a re-imagining, I just want to see Keaton and Burton team back up to give us another outing with the enigmatic “bio-exorcist.”
Michael Keaton is 60 years old. Although I feel that many actors can hold onto the gold for a long while, you still have to cut the guy some slack. He may not look like a geezer, but he’s getting on in age and the time to strike is now-o-f*cking-clock to get him to the make-up room and on set, spouting the crazy/awesome that is Beetlejuice. Keaton has had a lot of hit or miss roles since his role as BATMAN and I’ve always felt he hasn’t gotten enough love. He’s got the intensity and the humor to occupy the screen well and it’s unfortunate we haven’t seen more of him, especially in roles like BEETLEJUICE. As seen recently in THE OTHER GUYS, it’s evident that Keaton has still got “it,” and I sincerely hope he is given the venue to prove it.
As for Burton, he’s had tremendous success and arguably some hit-or-miss as well (although more of the latter). I’ve enjoyed the majority of his films as time has moved on and am looking forward to seeing what he does with DARK SHADOWS, which seems to fall more in line with BEETLEJUICE than anything he’s done since that. Dark, creative, spooky, and funny; Burton can do this well…when he DOES do it well (as with BEETLEJUICE).
As fans we want to see more of the great stuff. We want to see great creative team-ups, sequels to films that warrant them, and new ideas that intrigue us. I firmly believe that Burton and Keaton could make a BEETLEJUICE 2 into something awesome, funny, and gothic-style cool in a way that only they could. With Seth Grahame-Smith working on a script for the film I have hope that it will happen, but the concept has been spinning it’s wheels for decades, so naturally I have my doubts.
You have a great team in Burton/Keaton and I’d love to see what they bring to the table 24 years later. The concept and the character are ripe for exploration with so much potential to exploit. We are inundated with so many unnecessary and unworthy sequels every year, why can’t we get one that has earned a continuation? Say it with me: Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!
|Extra Tidbit:||One of my all-time favorite comedies is Keaton's Multiplicity. It's a comedy I can watch anytime and enjoy it completely.|