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John's Movie Reviews (8)

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Beetle Juice 
4/4 stars

Tim Burton is my favourite director, no question. His movies have a distinctive look and sensibility which is peculiarly his; you only have to look at a film to see if he had a hand in it.

His work is original, quirky, imaginative and very highly stylised. His eye for detail is extremely finely tuned and he is still one of the most visionary cinematic geniuses working today.

I find it hard to believe now that there was once a time when I hadn't heard the name Tim Burton, but there was. It was before the release of a little movie called Beetlejuice.

I was about eight when I first saw the film, and it was a revelation. I'd never seen anything like it. It was gaudy, Gothic, grotesque and great!

The score and feel of the film - that of weird askew Gothic-horror carnival - are set, in accordance with Burton's vision, by fellow genii, composer, Danny Elfman and production designer, Bo Welch, who are both so on the money here, it's impossible to imagine a more perfect team. Yes, it looks a bit dated now, thanks to it's stop-motion animation, but that adds to the film's charm and is better for it, in my opinion

The script, written, first by Michael McDowell (from his original idea) then re-written by script doctor, Warren Skaaren, is magnificent and hilarious. All the characters are well-observed, fun caricatures; that's not a negative criticism - you get the impression that this is wholly deliberate.

The acting from all cast members is very fine, and strike just the right note. Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are fabulous as the straight-laced Maitlands, Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones are very funny as Delia, the neurotic, spoilt brat of a woman, and Charles, her hen-pecked husband. Winona Ryder puts in a great performance as the morbid little girl lost, Lydia and Glenn Shadix is a barrel of laughs as Otho. The movie belongs, however, to Michael Keaton, whose ill-mannered, foul-mouthed, lecherous, disgusting, but somehow charming and charismatic 'Ghost with the Most' is nothing short of brilliant.

Beetlejuice is one of the most fun movies you will ever see, and is a delight with its great premise, hilarious dialogue, inspired visuals and wonderful score. It's a must-see movie.

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