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Ghost Canyon

Beetlejuice: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital
(Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Winona Ryder, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / PG / (1988) 2020 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Michael Keaton, Academy Award winner Geena Davis, Alex Baldwin and Winona Ryder star in director Tim Burton's comic twist on supernatural horror tales, 'Beetlejuice'.

When a couple of nice, young homebody ghosts (Baldwin and Davis) try to haunt the pretentious humans who have moved into their house, they ask for help from a demonic wraith (Keaton) they cannot control in this comic fantasy that mixes the quick and the dead with a laugh and a fright.

Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the simply brilliant 'Beetlejuice’ in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this September 1st, 2020.

For my money, this 'Beetlejuice: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.

So, what we have is 'Beetlejuice' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265 (71.22 Mbps), Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.

Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable.

For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the scene where Baldwin asks Beetlejuice if he can be scary, and Keaton breaks out his "alien tentacle" face (albeit from the back!) in the graveyard, where once before it was all blended in, dull and grey, here it is now brightly popping and highly effective for the scene in question (out of many)! It just all comes more vividly to life, which is amazing to see, in truth.

Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably in every scene now where we get a close up of Keaton uttering his catchphrase "It's showtime", as the detail in his face (and those of the "dead couple," who I won't give away their names, in case you still haven't seen this incredible movie!), are now so defined, so, well, alive in their contrast and depth. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.

As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital 2.0, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 2.0, German: Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0, Chinese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 and Czech: Dolby Digital 2.0.

Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.

Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, hyperbolic as it may sound, there has never quite been another film like 'Beetlejuice'.

Vomited from the maniacal mind of Tim Burton, before his name became tantamount to an adjective, the film is such a flurry of paradoxes that it really shouldn't work.

But work it does, not so much bending genres as warping and distorting them like the monstrous pantomime faces scrunched by its ghostly protagonists – a ghoulishly zany live action cartoon filled with wonderful weirdness, and an unequivocal '80s classic.

Only Burton could transmogrify the horror of life after death into a rambunctiously mischievous fairy tale, but the snarkily cheerful Leave it to Beaver New England introduction proves a perfect setup to the ensuing punchline of the afterlife.

Naturally, in the hands of dear Tim, the true horror of death lies not in the exquisitely realized, gruesomely surreal Dune-like wasteland of horrific stop motion leviathans, but in purgatory ultimately functioning as a garish, never-ending bureaucratic waiting room, with drawling receptionists thumbing copies of pedantic instruction manuals. Oh, the horror!

Indeed, for all its zaniness and Tex Avery-style slapstick, 'Beetlejuice' is a film brimming with surprising heart and cleverness.

Burton has always been at his pitch-black, satirical best ripping apart ideologies of 'normal life', and he has a ball equally taking jabs at our goodhearted ghostly protagonists (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, both charmingly flustered), who are tickled pink by the prospect of a 'staycation' cooped up refurbishing their home, or the house's posthumous inhabitants (the deliciously demented Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara), who tastelessly claw at postmodern décor or oafishly Machiavellian capitalism, goaded on by their preening design consultant Otho (the note-perfect Glen Shadix).

By contrast, it's pretty easy to sympathize with their goth daughter (Winona Ryder at her surly, adorable best), who cheerfully pens suicide notes beginning with "I am *utterly* alone" before it was cool.

This all goes without mentioning the film's star attraction: Michael Keaton, as the titular sh*t- disturbing Bio-Exorcist. Keaton's career-defining performance is truly on another level of comedic genius, as he roars through the film like a Tasmanian devil Rumplestiltskin, riffing, swearing, crotch-honking, and guzzling scenery like the demonic snake he eventually transforms into.

It's a tantamount to Keaton's wacky, manic charisma that he's barely in his own movie, and yet provides one of the most unforgettable filmic characters of all time from essentially an extended cameo.

And yet, the film's most bizarrely impressive accolade is, in spite of this cauldron of seething, seemingly antithetical weirdness, Burton has managed to stir up a strangely, unprecedentedly feel-good film.

Somehow, in its mad tornado of satire, gorgeously oddball visuals, and adventurously eccentric performances, seasoned with Danny Elfman at his infectiously bouncy best, and sprinkled with a couple of Harry Belafonte Calypso dance numbers for good measure (naturally), Burton's Gothic ode to the afterlife couldn't surge with more life and vibrancy.

Beautifully grotesque and morbidly heartfelt, for audiences familiar or inexperienced, it's unquestionably worth reciting the name three times, and uncorking the spectacular insanity of 'Beetlejuice'.

As noted, 'Beetlejuice' was brought to life from the imaginative mind of Tim Burton who went on to produce and direct some of the most visually stunning films of our time such as Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

'Beetlejuice' also received an Academy Award® for Best Makeup with renowned makeup artist and three-time Oscar-winner Ve Neill, and went on to be ranked on AFI's Top 100 list of Funniest American Movies.

As for the Special Features included here on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, there's not many, as you can see, but the stand out for me are the three (3) hilarious "Beetlejuice" Cartoon Episodes; which are crudely drawn and brought to life, sure, but still resonate a love for them from the viewer, even now.

Those episodes are: 'A-Ha!', 'Skeletons in the Closet,' and my own personal favorite, Spooky Boo-Tique.' Indeed, as they are not that long in length, you should go to YouTube now and watch the entire first season of the Animated TV Show!

'Beetlejuice' (along with 'The Goonies', 'Sherlock Holmes' and 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows') will be available on September 1st, 2020 on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $24.99 (expected retail price) each, and feature an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features in HD, and a Digital HD* version of the feature film.

Fans can also own the 4 films in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:

"Beetlejuice" Cartoon Episodes
Theatrical Trailer

Official 'Beetlejuice' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Trailer

'Beetlejuice: 4K Ultra HD' Blu-ray Amazon Purchase Link