There's a scene about a third of the way through that takes place in the kitchen - taking advantage of the product placement way to raise money to finance his film, Burton has placed a carton of Minute Maid juice on the side. It's slightly in the background but perfectly in focus - but the words on the carton are hard to make out. There's a distinct lack of detail and punch in the picture overall.
Once I had sussed out what was actually wrong with the picture, I started to notice scenes where detail was missing all over the place. In close ups, the now customary pin sharp age lines that we are used to weren't as sharp as they are on other discs - they kind of disappear and give the picture a soft appearance.
The colours are also a little overcooked - reds in particular. They seem to leap from the screen trying to leave all the colours behind. They are solid and there's no trace of the fizz or solarisation that come with oversaturated reds - which gives me the impression that it's a deliberate act by the studio to try and give the picture a bit more punch.
Black levels also suffer a little - outdoor scenes look fine in the bright sunshine - but move indoors and that's when the detail seems to evaporate from the screen. There's very little detail in any of the shadows.
But to end on a high note - this is miles better than the Region 1 DVD that I have had in my collection for the last eight years or so. The source material is also cleaner as all the marks have gone from the picture. The Edge Enhancement that plagues that disc has all but been banished to Edge Enhancement hell as well and there's no digital artefacts of any kind throughout.
I think the first thing you will notice is the real lack of any dynamics. Sure the LFE kicks in every now and again, but when it does, it doesn't really have any great effect on what is going on onscreen. When Alec Baldwins character steps out the door and disappears into an unknown world full of dodgy stop-mo sandworms, there's no real change in the sound level to indicate he is in danger and this really isn't a nice place to be. A large sandworm rears its ugly head and disappears again just as quickly - but there's no real oomph to the proceedings.
When the LFE does kick in, it's normally to accommodate a large pipe on the organ in the orchestra as Danny Elfman tries to go sub teranian with his score again.
The surround channels are used sporadically and there are two or three split surround effects - but nothing to get excited about - and that just about sums up this soundtrack really.
Three Episodes From The Beetlejuice Animated Series to start us of...they are supposed to be in HD (and are in the AVC format) - but they are in really bad condition and pretty poor to look at. The sound is pretty tinny as well. For those of you that haven't seen any of the shows, it's a pretty poor attempt at cashing in on a successful movie. Full of canned laughter and poor animation, each one last about 12 minutes (though they take up 30 minutes of actual airtime), I got bored of listening to a fake announcer telling me “now it's back to Beetlejuice” just after where the commercial break would have been - there's about five in each episode - and none of them are any good.
Music Only Track is just that - select this option and you can watch the movie hearing only Danny Elfmans score - which is great if, like me, you are a fan of his music.
And that's it. For what's touted as an anniversary edition, it's pretty poor - where's the Burton commentary for starters? We would then at least know if those special effects were supposed to be so bad...
Made before Burton turned completely to the dark side, this film does contain some light humour that was evident in Edward Scissorhands and the early Pee-Wee movies. But this was 1988 - in 1989, with the advent of the Bat, burtons films were to get a lot darker and moodier - and they still are today.
Touted as a Twentieth anniversary special edition Blu-ray disc, this is a bit of a joke really. The picture and sound quality are adequate at best - but it's the distinct lack of extras that make me want to express my disgust to the World Wide Web immediately! Three (poor) cartoons made for Saturday morning TV in the eighties and a music only track - someone's having a laugh!
However, that's not going to stop me recommending this film to those of you who know how good it is and newcomers alike. And yes - it's worth updating that old SD version on your shelf just for the smart slipcase that this Blu-ray comes in. Case of brilliant film, poor disc.
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