All the cast are excellent, from Baldwin and Davis as the straight-laced Maitlands, to Jones and O'Hara as the annoying Deetzes, but the show belongs to Michael Keaton. His manic and hilarious title character is a revelation. He is absolutely brilliant.
I don't like Betelgeuse. While it's true that Keaton successfully lends him a crazy one-of-a-kind personality, his entire presence in the movie was an annoyance and didn't do anything to move the primary plot forward. The story already had a point of conflict created by the family wanting to stay and create an amusement park out of the haunted home. But then the entire film veers off the rails because we have this insane bio-exorcist who really just wants to marry an underage girl?? I could not comprehend why this even existed in the story. Then, when they manage to say his name three times (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice) suddenly everything is fixed and now we all can live in harmony in one home. Wait, what happened to the original point of conflict? To say I was baffled is putting it mildly. I will say I also struggled with some of the weird decisions about how the world of the dead looks, and the stop-motion did not blend well with the live action, but these are minor quibbles I could have overlooked. If the film had just stuck to its original premise, and not decided that it was more important to create the titular character, I think it would have been a great success for me. Instead, it is a movie that I greatly enjoyed for about an hour, and then decided it was only OK in the last 30 minutes.
Burton teamed up with his early career favorite Michael Keaton for the title character, and in turn created what is perhaps one of the most iconic performances of all time. Beetlejuice has Burton's prints all over it on its own, but with Keaton's performance, it's classic Burton. With that said, I don't know that the film survives if you aren't keen on the overbearing style of Burton. I like his movies as much as the next guy (Big Fish is in my top 5 favorite films of all time), but besides Keaton, there isn't a whole lot to ride home about here.
Beetlejuice has had fans clamoring for a sequel for decades, and I'm not going to be the one to shut those hopes down. With the talented cast, especially where they all are in their careers now, a sequel could be interesting. But I never found Geena Davis or Alec Baldwin's characters to be all that interesting. As they weave their way through the weirdness of the world of death, the film just veers more into a meandering area.
With all the dated elements to Burton's execution, the real gems of this film come from his unique vision. If you were to walk in on this film at any particular moment, you would be able to tell that it's a Burton project, and there's something special about that. I can appreciate a unique vision, but I just wanted more of an overarching journey than a collage of creepy and just strange sequences.
+Keaton's iconic performance
-Hodgepodge of strange scenes
-Supporting characters aren't that interesting
Odd, creative, and original, Beetlejuice sees Michael Keaton and Tim Burton successfully break out among their typical film works.