Is nothing sacred? According to MSN, Michael Keaton is in serious talks with Tim Burton about a sequel to Beetlejuice. I could write an Ivy League Masters thesis on why this is a bad idea, but let’s just pull some out-of-context block quotes and pinch out a few derisive paragraphs.
He tells MTV, “I’ve emailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff until relatively recently. I always said that (‘Beetlejuice’) is the one thing I’d like to do again, if I ever did anything again.”
I’m just gonna come right out an say it: Beetlejuice has no place in the world in 2014. If you watch the movie now, it has aged horribly. It’s still great, but, hell, that’s because of how weird and antiquated it is. It’s full of stop motion effects and bizarre, manic comedic beats that Tim Burton used to be so good at. This was back before anyone knew who the hell he was, or gave him a beloved comic book franchise. No one cared or saw it coming, which, again, was a major component of its charm. It’s the kind of think that doesn’t work with any hype or expectation built around it.
Hell, back before he lapsed into goth autopilot, Burton himself knew this wouldn’t work. In 1990, after Batman and Edward Scissorhands, when the world was his Oysterboy, the studio approached him with an idea for a sequel. He then, in one of my favorite bits of Hollywood trivia, pitched them a terrible idea to deliberately get the whole thing shut down. And since Hollywood is laughably inept when it comes to recognizing bad ideas, they actually tried to make it. Hilarity and development hell ensued, thank the Gods.
But I guess Michael Keaton would like some more money, please, and Winona Ryder would like some food and shelter, oh dear God, so here we are. Look, I’m sure Keaton would be great, because he’s a spry 62 and still a fantastic actor. But Tim Burton’s rampant self-plagiarism has left him without a decent movie in at least a decade, and, let’s face it, Ryder was never that good in the first place.
All of these reasons pale in comparison to the idea of a Beetlejuice movie being made with computer-generated effects. A large part on the original’s charm were the physical sets and grotesquely-textured claymation effects. Even compared to Indiana Jones or Star Wars, I find the idea of a Beetlejuice with glossily-rendered CGI to be seriously off-putting. The Ghost with the Most belongs in Hell’s waiting room, not the Uncanny Valley. I don’t even want to picture that. So please don’t make me.