You know my stance on unnecessary sequels and on reviving something that was made in the era before we relied so heavily on CGI. If you had a chance to see the Burton exhibit a few years ago (or, heck, even if you didn’t), you would know that not only is he a massively creative and talented guy, but that Beetlejuice is his magnum opus. Here, crowded in the walls of the Maitland/Deetz Manor are all the best, most macabre ghouls that filled young Burton’s head.
And, no the conclusion of the first Beetlejuice doesn’t forbid a sequel. It invites it. But is Burton the man for the job? Over the past few years we’ve seen the Burton creativity erode, flattened by the gloss of CGI, worn down by an over-dependence on Depp and Bonham-Carter. The best thing Burton has done in years was Frankenweenie which a) was an original property, not a sequel, remake or over-done adaptation and b) was based entirely in a computer-generated world so the whole look felt cohesive and lush as opposed to overblown and cartoonish (in the bad way.) That’s right, Alice, you money-making machine, I’m looking at you and your uncanny valley of horrors. But if Burton isn’t the guy to direct a Beetlejuice sequel, who on earth is? Nobody.
Because they’re going to turn the sandworms from funky claymation wonders into slick glossy computer-generated things. And it will break my heart. Michael Keaton is on board for Beetlejuice 2 and that, at least, is great news. I love Keaton and I’m sad to see how marginalized he’s become. But the rest feels like a slobbering money grab destined to turn something that was once funky, clunky and cool into something slick and soulless. That breaks my heart.