Thursday, 23 March 2017

POP! Movies -- Beetlejuice

I’m no big fan of Tim Burton. Or perhaps more accurately, I’m no big fan of the cult that’s been spawned centred around his works. But with that caveat, I do like several of his movies – Beetlejuice perhaps most of all.

I watched plenty of the Beetlejuice animated series as a kid – and of course, recall virtually nothing about it – but I had never actually seen the film until about four years ago. For whatever reason I was up late and it came onto TV as the late night movie, so then was as good a time as any.  

It’s a weird and dark film, though its heavy German Expressionist influences are mostly played for comedy rather than “true” horror. It contains many of the elements that have since become Burton clich├ęs, though they feel remarkably fresh here; crude but effective Claymation-inspired designs, black and white stripes, weird gothy characters and a fascination with the morbid. I can’t imagine Alec Baldwin or Geena Davis starring in anything like it now, though of course for Winona Ryder it would help set the tone for her subsequent career.

Now, for convenience’s sake I’m going to refer to the film as Beetlejuice and the character as “Betelgeuse” – accurate to the movie, but not always how we tend to refer to him in the common parlance.  

Betelgeuse is quite well-sculpted, though I don’t think the expression on the face quite captures the signature smirk he displays through much of the movie. He’s recognisably the character, but definitely has shades of the Joker in the too – which is fitting in its own way, given Tim Burton’s role in launching the Batman film franchise in 1989. Paint is okay by Funko’s standards at the time, but would be better if he was released today. Check the stripes on his suit, the eyes, the teeth and the hairline. Some slop is forgivable around the hairline given that kind of fungus thing he has going on all over his face and suit, but in the other areas it looks much more overt.    

Like Spikewho got reviewed yesterday, there is a Glow Chase version of Betelgeuse. His eyes are also painted with the swirly pattern that appears on the box. It’s a good look, but as with most of his Glow Chase contemporaries, he sells for considerably more than I would care to pay.  

Betelgeuse is a solid if not quite spectacular POP. Sadly, we’ve never received any of the supporting characters from Beetlejuice in POP form*. There was a Hot Topic exclusive of Betelgeuse in a different outfit last year, I can’t imagine that we’re going to see anyone else in a hurry. It’s a shame really, because the whole film is filled with freakish and memorable designs that seem made for POP format – and if nothing else, you would have thought Funko would pump out a Lydia Deetz. I can only assume it has to do with licensing costs; Tim Burton is a huge director these days, but Beetlejuice remains something of a cult film; it’s never generated a fraction of the merchandise that accompanied A Nightmare Before Christmas. The cost-to-profit ratio may simply be too high.      

*Though there have been a few Mystery Minis

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