Edward Scissorhands more than a monster

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Anduril, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Anduril

    Anduril Flame of the West

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    I’ve been going through a Tim Burton phase recently. I own Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (a personal favorite of mine), and recently watched Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands. I also plan to have a review for Big Fish up sometime soon. I would give Beetlejuice its own review except that it can be reviewed in one word: bizarre. I really can’t say that two hours of my life was justified on that film, and I do not recommend it at all.

    As for Edward Scissorhands, it is truly unique. The story is simple, yet intriguing. A struggling Avon consultant named Peg goes to an old castle on a hill to make a sales pitch. What she finds is a pale looking man with scissors for hands (who has a special knack for hedge trimming) and goes by the name of Edward. Having pity on him, she takes him home to meet her husband, son, and beautiful teenage daughter, Kim. He is introduced to the neighbors, an odd bunch of characters who are fascinated by him though they value him mostly for his bush trimming and hair cutting skills. Of course, he can’t help but notice Kim and how she has a good looking boyfriend who doesn’t take Edward seriously. What follows is a mix of Beauty and the Beast and Frankenstein.

    Tim Burton definitely likes to use style and colours to tell his story, and it always works whether people like the results or not. This comes across very strong in this film with the contrast between Edward’s dreary black and white castle with mechanical and dusty shades, and the vibrantly colorful neighborhood down below with all the very human, yet flawed characters. This take also allows for some very visually stimulating and emotional scenes later on in the film when Burton uses colours, no dialogue, and Danny Elfman’s gorgeous musical score to show just how beautiful Edward is on the inside.

    What surprised me with this film is the amount of substance. It shows that while Edward is very innocent, he has a very flawed world view concerning right and wrong simply because he has lived almost his whole life without guidance. Because of this, he gets mixed up in a burglary and gets in other sorts of trouble. Also, unlike most Beauty and the Beast stories, the girl actually has much more to learn than he does as far as what is important in relationships and what makes a person human. Ironically, the tag line is accurate in saying he is a gentleman. Finally, Edward learns that the right choices will often involve pain for ourselves.

    Content-wise, the film is pretty clean with few profanities (oddly enough never from Edward) but is definitely not for young children. While simple, the story has themes that younger children won’t really understand. I sometimes tell people I would rather watch an R rated truth than a G rated lie (though this film is PG-13). An example is a suggestive scene in this movie where a neighborhood woman tries to seduce Edward by stripping down to her bra. He reacts similarly to how Joseph did with Potiphar’s wife by running away. There is also a lethal stabbing, and people get accidentally cut by Edward (including himself frequently).

    What sets Scissorhands apart from many other Frankenstein-like stories is that it focuses so much on Edward. In most tales, the story focuses on Beauty while the Beast doesn’t get much time concerning his emotions, thoughts, and tribulations. Johnny Depp’s performance allows us to see into this weird character with clear eyes. He doesn’t have much dialogue (only 169 words in the whole film), but you always know what he’s feeling and thinking. To me, this is the sign of a truly great actor. Two of the most poignant scenes in the movie (both with music and little dialogue) are when he’s looking at the pictures of a happy family, something he knows nothing about, and when he’s staring at himself in the mirror clearly wondering why he is the way he is.

    Edward Scissorhands is an excellent movie both in its technicality and in its message. It is always important to consider what audiences are feeling after they watch a movie. For me, I was left realizing that though Edward Scissorhands is definitely a weird character, we could all learn a lot from his patience, meekness, and selflessness.
     
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