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Edward Scissorhands


Edward Scissorhands (1990) - Directed by Tim Burton

"I am not complete."



Tim Burton's had a hell of a history, hasn't he? Mr. Pee-Wee Frankenweenie is known for his dark and eccentric visuals more than anything, and he always does what he can to keep that up when the situation calls for it. I think a good contender for his most "Burton" work is Edward Scissorhands, a favorite throughout my preteen-to-early-teen years.

Edward Scissorhands is a unique "Beauty and the Beast" meets "Frankenstein" combo telling the story of an incomplete artificial man with scissors for hands, taken from his isolated castle-home in an act of kindness. But the constant kindness of the townsfolk soon goes haywire as the town attempts to use him for their gain, and turn all of the blame on him... except for the family who took him in, including the young girl who starts to fall for him.

While Batman did have its share of Gothic scenery and sets, Edward Scissorhands is the film that really shows Burton's style at its most recognizable form. While the simple-minded townsfolk all live in their simply-made homes of very similar architecture, with all of the residents sharing similar minds, the structure of Edward's castle is beautiful, showing off a very creepy outlook while displaying a plethora of plants and tree-trimmed statues of an almost adorable nature, mirroring Edward's outside-isn't-inside persona. This is mirrored by a hand-shaped bush in the center of the front garden.

In this way, the characters and the scenery match each-other in personalities and mindsets compared to visual outlook. It takes a whole town to turn against Edward as soon as one of their own tries to use him (two if you count the hair salon scene). The hair salon scene shows some naked statues used for modelling in the backroom, which to me mirrored the owner's, or Joyce's, sexual desires which have found their way to Edward all too quickly.

But the real story is between Edward and Kim, or Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. Not only are both of their performances wonderful, but the tension between them as events unfold only gets more and more powerful until the cliffhanger end that leaves a lasting impression of a sad ending that you just love either way due to its heart and charm. And this is a movie that's all about charm. The dancing in the snow scene always just keeps me glued.

Everyone in the cast felt necessary, except for the religious fanatic. Her actress could've been a hell of a lot better. But the rest of the cast was perfect for their roles. Kathy Baker's exaggerated performance as the lonely-in-love Joyce felt so realistic, and impressively annoying to the point that her intolerable behavior is a treat to watch. And there isn't a scratch to be found on Depp's performance as Edward. While Edward's character isn't based on sharp wit, it's hard to find a person who can play someone so alone and innocent, desperately trying hard to fit in despite his off-putting handicap.

And might I add that the costume design was quite excellent? I'm not just saying this for Depp's costume. The hairstyles, the clothes, everything felt either humble and carefree or self-absorbant depending on the character. Everyone payed attention to what they wore in this setting.

Edward Scissorhands is the movie that really put Johnny Depp into the spotlight, and rightfully so. I was amazed by it the first time I had ever seen it and I still am. The visual charm, the diverse characters, the wonderful acting, and the romantic tension are all so powerful that by the end, one can't wait to watch it again. Or, at least this might be true for big Burton fans. If you want a good movie just for some Tim Burton charm, this is a serious contender.