Director: Tim Burton
Stars out of 10: 8.5
The titular character resides in an old, decrepitude mansion that lies at the end of a cheery, colourful late 50’s / early 60’s-themed suburban. The residents are stereotypical, but interesting, and are largely female dominated, which was the usual norm. It also has a crazy, religious lady who is, of course, ignored by all. The main family, the protagonists, are a likable, comfortable, quite-dysfunctional family of four. Peg, – brilliantly and lovingly played by Dianne West – the matriarch of the family, is a door-to-door saleswoman who finds herself in the mansion where Edward lives, and after looking at his poor state, takes him under her wings. From here a classic modern fairy-tale snowballs, which ends on a dark tone, a transition I thoroughly enjoyed. The character of Edward was so perfectly created that it’s no surprise how archetypal he became; He personified the monster of the darkness – although he is not – when he was shown for the first time in the mansion. When Peg brings him to her home, he personifies the spirit that roams about your home, a Djinn if you will, that comes in every shape, size & attitude you can imagine. The narrow hallways, the colourful atmosphere, the tall doors all increased Edwards haunting character, while the mansion made him feel at home. In short, since the majority of the film sets place in small suburban, and since all the residents are stereotypical – adults and kids – Edward is an old-wives tale come true.
All this makes Edward sound a villain, a feared monster, which he is not I can assure you that, you who hasn’t still seen this film. He is a modern Frankenstein, a modern Joseph Merrick. A freak of nature, a.k.a not like you or I, who means good but ends up being misunderstood, thus causing an outrage among the people and the law. Tim Burton apparently knew all of this and made sure that we knew that he knew. What Burton did was he combined all the major factors of a fantasy tale and coated it with extra sugar. Don’t be surprised if some things feel disillusioned, this is Burton’s imagining of how a Disney cartoon would look like if they had the guts to show a little blood and a touch of darkness. Again, don’t be surprised by the overly sympathetic (to some, just pathetic) portrayal of Edward, his relationship with Kim and of the film’s ending. An average fairy-tale starts and ends like this, so why should this film be treated any different? Burton did indeed coat the story with sugar but also added a little bit of pepper to remind us that not every monster can truly be loved.
The score by Danny Elfman is his second-best, after Batman. It is dark, beautiful and something that can only and only belong in a Tim Burton flick.
From the performances, Johnny Depp was truly iconic in his role, and it would be his first collaboration with Tim Burton that would go on to last 8 films in a span of 20 years. He played Edward so understandably as if he was honoring an age old friend. Even though he has played more eccentric, more well-known characters – most notably Jack Sparrow – this character will always remain as his most best played. Dianne West, on the other hand, truly won me over by her portrayal of Peg. She made an everyday, I’ve-seen-this-in-every-other-movie character a very loving and wonderful character who has just become my favourite heroine. I do believe she should’ve been nominated for an Award. Alan Arkin was a good surprise. When did I last see him? Oh yes, Catch-22. Low-key film, but a fun performance. Over here he plays Bill, husband of Peg, an equally great performance and a likable character. Anthony Michael Hall never really made an impression on me and you can bet your boots I was relieved when his character was killed off. Burton doesn’t like jocks, nor do I + his performance was just OK. The film’s precious little item was Winona Ryder as Kim. When she is first introduced, there is a hint that she might fall under the cliche category but Burton gently picks her up and away from that place. The building of her character is slow but Ryder manages to achieve wonders in her slow pace, making Kim the Belle of this film. She had the potential of making her character times better, she really did, but Kim really wasn’t written in an exaggerated sense so she wasn’t given a large amount of elbow room to move about. In all, a very satisfactory performance!
In conclusion, I’ve come to acknowledge Edward Scissorhands as Tim Burton’s magnum opus. Even though Batman is Burton-esque, this film has what Batman was lacking in; Johnny Depp, and that in itself is saying something!