Thursday, 24 November 2011

Space: Edward Scissorhands Review

Fig. 1

‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990) is another of Tim Burton’s strange and unusual works in which nothing is quite as straight forward as it may seem. The film consists of a strange suburban town which feels completely fake and artificial, and the gothic castle looming over the town adds a strange eeriness to the setting. With its skewed vision of suburbia, Burton's film bears comparison with his earlier Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. It's a visual treat, complete with pastel bungalows, surreal shrubbery and grotesque outfits, but it remains curiously hollow” (Timeout 2000) Despite the interesting design of the characters and the sleeping suburban streets, you can’t help but feel like something is missing, as if there is no life in this town.

Every character that we meet in the film again seem a little stiff and act as if they are alienated from the world and never interact with anyone else, family or neighbours. The movie takes place in an entirely artificial world, where a haunting gothic castle crouches on a mountaintop high above a storybook suburb, a goofy sitcom neighbourhood where all of the houses are shades of pastels and all of the inhabitants seem to be emotional clones of the Jetsons. The warmest and most human resident of this suburb is the Avon lady (Dianne Wiest), who comes calling one day at the castle - not even its forbidding facade can deter her - and finds it occupied only by a lonely young man named Edward (Johnny Depp).” (Ebert 1990)  Peg the Avon rep appears to be the only character in the film that actually has any life in her. Once she comes across Edward in the attic she instinctively feels sorry for him and decides to take him into her home to meet her family. Edward’s reaction towards her hospitality helps us realize the extent of his loneliness and makes us understand his character further.

Edward is the key character overall in the film as it is him who brings the story together and his actions ultimately create the film. This film could be seen as an interesting twist on the classic narrative of Frankenstein’s monster. Depp’s gentle performance gives new dimension to the old Frankenstein monster, allowing for a more human connection since Edward was created by a crazy scientist (a killer cameo by Vincent Price) in the image of a son. What sells the film ultimately is the tenderness given to both the love story between Kim and Edward and the scenes at home with the family” (Unknown 2001) Kim and Edwards slowly begin to connect and fall for each other, showing that looks is not everything and giving a tender moral to the story. Soon the whole family come to accept Edward as a member of the family and it is heart-warming to see that Edward finally part of the type of family that he was created for.


Timeout London (2000) (Accessed on 16/11/11)

Unknown, (2001) (Accessed on 16/11/11)

Image List:
Fig.1 Edward Scissorhands DVD cover 

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