Friday, 28 November 2014

Film Review - Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Fig. 1 Edward Scissorhands (1990) Movie Poster

Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990) is a wonderfully imaginative American Romantic Dark Fantasy film that has a story similar to that of Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et La Bete". Walter Chaw also notes the similarities between Burton's films and "La Belle et La Bete" by saying: "Burton's movies are fairytales " - (Chaw, 2006)Edward is an enigma that the town are more than willing to solve. The film's incredibly touching story will leave you sympaphising for Edward from the moment he appears on screen.

Fig. 2 Edward

When we are first introduced to Edward, played by Johnny Depp, he acts like a frightened child. He has no idea about what is happening and due to his segregation in the dark castle he has no idea what normal life is. Owen Gleiberman refers to Edward's child like behaviour in his review "Edward Scissorhands, is a shy, spectral boy " - (Gleiberman, 1990). We can see from Fig. 2 how scared and how child like he is. This introduction to the character immediately makes us feel sorry for Edward as he has not been able to interact with everyday life. Throughout the film, we learn more about Edward and his origins. When we discover the tragic experience he went through early on his creation, we can't begin to imagine how traumatic that would have been as at that moment he was no different to a young child.

Fig. 3 Edward at the Barbecue

The setting of the film is magnificently created. The town is very organised, very clean and very colourful. Each house is identical in terms of shape and size, and so the colour of the house is the only difference to the next. This composition hints at the fact that Tim Burton believed that suburban towns and cities were designed in a way to look very closed in and were organised like a prison, and the people had no view as to how it should look. Roger Ebert goes as far as to say, when talking about the town, that "he lived in a more hospitable world" - (Ebert, 1990)Towering over this town, is a dark, mysterious Castle, where Edward was hiding. What would normally make us believe that the Castle is the most dangerous place to be, we later start to believe that the Castle is the safest place and the town and it's people can be a lot more frightening than the mystery of the Castle. This is an incredible idea as it is the opposite to what we would expect from films, horror films especially.

Fig. 4 Edward and Kim

Like a child, Edward is attracted to anything that he sets his eyes upon. When he first he enters the town, he attempts to go over to something, even though he's in a moving car. It, therefore, isn't much of a surprise that when he first sees Kim, played by Winona Ryder, she is his main center of attraction. Burton uses close camera shots of Edward to demonstrate his love for Kim and also due to the slow theme, created by the genius of Danny Elfman, we sympaphise even more for Edward as, in a normal world at least, a girl of Kim's beauty wouldn't be attracted to the Beast of Edward.

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 Edward Scissorhands (1990) Movie Poster (Accessed 28/11/2014)

Fig. 2 Edward (Accessed 28/11/2014)

Fig. 3 Edward at the Barbecue - (Accessed 28/11/2014)

Fig. 4 Edward and Kim - (Accessed 28/11/2014)


Chaw, Walter (2006) - Edward Scissorhand (1990) Movie Review - (Accessed 28/11/2014)

Ebert, Roger (1990) - Edward Scissorhands (1990) Review -  (Accessed 28/11/2014)

Gleiberman, Owen (1990) - Edward Scissorhands (1990) -,,20609141_318762,00.html (Accessed 28/11/2014)

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