This movie and I go way back. Before I even went to kindergarden, actually. Before I even cared about watching TV, I was the best in my home at operating the VCR. I had tons of videotapes recorded by my dad that I watched daily: movies, cartoons, TV shows (even though I didn't understand a lot out of the latter). Among them was Edward Scissorhands, and I watched it religiously. I didn't understand everything but I just knew when to be happy and when to be sad. I'll now attempt a presentation of one of my dearest movies.
Avon door-to-door saleswoman Peg tries to do her job as well as she can, but her neighbours aren't exactly the friendliest. One day, she decides to try out her luck at the old mansion on the hill overlooking the town. There, she finds a strange man whom she names Edward; after seeing the cuts on his face, Peg takes pity in him and brings him home with her, where he faces the difficulties of being accepted by everyone when you're different. Particularly, when you have scissors for hands.
Peg enters the castle yard, in the beginning.
From the opening moment, you can tell you're seeing genuine Burton at work. Everything is enveloped in magic and you can't resist being pulled in; after all, he contributed in writing the story, aside from directing the movie. I don't know how many of you had their parents read them bedtime stories when you were kids, but this is exactly what it feels like: warm and homely. The opening also points this out, as the film doesn't begin straight away: we are first introduced to an old grandmother who tells her niece a story, before bed. That story is the main plot, which I have detailed above.
The acting is average. Nothing amazing or terrible, which fits because we are being told a story about ordinary people. The characters don't know how to "act"; they show their true colors all the time, despite trying to mask their behavior (Peg's neighbors come to mind). I appreciate that because nothing looks unintentionally fake; these are people you can meet on the street and relate to.
Also, as a minor detail: the time can't be specified. The neighborhood looks as one should have in the '60s, but there are various objects that belong to later decades as well. This is a clever way of showing the chaos that's boiling under this seemingly peaceful place. The neighbors are well fleshed out, being very curious bordering on downright nosy.
Remember me saying I knew how to react even though I didn't know why? That's mainly because of the music. A word I'd use to describe it is personal; I've always loved Danny Elfman's scores and the way he uses female voices to convey that feeling of surreality and magic. Seriously, do yourself a favor and look it up on YouTube. It's worth your time.
Just a tidbit of information I'd like to share: a while ago I saw a commercial on TV, I think it was for yoghurt. When I heard the music playing (2-3 seconds of it), I instantly remembered this movie. I had not seen the movie or heard the soundtrack in over 10 years.
The Inventor reads Edward some poetry, hoping to make him more humanlike.
As they say, this film hasn't aged well. This is especially obvious during moments showing Kim (played by Winona Ryder). The colors and quality sometimes waver and the sets look like cardboard at times, particularly during broad shots of the neighborhood. I'd say you can ignore it if you concentrate on the action and tell yourself "it's from the early '90s" all the time, but in the end it's all down to how much you're willing to bear.
The characters themselves are stereotypes, but this is to be expected from a movie that's more a fairytale than a movie. We have the Innocent (Edward), the One Who Means Well (Peg), the Ultimate Nosy Neighbor, the Bigot, the Dumb Jock and so on. Strangely, these blatant stereotypes didn't take away from the pleasure of watching them interact and, even if the ending is somewhat predictable, you still enjoy the ride.
The Plain WTF (spoilers concerning one minor scene)
Alright, I've seen a lot of people argue: "Where the heck did that huge ice block [from the Snow Dance sequence] come from??". I know this explanation will sound awful, but here I go: it's a movie. What's more, it's a fairytale. Did you ever wonder why animals talk and help out people in fairytales? No? Well that's because you accepted it as plausible in the context of the particular universe. This is the same case and I feel I've said enough on the matter.
Who would've thought this little sequence would spawn so many silly arguments?
Officer Allen: Will he be OK, Doc?
Psychologist: The years spent in isolation have not equipped him with the tools necessary to judge right from wrong. He's had no context. He's been completely without guidance. Furthermore, his work - the garden sculptures, hairstyles and so forth - indicate that he's a highly imaginative... uh... character. It seems clear that his awareness of what we call reality is radically underdeveloped.
Officer Allen: But will he be all right out there?
Psychologist: Oh yeah, he'll be fine.
Edward puts his "talent" to good use.
Verdict and recommendations
Needless to say, this is a must-see for fans of the fantasy genre. It's simple, magical, heart-warming and gut-wrenching at the same time. It will tug at your heartstrings and possibly even make you cry, because it's that type of movie. No, it's not a chick-flick, even though it may sound like one at first.
I'd recommend seeing it alone and (if possible) with no interruptions (like commercials). There's really no other way to enjoy it, you have to be fully immersed and forget everything else around you.
Originality + creativity: 2 points
Actors: 1 point
Soundtrack: 2 points
Special effects/Natural flow: 1 points
How much I enjoyed it: 3 points
My rating: (9 out of 10)
Edward Scissorhands (1990) on IMDb.com