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The Man with the Scissor Hands
‘Batman’ (1989) is better than ‘Edward Scissorhands’!
Okay, everyone! Brace yourselves! This is going to shock you if you’re a fan of this movie! Are you ready for this? No really, are you ready for this? You can turn back and not read this review if you don’t want to. (Pause) Still here? (deep breath) Okay. Here we go! I don’t like ‘Edward Scissorhands’.
Darth Vader: (yells) “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
That’s right! I don’t like ‘Edward Scissorhands’. But I don’t hate it. Far from it! There are some funny moments I like and the film does have a pretty impressive visual style to it throughout. But honestly, I never got why people like this movie. Even after seeing it on Blu-ray, I never got why people like it.
This film seems to be a crowd-pleaser. Audiences love it; critics love it; even my Dad loves it for some strange reason. But this film never appealed to me even when I first saw it. I don’t understand why people like this movie. Apart from Johnny Deep is in it. Maybe that has something to do with it.
Okay, let me start again before I enlighten you as to why I don’t like this film. ‘Edward Scissorhands’ is directed by Tim Burton, who had previously directed the 1989 ‘Batman’ movie. He also directed ‘Batman Returns’ after making ‘Edward Scissorhands’. This film was released at the cinemas in 1990.
The film takes place in a bright and colourful suburbia where a door-to-door saleswoman named Peg discovers a decrepit gothic mansion on top of a huge hill. She visits the mansion to find a young artificial man named Edward living there. Edward is an unfinished man with these scissors for hands.
Rather than leaving him alone in that mansion, Peg decides to take Edward home in order to be looked after by her and her family. Edward gradually settles in at the new home in the colourful suburbs and becomes an extraordinary neighbourhood sensation as he uses his scissor hands for ‘unique’ talents.
Edward also meets the daughter of Peg’s family, Kim, who he gradually falls in love with. But as time goes on, Edward becomes less of a neighbourhood sensation and more a danger to society. Very soon, Edward has to go to extraordinary lengths to protect the woman he loves despite being feared.
Okay, maybe I should try and explain why I don’t like this film compared to others who love the heck out of it. First of all, I find the film rather…well, stupid. It’s a bizarre story that could’ve been told in a more emotionally-driven way. Yet I find the movie pretty backward-telling. What do I mean by that?
Well, first things first, I just find it rather strange that people of this suburban society would accept Edward so readily when he’s got scissors for hands. People don’t freak out in a panic when he comes to visit the area. They just sort-of accept him and try to make him feel at home when he’s out of place.
And okay, I get it. It’s supposed to be a fairy tale/fable kind of story where the outsider is trying to fit in and belong. But the logic and ascetics of the storytelling don’t make sense to me. The suburban area seems based in reality, yet there aren’t many people who are terrified by Edward’s appearance.
There are one or two exceptions to that in terms of characters, but for most of the community living in that area, they seem impressed by Edward being a man with scissor hands. They’re not scared of him. The ladies of the suburb want to see Edward and don’t seem to believe that he might kill them.
Yeah that’s the other issue I have with this movie. The scissor hands! Yeah, I get Edward is an incomplete man as his inventor died before he could finish him. But why would the inventor give Edward ‘scissors’ for hands’? That’s just…that’s just weird! And nonsensical! Why would he do that?
People in the suburb area don’t seem afraid that Edward might be a danger to society. It’s only until half-way through the film that people realise it when things fall apart. And do you want to know when that happens? Christmas time! Yeah! The people begin to hate Edward around Christmas time.
The season of good will and all that! My Dad says he likes this film because it gets him into the spirit of Christmas. But…I dispute that because…the people of this suburb aren’t very Christmassy when bad things go wrong for Edward. The people, as well as this film, end up being mean-spirited for Edward.
(sighs) I’m clearly missing something as I know a lot of people like this film. But it just feels rather mean to end the film with Edward being thrown out of society where he can’t belong. The film could’ve had a reassuring end where Edward eventually did belong somewhere and not be rejected.
Now with that said, I actually think Johnny Deep is very good as Edward. This was one of his earliest performances in his film career before he did ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and such. I can’t fault Johnny Deep’s performance as he plays the role of ‘an uncommonly gentle man’ with scissor hands really well here.
That hair and make-up he has to play Edward is so astonishing and well-made. From looking at him, you’d think Edward’s a man who’d likely kill you with those scissor hands but he’s a gentle soul at heart. It’s an almost ‘Frankenstein’ story which I would’ve preferred if the film went in that direction.
Winona Ryder stars as Kim, Edward’s love interest in the film. Again, I think Winona Ryder’s performance is great in the film. In fact, I think Kim’s character is the most believable of the lot in the film. She’s clearly afraid of Edward when she first meets him and doesn’t know what to make of him.
But as time goes on, Kim starts to like Edward more and grows feelings for him, even if they are somewhat undeveloped and not fully explored. The snow dancing scene Kim has when Edward’s carving an angelic ice sculpture of her is actually a beautiful scene to watch if somewhat quite weird.
In fact, the whole snow business of the movie is rather odd. At the end of the film, Kim said that before he came down from his mansion, it never snowed in the suburb. But afterwards, it did. That’s just odd. Surely snow comes from the sky, right? Yes, yes, I know. This is a fairy tale, but it’s still odd.
Dianne Wiest stars as Peg, Kim’s mom and the lady who finds Edward alone in his mansion and takes him home. Whilst I find it odd Peg bringing home a man with scissor hands from a gothic mansion, I appreciate how kind-hearted she is. She also wears Tegan‘s uniform as a saleswoman. I liked that. 😀
I also found it funny when she says “Avon calling!” Though Paul Darrow from ‘Blake’s 7’ did it better. 😀 There’s also Alan Arkin as Bill, Peg’s wife and Kim’s father. I found it odd that Bill seemed accepting and didn’t freak out when Peg brought Edward home. But I guess he’s a kind-heart as well.
The film also features Anthony Michael Hall as Jim, Kim’s boyfriend. I found Jim quite a jerk in this film, especially when he becomes jealous of Edward fancying Kim and makes him steal into his dad’s house, which I didn’t get. Did they deliberately get Edward caught/arrested stealing into that house?
There’s Kathy Baker as Joyce, one of the ladies of the suburb who becomes sexually attracted to Edward. I found Joyce’s attraction to Edward disturbing, especially as she took him around the back of a beauty salon and took her clothes off for him. Isn’t she afraid of going on top of him with his scissors?
There’s also Robert Oliveri as Kevin, Peg and Bill’s son and Kim’s brother, who’s easily impressed by Edward’s scissor-cutting. There’s Conchata Ferrell as Helen and Caroline Aaron as Marge, easily impressed by Edward. There’s Dick Anthony Williams as Officer Allen and O-Lan Jones as Esmeralda.
Vincent Prince stars as Edward’s inventor in the film. Vincent Prince is well-known for starring in horror films as well as playing Egghead in the Adam West ‘Batman’ TV series. I did like the flashback scenes to Vincent Prince as the Inventor with Edward before his character sadly died in the film.
There are other moments/scenes I liked in this film. First there’s the impressive hedge-cutting by Edward to make hedges look like dinosaurs, animals and people and such. It was funny when Edward cut the fringe off a dog in order for him to see. I did find that sweet and funny to watch in the movie.
It was bizarre when Edward gave a dog a haircut and it ended up being a poodle (which was odd, since the dog before clearly wasn’t poodle material). And it’s bizarre when the ladies wanted Edward to do haircuts for their dogs before he gave them haircuts afterwards. It was just so weird to watch!
The music featured in the film composed by Danny Elfman is very impressive. Yeah, even I have to admit it. I quite like Danny Elfman’s musical score, especially during the opening credits. Danny Elfman considers ‘Edward Scissorhands’ as one of his personal favourite movies. I do appreciate that.
The original DVD special features included an audio commentary by director Tim Burton; an audio commentary by Danny Elfman; a short featurette on the making of the film; short interview clips from the making-of featurette; theatrical trailers and TV spots and a concept art gallery. The Blu-ray now includes the making-of featurette; an audio commentary by Tim Burton; an audio commentary by Danny Elfman and theatrical trailers.
So yeah, there are moments in ‘Edward Scissorhands’ I did like from watching it again. But I honestly can’t give this film a pass as I don’t really like it that much. It has impressive visuals and the performances of the cast led by Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder are great, but I don’t like this much.
If you like this film, then that’s fine, it’s up to you. I know it’s one of my Dad’s favourite films and he says it gets him into ‘the Christmassy spirit of things’. But I found this a rather mean-spirited film towards the end and it’s not a movie I would likely want to watch over again and again anytime soon.
‘Edward Scissorhands’ rating – 4/10
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