Before he became a parody of himself, Tim Burton was making smash hit after smash hit with a style that felt truly original. Never before has someone made Gothicka into a style that felt consistently interesting and intriguing, yet post-Beetlejuice Burton’s stripes and gothic imagery made him a director to look out for. Many filmmakers and critics have pondered which of his films really stand the test of time. Some say the first two Batman movies, some say Corpse Bride, and some even say that Sweeney Todd is his best work. Now any of these movies can be up for debate, but there is only one that tops everyone’s lists: his third feature, Edward Scissorhands.
Edward Scissorhands tells the story of Edward, a Frankenstein-esque monster who’s discovered by a well-off suburban mom. She and her family try their best to integrate Edward into modern society, despite the fact that he has…well…scissors for hands. Right off the back, Edward Scissorhands wastes none of the viewers’ time by introducing us to the Tim Burton style. Everything in his world is made of contrast, from the beautiful, colorful suburban home to Edward’s gothic, terrifying home and presence of Edward himself. Everything meshes so beautifully into a very fine picture.
The music by Danny Elfman is hauntingly terrific. While the Batman score remains iconic, I personally believe it was this movie that helped make the relationship between Burton and Elfman so bloody special. It has the ability to shift on a dime between funny and sometimes goofy/cheesy to heartfelt and tear inducing, and then to gothic and terrifying and back again. Before all those motifs and queues got old with each passing Burton film, here it feels right and never overstays its welcome. Then there’s just the look of it all.
Edward Scissorhands feels as unique as it looks. The movie’s tone and look (and pretty much all of Burton’s style) relies on contrast. Heavy contrast. Black to pink. Pale to lively. Light to dark. The entire movie’s look is based on this design, and for the most part it works…for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, the contrast here is, like, 90% efficient, it’s just that the goofy nature of Tim Burton’s style makes for an occasional bad moment here and there. For every solid moment like Edward being discovered, or Edward having dinner, or even Edward making the ice sculptures, you have the hair salon sequence, or even the seduction sequence. These moments, while accurate to the movie’s themes and ideas, aren’t handled as well as other scenes. They come across as too goofy at times and occasionally took me out the moment. It happened quite a number of times but, given the overall ride, I am willing to look past it.
The performances from everyone in the cast is about as good as you can get. Johnny Depp is absolutely incredible as Edward, giving us a reserved, yet captivating performance. Winona Ryder does phenomenal job as Kim, never feeling unnecessary or useless and even offering her own reserved performance as well. Diane West is great as Peg and Anthony Michael Hall as Jim is…… pretty standard — nothing too special about his performance.
The story for Edward Scissorhands is great, but it does have some predictable moments. You see, Edward Scissorhands is very much a different take on the story of Frankenstein. If you know that story, you will surely know this one. Sure there are plenty of unusual moments, such as that middle aged woman who tries to sleep with Edward — I can say for a fact that I never saw that coming. But besides those encounters, if you know the story of Frankenstein, you know exactly where this story is going to go. And that’s ultimately Edward Scissorhands‘ biggest flaw: it’s too predictable. It may have been revolutionary for its time, but people nowadays might give this movie a hard time because they’ll feel like they’ve seen it all before.
Sure, the story is still timeless, but should younger people give this movie a chance, despite the predictable story and Johnny Depp? Well, yes. 100% yes. Despite the predictable story, its premise is still very much original. There’s a lot here to enjoy, from the music, to the performances, to the presentation, to the acting from all of the cast. Plus, with everything coming out about Johnny Depp, I can say without a shred of hesitation that it’s okay to like him again. For those of you who have wondered if it’s okay, it is. It’s becoming pretty clear he’s not the person Amber Heard made him out to be, so it’s okay to like him now, I promise.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Edward Scissorhands is a very weird movie. It’s got a lot working for it and not a lot working against it, yet is so close to being perfect. However, a lot of the little things over the course of the whole movie add up and the goofy moments, while charming, did pull me out of the movie every now and then. Plus the story is predictable.
But besides those two aspects, I say watch it, then watch it again. Edward Scissorhands has a large rewatchability factor to it and I think that’s why it stands the test of time. If a movie can be enjoyed over and over again, who cares about its problems? I know I don’t.