#91: Edward Scissorhands

Welcome to a world of pure imagination…

Director: Tim Burton
Year: 1990
Genre: Fantasy

If you have not seen a Tim Burton film, or if you have been dispirited by his later works, watch Edward Scissorhands. Burton’s signature film is a modern fairy tale and a cinema classic.

Edward Scissorhands can be described as Frankenstein for a contemporary audience. The Victorian setting we are used to seeing in Mary Shelley’s story is swapped for modern day suburbia. Instead of a reanimated man made up of dead body parts, we have an emo with scissors for hands. Thematically, Frankenstein explores the consequences of ‘playing god’, whereas Burton’s film is more concerned with how the individual fits into society. The combination of familiar storytelling and modern themes makes this film universal, that is, anyone and everyone can enjoy this movie, unless you’re too cool for school.

There are obvious reasons to watch/appreciate Edward Scissorhands, such as Burton’s astounding visual style, young Johnny Depp, young Winona Ryder, and SCISSOR-HANDS; but what makes this film so special is that it’s timeless. A timeless movie pretty much stands the test of time, usually due to avoiding current issues or settings which may date depending on the world’s progress. The timelessness of this film can be boiled down to three crucial factors… 1. There is no CGI, most of what you see in the frame was physically there on set, which means that visually the film will not age due to the limitations of special effects. 2. It is emotionally engaging thanks to a universal story, interesting characters and a simple plot. 3. IT IS ORIGINAL. Unlike Burton’s later works, Edward Scissorhands is not a remake and remarkably it’s not even a book adaptation. Of course it has its similarities to other old horror stories but most good stories thrive on putting unique spins on old yarns. Burton created an iconic character, beautifully portrayed by Depp, and an unforgettable world; a colourful neighbourhood and its disturbingly identical houses contrasted by a Gothic mansion and its fantastical garden.

If you haven’t seen Edward Scissorhands, chances are you’ll like it, even if you’re not into fantasy. There are no big sweaty men on quests to find a magic relic before evil takes a giant shit on them. If you’re looking for action and adventure, I’m afraid you’ll be gravely disappointed. But if you wanna laugh, if you wanna cry and if you wanna meet an emo who never whinges, open your heart to Edward Scissorhands.


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