“Edward Scissorhands” Review: Is it Burton’s Masterpiece? | Octerror 2020

Oh, hello! Hope your Halloween has been terrific, and today we’re continuing our Octerror marathon. Stay tuned in for next week for a retrospective review of the Hammer Horror Quartermass and the Pit (Shockingly, not about murderous tools). Tim Burton, an icon of the gothic fantasy image in the 80s and 90s. He struck gold with his dark comedy Beetlejuice in 1988, and once more with his spin on Batman a year later. What had the director have up his sleeve next? That would be Edward Scissorhands from 1990, which originated from Burton’s own childhood. In fact, Burton himself has said that this film is his personal favorite. So, what about it has struck such a chord with the creator himself? Let’s get this show on the road and see!

In a 60’s color-pastel suburbia, a lonely and dark castle sits on a hill overlooking the cul-de-sac. Castlevania, perhaps? No, for it is the home of Edward, an artificial man with a bundle of scissors instead of hands; This is because his creator had passed away before he could apply the real hands. He is discovered and taken in by a kindly woman named Peg and her family, where Edward is warmly greeted into the neighborhood below. However, things soon start to take a turn for the worse.

One thing I find is something of an underappreciated art in the name of film is a “hang out” movie. This is a picture usually thin on plot, rather handing center stage to dialogue between characters, most often an ensemble. Examples of hang out movies include Dazed and Confused, A Hard Day’s Night (which I’m hoping to review in the future as well) and a bevy of films by Tarantino, such as his latest Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The reason I mention this term is since, Edward Scissorhands teeters off the ledge of being a hang out movie. Just gripping a tree and dangling from the edge. Does it fall off this crater? It’s kind of up to preference, but it’s fair enough to nominate. And for that, I reward them bonus points.

The main standout of the feature is the namesake protagonist, that’s right, Edward. Played miraculously by Johnny Depp in one of his earliest Burton roles, he emanates a sort of innocence. When he is first introduced to the community and their neon patterned houses, Depp’s wide eyes would fit right alongside the awed expression of a child grazing a candy shop. What astounds me to little end is he does all this with minimal lines, almost saluting the era of silent black-and-white horror. His wonder with our world might even make you marvel, too.

To segway, the acting all around the table is decent. Scavenging for a mammoth dud in the category would be a waste. While this has nothing against the performances per se, the romance arc that blossoms between Edward and Kim feels terribly forced into the narrative, adding the most uninteresting of spice and ending up contrived and not necessary to the plot at all. It’s like being on the outfield and a baseball just darts out of the blue and sucker punches your face. Alright, maybe that wasn’t a definite comparison… the fact of the matter is that it feels jarring. Not to say it didn’t have potential, but the lack of actual emotional connection stirring with the two has its hand to blame for the flop.

Additionally this month I watched Beetlejuice back-to-back with Edward Scissorhands and considered making this a duel review. Of course, that’s not what happened, but this is just a simple encapsulation of what my main thoughts would have been. I definitely took a knack out of the former’s set design and effects and eccentricity. However, I found I enjoyed Edward Scissorhands slightly more throughout as a film. Beetlejuice had a larger range of issues, and overall the opposite feature felt more personal and had more heart and soul poured into it.

Over all, Edward Scissorhands is a heartwarming little film and definitive for any Tim Burton retrospective. Although the love story is as bland as bread in enticing the audience, the tragic fable of a compassionate yet misunderstood loner envelopes me into the fantastical world. It’s worth at least a watch for any younger enthusiasts of the genre.

RATING: 8/10 “Recommended to Anyone”


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OCTOBER 29TH & 31ST | Octerror Ends…

8 thoughts on ““Edward Scissorhands” Review: Is it Burton’s Masterpiece? | Octerror 2020

  1. This one and Beetlejuice are my two favorites by him…You know what I really like about this movie? The cool use of pastel colors of the houses and the sets. It looks like a sixties neighborhood in the middle of the 90s.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Depp has such a range and Burton is modern day dark humor. I enjoyed Beetlejuice and Batman a little more than this one. But, Depp’s facial expressions were classic.

    Winona as a blond was hugely distracting.

    Did I miss a food reference here?

    Liked by 2 people

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