This is film review 2 & is part of The 12 Days of Christmas
When thinking what non-traditional Christmas movies would make for good reviews, two movies came to mind: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. Having already looked at the first film during Halloween Week (review here), I decided to take a look at this other Tim Burton film. While not really being a “Christmas” movie, I had a good time watching it from that perspective.
As expected, this movie is bizarre but charming. Told as a bedtime story from a grandmother to her granddaughter as she explains “where snow comes from.” It’s a strange opening that only gets stranger.
It opens with an Avon lady who is trying to sell product in her non-specific 1960’s and ’80s suburban neighborhood. Naturally, she fails and decides the only next logical step is to attempt selling at the abandoned, rundown, and extremely out of place gothic style mansion on the hill.
Upon arrival, she eventually stumbles upon Edward, a man with scissors for hands, and who lives alone in the beat-up house. Realizing that Edward lives alone, she does what any one in her position would do… take him home with her of course!
At this point, he becomes the talk of the neighborhood, and eventually the town. He does magnificent things with his scissor hands which everybody is enamored with. Unfortunately, things begin to go south.
Several events occur that take Edward from a cozy rose colored life to one that is much more bleak. The movie continues down this path until the movies conclusion that is a combination of melancholy and satisfaction which is pretty standard for a Burton film.
While the movie has a melancholic ending, it is meant to be taken as a happy ending. This makes perfect sense if you have seen the film and is a nice touch. I felt good after watching this story, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly saddened by the tragedies within the narrative.
It should be obvious to the viewers that the narrative is exaggerated and unrealistic, however that helps add to the movies charm. While I may jest and make fun of the premise of the movie, due to it being so absurd (because, it is), it makes for an engaging narrative that thinks outside the box.
Since the film takes place in a suburban neighborhood, the cast is comprised mostly of housewives and a few relevant teenagers. A majority of these roles are strictly supporting and are used as a means to communicate information to the audience. They can be funny at times, but are mostly there to service the plot, which is appropriate.
One supporting cast member that deserves particular mention is Vincent Price, as the inventor. The role was specially made for him and he really sells the brilliant, but diluted, old man character that is Edward’s father.
As for the main cast; there is Dianne Wiest, as Peg (The Avon lady), Winona Ryder, as Kim (Peg’s daughter and Edward’s love interest), and Johnny Depp, as Edward. While both Peg and Kim play what feels like more supporting roles for the film, they get a fair amount of screen time and drive the entire plot collectively.
The characters of Edward Scissorhands are believable and on par the ambiguous time period the movie takes place in. Nobody gave bad performances, but aside from Johnny Depp and Vincent Price, I wouldn’t say any performances were exceedingly great.
Visuals & Sound
Edward Scissorhands uses a mix of live action and miniature effects for its scenes. While the scale model shots, reminiscent of older film styles, are only used for setting the scene in the beginnings of the film; they look as good as anybody would expect them to.
The remainder of the film is live action. As mentioned, the style and presentations is representative of suburban American around the 1960’s and ’80’s (the period is hard to place due to contradictions in the technologies present in the setting). This is a setting I find particularly interesting, and aids in the service of how the narrative is driven and presented. For example, the gossiping housewives deliver a lot of information to the viewer.
As for the sound design, it was overall satisfactory. Nothing really blew me away, but it all fit and didn’t distract me from the story being told. If anything, it was just there most of the time, only occasionally enhancing the actual narrative.
Final Thoughts & Where To Buy
Though Edward Scissorhands isn’t really a Christmas movie, it does take place around that time of year. Regardless, I enjoyed it and thought it was fine for a Christmas movie (though I’m a bit strange, I will admit). This movie works well for families, though younger children might be scared at certain points in the film.
Edward Scissorhands is a solid edition for any Tim Burton fan, and is great for anybody looking for something out of the ordinary, but still containing a more traditional narrative (though the presentation is strange). Again, younger children may get frightened during the film, but the movie works well for almost everybody.
The film has a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes which goes by fairly quickly since the narrative doesn’t sit in one place for too long. Edward Scissorhands is available for purchase at Amazon for as little as $5 or for streaming/digital purchase and rent.
What did you think of the film? Could it work for a Christmas film, or am I the odd one out on that one? Let myself and others know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this review, leave a like. Consider following me here, via email subscription, over on Facebook, or Twitter @JS_Reviews to stay up to date on all the goings on here.