Director; Tim Burton. Starring; Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest. Rated PG-13. Color. 105 Minutes.
A person is smart. That is what most of us believe even if you are simply stupid. ‘PEOPLE’ as a group have proven to become a crazed mob in multiple iterations throughout history whenever facing something that is ‘DIFFERENT’. No question a man walking around with sharp limbs that could harm you rather swiftly will certainly be a cause for concern. Director Tim Burton decided to humanize the strange and challenge us to not be afraid beyond the initial reaction. “Edward Scissorhands” dares the viewer to accept as opposed to lash out against what one does not understand.
Back when Johnny Depp was actually acting and not doing the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie for 30 million dollars (can’t blame him), he showcased his amazing talent and depth in his craft. The nuance he brings to “Edward” has always been the best for me. From the moment his crazy deformed character emerges out of the shadows in an abandoned mad scientist’s lair, he captures a delightful house wife’s heart.
“Edward” had the most unique beginnings when it comes to existing on Earth. The legendary Vincent Price plays The Inventor who lives in a castle and created an artificial person. Ode to the original “Frankenstein”. The Inventor’s plan was to create the perfect specimen of a human. But for some reason he replaced fingers with sharp blades. I suppose every mad scientist has their preferences.
The Inventor has a heart attack right after Edward has finally come to the point that will be his life. So what does this strange still maturing child do with himself other than to hide in a corner? Fortunately an Avon door-to-door saleswoman named Peg (Diane Wiest) decides to walk up to the daunting castle at the end of the street. The atmosphere, upon entering, does not feel as though things are going to end well for Peg. Then she discovers Edward and decides she has got to take the orphan child in.
Suburban life is a shock for the ‘freak’ at first. The rest of the family, as well as the neighbors, find him odd, but he fortunately forms a bond with Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Kim is part of the ‘cool’ crew at school and is currently dating the high school jock Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). Jim is not the nicest person when he meets Edward. You also have Peg’s husband Bill (Alan Arkin) who could care less who is at the dinner table as long as the food is hot and ready. This is the definition of culture shock for Edward!
Turns out there is a place for a ‘freak’. Edward becomes a hot commodity for the house wives looking for a new haircut. His Scissorhands are doing wonders. That is also in tune with his unbelievable skills when it comes to front yard design in the neighborhood. The locals are simply dying to see what Edward can do next.
Everything turns on Edward in a very short amount of time without him actually doing anything intentionally. He injures a woman, zero intent involved, but he does have scissors for hands. School Jock Jim forces him into an embarrassing situation involving a botched robbery because Edward is trying to impress Kim. Then the cops get involved and the entire community turns into mob-mentality and are convinced Edward must be destroyed.
“Edward Scissorhands” is obviously Tim Burton’s throwback to old monster movies. But somehow he fell upon a picture that truly resonates and is his own version of that narrative. Like for example, “Beetlejuice” is fun and no question excellent, but it has its place. “Edward Scissorhands” has deeper hidden truths that so many can take from it. Is it a statement about being an orphan? Does the weird looking dude have a shot at the hot girl? Can a gated community accept somebody that is not standard ‘gated community’ material?
All questions I have no possible way to answer, and neither does Tim Burton. “Edward Scissorhands” is about acceptance. Burton is as strange as they come when you’re talking about filmmakers. With this film you truly can feel his empathy for all humans seeping through every frame. That is a feet that few can achieve in their careers.