Plot: What’s it about?
For some time now Tim Burton has been “oohing and aahing” us with his impressive visual style. From his colorful endeavor in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” to his darker movies like “Batman” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. One thing is for sure, Tim Burton is a very talented director who has a brilliant future in front of him. That’s what is odd in a sense as well…Tim Burton is not that old, yet already has some of the more popular movies ever made under his belt. Showing a great range of visual style, Edward Scissorhands remians one of Burton’s landmark films. While his movies have become commercially successful (Batman, Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow), some remain just as good though they never broke any box office records. Edward Scissorhands is one of these, as is Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and The Nightmare Before Christmas. But with movies, making money isn’t always the gague of how “good” it really is.
And so it goes that we meet Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp), interestingly enough the only character in the movie with a last name! Created by “The Inventor” (Vincent Price), Edward was made from the heart of a cookie, and before his hands could be added, the inventor died. Hence, Edward has lived his sheltered life atop a haunted-looking house that the town naturally fears. Of course, that doesn’t keep traveling Avon saleswoman Peg away from the house. After being turned down time and time again, she’s determined to make a sale and enters the house, only to come face to face with Edward Scissorhands. Perfecting that “sweet as sugar” motherly character she nailed in Parenthood, she takes Edward into her house. Now Burton has set the stage as some sort of 1950’s ish, 9-5 type atmosphere. The men work, the women cook, everyone has a dog and 2.4 kids…the whole shabang. So, the neighborhood housewives who have nothing better to do that gossip plays a major part in this movie. At the first sight of someone different in Peg’s car, the calls start and before long the whole town is literally outside wondering what stranger lurks inside the house. This is where the movie could have gone off on a tangent and made Edward be rejected and feel like some loner freak. Well, it doesn’t. Edward is immediately accepted into the culture, albeit in somewhat of a pseudo niceness. It’s then that Edward displays his “talent”. Burton’s underlying theme, obviously, is that beauty is on the inside as we can see that displayed as such beutiful things come from this terrible-looking person (he’s not that bad-looking, but different enough).
Now all of this is fine and good, but what would a movie be without a struggle for the protagonist? So taken with Edward is Joyce (Kathy Baker), that she decides to open up a beauty parlor. It seems that Edward can not only sculpt beautiful images out of tree shrubs, but he can cut hair on both women and dogs, like a pro. After a seduction scene doesn’t go the way she planned, she starts spreading word that Edward tried to take advantage of her. Add to this the fact that Edward has fallen in love with Kim (Winona Ryder), but as usual the nice girl has a jerk of a boyfriend; and in this case it’s Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). To the best of my knowledge, this is the first role in which Anthony Michael Hall has actually played a “bad guy”. We’re used to seeing him as some goofy teenager in such films as “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club” and “Weird Science”. But Hall is a good actor, and he pulls off the part without a hitch. To say much more would be to start giving things away. After all, there isn’t that much of a plot, except to see how Edward deals with his new surroundings and how the locals treat him. But Tim Burton has a fun time showing us what Edward’s world is like, and with a top notch cast assembled, it’s an interesting movie to watch.
Video: How’s it look?
It’s usually a hard sell to take a catalog title and sell it to the masses again. You’ve got to offer something unique, be it a new 4K transfer, a new audio mix or a slew of new supplements. Edward Scissorhands checks off two of these three boxes in that we get a sparkling new 4K restoration. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image is like watching the movie from behind the Director’s chair. Yes, it’s that good. The pastel-colored houses contrast with the green grass, the azure sky and the pale, scarred face of Edward. I really found no fault with the way this looked. In the “inventor’s” lair, the grey and black colors seemed as bleak and cold the night sky. Conversely, Burton’s films are so bursting with color that it’s hard to ignore. If you think you’ve seen the movie in all its glory – think again. This one looks fan-TAS-tic.
Audio: How’s it sound?
What would a Tim Burton movie be without a playful Danny Elfman score? Well, I’ll leave that to you. The DTS HD Master Audio mix sounds every bit as good as I remember when I saw it in the theater. The delightful orchestra resonates through the surround speakers, the LFE add a bit here and there and the front speakers complete the loop. It’s amazing. Seeing Depp on screen work his magic with the music to accompany it makes it poetry in (literal) motion. Burton’s films have always relied on a good score and Elfman has provided time and again. If there’s ever any doubt that a soundtrack can make or break a film – just check one of Tim Burton’s films out. Well done!
Supplements: What are the extras?
This title has seen a variety of editions over the years, however this version takes a few from other variants.
- Audio Commentaries – Two total, the first with Director Tim Burton and the second with long-time cohort and Composer Danny Elfman. Neither of these is new, they’ve been on previous versions of the movie, though Burton’s is the more informative of the two. Elfman, like he did on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, adds insight and it’s hard to comprehend how he can keep coming up with these amazing sountracks to these films. Die hard fans have already heard these, though it’s a nice touch to have these included on the disc.
- Featurette – I think I can safely call this a “vintage” featurette since it was filmed at the same time the movie was being made. How old is it? Put it this way – Alan Arkin had hair! Essentially, though, it’s the same as we find today with a slew of interviews with the cast telling about the character and the film in general. Warning: late 80’s/early 90’s hair persists.
- Theatrical Trailers – Two are included, one cleverly entitled “Theatrical Trailer A” and the other…well, I’m sure you can guess.
The Bottom Line
In the pantheon of Tim Burton films, it’s hard to say which really stands atop the list. It’s different for everyone. I’d have to say that this has withstood the test of time (as have most Burton films) and remains a classic. All of the familiar elements are there: most notably Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman. This new Blu-ray has an amazing transfer, so much an improvement over the previous it’s not even funny. I’d have preferred a few more supplements, but for those who don’t yet have this in their collection – it’s a no-brainer.