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 does it look?
Twentieth Century Fox, initially a DVD fan’s least favorite studio due to their lack of 16:9 support, has come into their own as of late. Thankfully, Edward Scissorhands is enhanced for widescreen TV’s, and the 1.85:1 image looks pristine. Pristine, I don’t know if that word has ever been used to describe how a transfer looks, but this transfer is literally without a flaw. Despite Burton’s dark persona, which is usually reflected in his movies, Edward Scissorhands also has it’s share of very colorful images that seem to leap off the screen. The easter egg colors of the neighborhood houses look brilliant against the azure sky and the film’s signature scene (Edward carving an ice sculpture while Kim dances around in the snow) is nothing short of spectacluar. Not an artifact to be found, no shimmering though flesh tones seem to be a bit off, I think it’s Burton doing it on purpose, as opposed to an error in the transfer. Perfect.
Audio: How does it sound?
Like many other movies, Edward Scissorhands has been given a new Dolby Digital transfer. However, the transfer is a 4.0 mix (meaning a front left, center, front right and surrounds are mono). I haven’t heard many 4.0 mixes, but this is one that really caught my attention. The most noticeable thing about the movie is Danny Elfman’s score. Elfman and Burton have collaborated on many movies together, and it seems that the two just seem to be getting better when it comes to sountracks. Dialogue is clear and is free of any distortion, while the front speakers showcase probably my favorite Elfman score. True, this won’t blow you away like a Saving Private Ryan, but it’s a very clean mix that will sound great on any system.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Edward Scissorhands has been given the special edition treatment by Fox. Fox seems to think that any disc deserving of a special edition label, should also get two discs…luckily, Edward Scissorhands only has one. With the most noteable feature being the two commentaries (one by Tim Burton and the other by Danny Elfman), you learn just about everything that you wanted to know about this movie and in fact, most of Tim Burton’s movies. 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. Aside from that, trailers and TV spots are included, including some from Spain of all places. Soundbites, which are excerpts form interviews add a bit more insight into the movie, as they are done with 8 of the major characters in the movie and Burton and Elfman are included as well. There’s also some concept art, but I was disappointed as there are only about 10 pictures included in this feature (while some like “The Matrix” feature about 800). Overall, this is a pretty packed little disc. Edward Scissorhands isn’t a movie that I’ve seen tons of times, and maybe that’s why I liked it so much when seeing it on DVD. It’s a keeper, though, if Edward Scissorhands is your thing…