Sunday, 20 November 2011

Edward Scissorhands directed by Tim Burton

Fig. 1 Box Art

Edward Scissorhands directed by Tim Burton (1990). It takes place in Castle High a stereotypical American suburb. Except for an old European gothic mansion that stand atop a hill where the creator lived. His last creation was Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) an almost complete person, but before he could finish Edwards’s hands he died so instead Edward still kept metal scissors for hands. Atop the hill in the mansion Edward lived alone until an Avon representative Peg Bogg (Dianne Wiest) came along and took him to her home.

Fig. 2 The Mansion

Edward despite his appearance is never portrayed as a character to fear. He is a lonely character who wishes he could be accepted. Edward is gentle at heart but is dangerous when he doesn’t intend it making the audience feel for him. “Edward is a hazard, slicing gashes in his chalky face every time he wipes away a stray hair.” (Travers 1990). Peg takes Edward in like a mother and tries to make him feel like part of the family. The character Edward clearly is a close emotional tie to Tim Burton when he was younger. The scissors could represent what some teenagers go through with it being a metaphor of depression and self-harm. And the fact that nothing Edward touches is always a masterpiece, he can’t hold those he cherishes or able to touch.

Fig. 3 Edward Scissorhands

The use of contrast is a key element throughout this film to signify the differences between Edward and the rest of society. The houses are bright pastel colours which strengthens the feel on the suburb. All the people dress up in bright colours and congregate in a close-knit community, whereas Edward lives a dark dreary mansion and lives by himself with no contact to the outside. Edward has a very unique and interesting way of expressing himself by cutting grand designs out of what’s around. But the ‘normal’ people only show their expression through boring appliances, clothing and other consumer goods. “Instead of expressing these ideas through the dialogue, Burton finds ways to visually contrast the two worlds. There’s the dark, crumbling castle that looms in the background, the longtime home of Edward. While in town, the houses are all bright, pastel colors, yet there’s unison to their design and layout.” (Ewing 2010)

Fig. 4 Castle Hill

All the characters are very interesting which makes the viewer think, and look with more depth into them. This one of the key features in the film which engages you and makes you feel for them. Edward in particular has a unique persona which intrigues the viewer to look closer, he doesn’t say much but Depp can deliver such a great performance using actions and movement that gives Edward his particular nature. “Burton shows a fascination with the unusual and the bizarre that urges you to look closer rather than turn away in disgust and it’s not just because of the humanity underlying the deformed exterior.” (Biodrowski 2000). With Edward being unique in particular all the residents take liking to him, rather like a puppy that soon loses its charm. Everybody wants to please Edward and get to know him, but it seem Edward is just a novelty and when he is framed for breaking into the house they re-invent him into something he isn’t and is soon pushed away and forgotten. This shows the hollow ness of the general population to take everything on appearance.

Illustration List

Burton, T (1990) Figure 1. Box art [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)

Burton, T (1990) Figure 2. The Mansion [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)

Burton, T (1990) Figure 3. Edward Scissorhands [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)

Burton, T (1990) Figure 4. Castle Hill [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)


Peter Travers (1990) [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)

James Ewing (2010) [online] (Accessed on 19/11/11)

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