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Film Review

Space & Environment

Edward Scissorhands
Director: Tim Burton

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Edward Scissorhands is an American romantic fantasy film directed by Tim Burton that was produced in 1990. The film features Johnny Depp and depicts the story of an eccentric inventors creation; an artificial man named Edward, who has scissors for hands. The narrative sees Edward taken in by a suburban family and consequently falling in love with their teenage daughter. Burton gained inspiration for the film from his childhood experiences and was the forth he produced, arguably being his most successful production. The gothic genres which are present throughout Burtons masterpiece effectively build on various aspects of the film. The mysterious and fantastical soundtrack helps to elevate an unnatural and eerie mood within the opening segment of the film, which prepares the audience for the dark environment that is then introduced as a gothic derelict castle which is contrasted against a 1960s consumerist neighbourhood. As critic Chris Cabin acknowledges; His gothic tones always mask a feeling of wonder and an endearing love for everything that is possible in life and death. (Cabin, 2005) For example, the gothic castle is used as juxtaposition in two individual ways that could share a similar meaning. The way in which the gothic castle stands out in the modern village could be interpreted as an imperfection within a utopian society, which then reflects the character of Edward. However, the most effective use of

juxtaposition is between the first appearance of the castle, and the later exploration of its inner beauty. The unnatural exterior faade masks the internal splendour with over powering architecture possessing broken windows and disturbing gargoyles, yet the flourishing gardens and beautiful topiary (Figure 3) suggest that within all the ugliness, there are attractive elements which can surprise audiences and symbolise that the unsightly nature of appearances can contain inner beauty, which are also reflect a visual metaphor linking to Edwards character.

Figure 3 Edward Scissorhands is arguably the most comparable film to Burtons reflection on his own life experiences as the film has an autobiographical sense which has debatably been the success of Burtons cinema legacy. The character of Edward has been seen by many critics as a self depiction of Burton himself, with Larsen sharing a similar view, expressing ideas which suggest a self portrayal. perhaps the cinema's most enchanting parable about the misunderstood and alienated artist. (Larsen, 2008) Burtons odd nature translates to the characteristics of Edward, suggesting that indifference creates works or art that have an inner beauty past their unpleasant or different appearance. It could also be disputed that the portrayal of Edward being out-of-place in a normal American neighbourhood reflects the personal emotions Burton experienced throughout his life, suggesting that incompleteness is more complete compared to the normality of the peoples life within the utopian neighbourhood.

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The overall film is a masterful work of romantic fantasy, conveying themes of inner beauty and difference, as well as producing sub-contexts of pure whimsical imagination. Various elements within the film produce the fantastical elements which uniquely develop this magical mood. Travers states that; Edward Scissorhands isnt perfect. It's something better: pure magic. (Travers, 1990) In agreement with Travers, the production has flaws but only few; nevertheless the pure magic of the film comes from the fantasy and the excitement it produces. One of the biggest imaginative aspects and questionably one of the most whimsical in all of cinema is the origin tale of the snow. The idea of having a character so visually unpleasing create an element that is considered so picturesque from beautifully fascinating ice sculptures (Figure 4) is almost emotionally felt as it expands on the romantic heart felt relationship between the normal character of Kim and Edward, and produces a stronger meaning to the films narrative. Edward Scissorhands is a fine example of a near-perfect production, with innovative design work regarding both environment and character which seem hugely influenced by emotional integrity that evokes a combination of emotions, perhaps to point of provoking poignancy toward the films end. Inclusively, Edward Scissorhands is a highly regarded film in terms of emotional contrast and character juxtaposition, and is one of Burtons standout films from the last century.

Review Bibliography References Cabin, C (2005) available at:; [accessed online on 15 November 2012]. Larsen, J (2008) available at:; Words=on [accessed online on 17 November 2012]. Travers, P (1990) available at:; [accessed online on 17 November 2012]. Images Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4:

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