Monday, 16 November 2009

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Today, we watched the film 'Edward Scissorhands', in my opinion a masterpiece of cinema. Also it is my essay choice so I had to pay extra attention to detail and production design. The main thing i found is that it has so many influences from the first Gothic films, such as 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1919).

The film ' Edward Scissorhands' was the most personal film to the director Tim Burton, where he finally was able to express the long-waited longings he had as a teenager and that reflect his own childhood living in suburbia.
It is a Gothic fairytale film, where everything seems so magical, but so real as well.
A story of this Inventor's (Vincent Price) great invention called Edward, a not so perfect character that had scissor for hands. Edward lived in the dark and cold castle until one day an Avon lady took him to live with her in the colourful suburbia. At first, everything seems to be going alright but then Edward finds the life in the suburbia not so perfect. A lovestory with a moral aspects behind it, just like 'the Elephant Man' , where the actually 'freaks' are not the main characters but yes the people around them that don't understand what is to be different.

Interesting notes from some of the scenes to help me with my essay:

-It starts with an amazing soundtrack by the composer Danny Elfman, which set us the mood into entering the world of fantasy, and imagination. The first scene indicates that the story that 'old' Kim is telling is a fairytale, when she starts to tell her supposed grand children a story of a man that lived in a castle high in the mountain. The amazing set design on the first scene, where the objects are not the same scale of people, emphasizes the sense of fairytale. When she starts to tell the story, the first thing visible is the depiction of 2 opposite worlds, though they are stylized, you are able to relate them to the 'real' world. The use of maquettes to give a overview of the all scenario is amusing. The contrast presented between the 50s/60s 'American Dream' Suburbia and the European Gothic style building, this opposite worlds are better shown in the scene with the mirror of the car, where the bright colours of suburbia, don't blend with the image of the dark castle in the mirror.
-Also the scene, where the Avon lady meets Edward has influences from the old Gothic films, where the distortion of the German expressionism present in 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' and the strong shadows of ' The Night of the Hunter' and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' sets us into a Gothic, creepy world, but in fact contrasts, the shadowed side of the attic where Edward stands to the bright side of the attic provoked by the fallen roof the Avon lady stands. When she decides to take Edward to her house, he looks really excited when he first sees suburbia this colourful place full of harmony, but actually as he starts to live there he realises that the exterior beauty doesn't really mean what is inside, as the stylized people the he meets along the way are nothing more than fake,who 'use' him for they own need.
Meanwhile, Edward remembers the inventions room, the sound of machines and the way it was filmed resembles 'Metropolis', it has a creepy but fairytale sense to it, where everything looks like it was taken from a 'Hansel and Gretel' story or the 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. The music in that scene contrasts what looks like an evil room, that actually creates beautiful things.
Other Scene that really grabbed my attention was when Kim was coming on the van, and in paint job of the van i could identify the craziness of the teenage years, the thought we are able to do everything and become different.
After on the scene with the haircuts, where the music sensualise the scene, just like they were having pleasure when cutting hair and the exuberance of the haircuts emphasizing how Edward is different.
When Edward goes on the show i found it a really confrontational scene, where he seemed to be exposing himself a lot, which still happens nowadays in reality shows.
The scene with the ice sculpture, bring us back to the fairytale world, followed by a fight between kim's boyfriend and Edward.
The Uninvinting Castle once again highlighting Edwards previous life,which is going to go back to, and also the scene is going up the stairs through the shadows looks like a breakthrough from his life to create something beautiful for Kim.

P.s- Also found that in each night scene, something bad happens to Edward, such as the robbery and the fight with Kim's boyfriend that led him to go back to the castle. don't know if it is coincidence or was supposed to be like that.

I know this post doesnt look like a review, is more notes to help in my essay, sorry if it looks confusing.


tutorphil said...

one of the key elements of the production design is the film's playfulness with eras - superficially, the film appears to be set somewhere between the late 50s and early 60s - what with the colour palate of the homes referencing the colours of the new-boom in consumer products associated with that period; however, the young people belong to the 80's or very early 90's, with their van clearly out of keeping with the time period... then of course, there is the Gothic-stylings of the castle, which belongs to a different time period altogether!

Ruben Alexandre said...

indeed, also what identifies how personal this film is to Tim Burton is because is set in the suburbia colours of the 50s and 60s with the young people and the hairstyle of the 80s and the creepiness of the old gothic..

Anonymous said...

i love edward

Anonymous said...

this movie is not scary but when ure about to go 2 sleep in the night u DO get scared like WOW(*_*)BUT it`s cool.i give it 2 thimbs up!!!

TRINITY said...

umm WOW!!! i thoguth the hands were his hands ohhhhhh n ahahhahhahhahhahhaha the car coloer is masht with the houes hahahha n i like the hand n the deer on the pic