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'Edward Scissorhands' Designing What Made The Cut 05/11/2015

Figure 1: 'Edward Scissorhands' Poster
This film review will focus on how Edward is portrayed as a character, how he interacts with this other world he has been secluded from and how the inhabitants of that world interact with him. The film was made in 1990 was directed by 'Tim Burton' and produced by 'Denise Di Novi'. The film is regarded by many as Tim Burtons best work. You can see the team that he worked with were very professional and when you look at the film in greater detail you can really see the attention to detail that the team put in.

Figure 2: 'Edward Scissorhands' Town
The Production Designer 'Bo Welch' has worked with Tim Burton on most of his films so he knows Tim very well and what he wants from a production designer. When you look at the town it is an almost perfect example of a world where everything has been taken over by consumerism. Everything looks the same, however the option of different colours is there to give the illusion that people have their own independent style. Even the cars are all the same, the only difference is the colour, the only car that is different is the van the young boys use to travel around in. "The movie takes place in an entirely artificial world, where a haunting gothic castle crouches on a mountaintop high above a storybook suburb, a goofy sitcom neighborhood where all of the houses are shades of pastels and all of the inhabitants seem to be emotional clones of the Jetsons". (Roger Ebert, 1990) Each house can also represent each character, for example Esmarelda 'O-lan Jones' has a red house and has religious objects everywhere, whereas Peg Bogg's (Dianne Wiest) has a yellow house and the inside is the almost iconic family home. Another example is Joyce's (Kathy Baker) home, Joyce is a very sexualised character, trying to get with men any chance she gets, even if it is someone who is completely abnormal. She has lots of clothes, expensive ornaments and a fancy pet dog, she is this very strong independent woman who can take control into her own hands. The colour of her house is purple which can mean mystery, luxury and royalty which perfectly suits her character.

Figure 3 'Edward Scissorhands' Mansion Garden
The way we also see the mansion is very interesting, its almost as if the mansion is a visual representation of Edward and shows the forthcoming in the film in this one scene. When the outside of the mansion is seen from a distance or up closer the mansion is very creepy, eerie and ominous. You would stay away from this house, this is even more reinforced by the world it is in, a world made by consumerism would make this mansion completely abnormal and alien like. The interior is this beautiful garden with amazing bush sculptures in perfect condition, almost as if they are maintained with incredible efficiency and precision, something that only a machine could achieve perhaps? Then there is the interior, is is a large empty room with some machines and a scary statue in the form of some sort of nightmarish creature. However the attic is quite different, it is this room with a hole in the roof which lets in light but you can only see very little of the world from it. This building is an almost perfect visual representation of Edward, the exterior of the mansion is this scary, ominous visual, just like Edwards appearance. The garden shows this stunning visual of a master artist, Edward may not be a master artist but he has incredible skill in what he does. The interior show what he really is, an empty machine with little to no detail however a small crack in the roof sheds some light on his humanity. Even at the end of the film when the room caves in (Making the hole bigger) Edward has gone through an experience which has shown him more about his emotions and his humanity therefore helping him grow as a person, not as a machine.
  
Figure 4 'Edward Scissorhands' Edward
Edward is not technically a human but a machine, he was originally a cutting machine made into a human. He was taught how to act like a human but is not complete, he is missing hands and instead has scissors. He has the efficiency and precision of a machine but the mind and body of a human being. When his master dies he didn't know what to do, alone with no guidance he is secluded on his own for a number of years (Amount of time is not specified.) and is severely socially deprived. "Edward, who is wrapped from head to toe in shiny, spiked leather, has a bit of a punk look to him; he’s like an angelic version of Sid Vicious. At the same time, he couldn’t be less threatening. He almost never says anything, and when he does, the voice that comes out is shockingly soft and delicate, full of a child’s serene wonder. Edward’s true eloquence can be found in his eyes. They’re black-rimmed and wounded, full of ghostly awareness, and the more you look into them the more you could swear he was about to cry." (Owen Gleibberman, 1990) When is brought into this 'Other World' it is very alien to him, he doesn't know how to act or what to do. The entire cul-de-sac is fascinated by this 'Thing', because they live in a world made in consumerism, having someone this diverse it bound to make some attention. When his talents are first discovered by everyone they use him to do amazing things, he doesn't mind because that is what his main function is and he also discovers other talents because of this usage, such as cutting dogs, cutting hair and lock picking. When he is caught by the police and the story is spread around the town that he broke into someone's home they all judge him. Even at the start of the film a crippled old man relates to him and tries to give him confidence, whereas after this incident he calls Edward 'A Cripple'. They all see him as a freak, they used him, fulfilled his purpose, then discarded him.
Figure 5 'Edward Scissorhands' Ice Statues
Different audiences see the film in different ways, to someone who would not look into the films small details it is a story of a boy with scissors for hands, who enters our world, falls in love with a young girl and finishes on a dramatic finale. However when the film is looked into with detail the story is about a boy who is different mentally and physically, who is taken under the wing of a family consumed by consumerism. He is then taken into their world and tested like a lab rat on how he will act in this kind of environment. The film ends with the conclusion that despite Edwards special trait limits him in a world made by consumerism but when given freedom he is a pure artist. "Throughout the human history, the wisdom of generation was conveyed through fairy tales. This tale is no exception. This story, told in magic simplicity, actually has some deep philosophical meanings. While mercilessly debunking the true nature of human beings, this tragic story really tears your heart, and yet it fills it with hope. That is the true and, perhaps, the only purpose of art, if you ask me." (IlyaEck, 2004)

Biblography

Source 1: IlyaEck
Edward Scissorhands reviews & ratings. (2004) [Film] 
[Film] Directed by T. Burton.
Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox. 
(Accessed on 8.11.15)

Source 2: Owen Gleibberman
Edward Scissorhands reviews & ratings. (2004) [Film] 
[Film] Directed by T. Burton. 
Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox. 
(Accessed on 8.11.15)

Source 3: Roger Ebert
Edward Scissorhands reviews & ratings. (2004) [Film] 
[Film] Directed by T. Burton.
Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox.
(Accessed on 8.11.15)

Image Biblography

Figure 1: 'Edward Scissorhands' Poster

Figure 2: 'Edward Scissorhands' Town

Figure 3: 'Edward Scissorhands' Mansion Garden

Figure 4: 'Edward Scissorhands' Edward

Figure 5: 'Edward Scissorhands' Ice Statues

Comments

  1. Another well-written review Tom; good discussion around the use of colour :)

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