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EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
1990 - Tim Burton
United States
14
Opening Shot

Tim Burton's personal visionary signature begins as early as the opening 20th Century Fox (blue-tinted) logo, which is being covered by falling snow flakes. This leads to another trademark opening credit sequence aided by a remarkable Danny Elfman score. The style and tone have already been set before the even begins. When it does we are immediately taken into it's world (or it's two worlds) as the film opens to a shot of an old mansion atop the mountain on a snowy night. The shots zooms back as we see an old lady looking out a window toward that mansion. She turns to her grand daughter lying in bed by a fireplace. "Why is it snowing grandmom", she asks...

The Film

"Hold me... I can't." I absolutely love this film to a point of unspeakable words. I believe it to absolutely be one of the very greatest films ever made. Edward Scissorhands is a touching fantasy. An old-fashioned story of love and human prejudice. The films magic comes from the imaginative vision of director Tim Burton, who creates a colorful suburban world that is also dark and depressing when compared to the simple fairy tale. It's tragic ending will stay with you long after watching, even after repeat viewings. The film details how cruel, close-minded, judgmental, and greedy some people can be. However, the power and hope of love, beauty, remembrance, and strength are deeply embraced within the images and emotions of the film. The cinematography, directing, acting, and dialogue are all flawless in blending romance, comedy, and drama. This is my favorite film by Tim Burton and he is one of my personal favorite filmmakers. His eye for detail and visual color is remarkable, especially the way he tells a story in a collective space and framing. His films speak through visuals, blending a wonderful imagination and humor with an ability to equally contrast both dark and light subjects and emotions. I really can't describe the beauty and joy this film gives me, as words truly do the film no justice. Filmmakers and films like this are reason cinema is such a joyous experience. Edward Scissorhands holds and very special place in my heart. I love this film, "and sometimes I still catch myself dancing in it."

The Filmmaker

Perhaps before any other filmmaker, Tim Burton was the very first I deeply admired as a director and my love of his films remains equally as strong today. On a personal perspective, Edward Scissorhands was one of earliest films to connect with me on a transcendent level (even if I wasn't aware of it). I loved the film during the time (at the age of 12), but don't think I appreciated its transcendent beauty until I became older. It remains a personal favorite and in fact has only grown stronger within me as I age. Burton is definitely among my favorite filmmakers of contemporary cinema, and while he is well respected by fans as well as critics, I still believe him to be under appreciated as a truly amazing artist. Perhaps over time his films will be reflected on more and the appreciation of Burton's extraordinary gifts will become more appreciated as one of the great filmmakers of American cinema. Burton's mastery lies in his visual expression (which shows influence from the German Expressionism of the silent era). His eye for detail and visual color is remarkable and really under appreciated in contemporary film. However, Burton is also a master of emotion, particularly his ability to equally blend or contrast both dark and light subjects and emotions. Burton is often criticized for his flawed scripts, but what gets overlooked is his ability to re-imagine story and genre usually through dark fantasy. Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow for example work as comic re-imaginations of horror; Edward Scissorhands a fairytale re-imagination of Frankenstein; Batman a re-imagination of noir and the comics; Mars Attacks and Ed Wood re-imaginations of 50s Sci-Fi; Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride re-imagination of animation; or even Pee Wee's Big Adventure works as a zany comedic re-imagination of the neorealist masterpiece The Bicycle Thief. Each of these re-imaginations are unique and the wok of a wonderfully original artist. One of the other endearing aspects of Burton's filmmaking is his deeply compassionate care of his characters. Each character of his films is given an honest and sympathetic respect, and it is very often that Burton finds the most personal compassion in his darker, alienated characters (who sometimes may not even be the protagonist- as is the case with the Penguin in Batman Returns). He seems to find a special and personal connection with these darker outside characters. A great example of this compassion can be found in his most acclaimed film, 1994's Ed Wood (a film about the man most commonly referred to as 'Hollywood's All-Time Worst Director'). Where as other filmmakers would have used the source for cheap exploitation, Burton doesn't. In fact, he finds a different side of Ed Wood- one that is sympathetic without being condescending, and the film displays Wood as a passionate and very expressive artist. Burtons films center around "strange" characters who survive within imaginary worlds. If they do not fit within the conformity of the "ordinary" world, love and redemption can be obtained in the imaginary world of their design or control. Burton is simply a personal favorite and his films continue to hold value and meaning. I've enjoyed every film he has made to date and will continue to look forward to future releases.

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Resources
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