Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker
Written by: Caroline Thompson, Tim Burton
Directed by: Tim Burton
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 100
Date: 12/06/1990

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

4 Stars (out of 4)

A Cut Above

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Watching the new trailers for Tim Burton's upcoming Planet of the Apes, Icouldn't help noticing the lack of Johnny Depp. I suppose I've grownaccustomed to Depp and Burton working together. They seem to bring outthe best in each other. Depp is a shy, Brando-esque actor who loves tocompletely hide himself within a role, and the more there is to hide in,the better. Burton -- even more so than Spielberg -- has a finger perpetuallystuck into childhood dreams, fantasies, and fairy tales, and manages tobring about his own personal vision in an increasingly impersonal moviebusiness. When Burton works with Depp, the actor will go the limits tomine the director's nightmares and bring them to light.

Burton and Depp's first pairing, Edward Scissorhands (1990) is a masterwork equal to Ed Wood in many ways, and it was recently named by the prestigious French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema as one of the ten best films of the 1990's. Edward Scissorhands is an unfinished boy with a cookie for a heart built by a good mad scientist played by Vincent Price. An Avon Lady (Dianne Wiest) discovers him cowering in a bizarre mansion and brings him to live in a kind of timeless suburbia, where residents dress out of the 1960's and 1970's, but drive modern-day cars and listen to CD players. At first, Edward thrives but soon finds that people are all too willing to exploit him and follow mob rule.

The DVD release contains a beautiful new transfer, emphasizing the film's lovely snow-whites and grass-greens. Burton and composer Danny Elfman contributed two separate audio tracks. But, as I suspected, Burton's true feelings come out in his work and not in his talk. The track is rather straightforward. Musicians, however, may be interested in Elfman's comments. Viewers will also enjoy the vintage 1990 trailers, interviews with the much-younger stars, and a brief making-of documentary. Edward Scissorhands is an essential item for collectors.

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