Edward Scissorhands Review and Blu-ray Features
14 Dec 1990
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Is ‘Edward Scissorhands’ based on a book?
No. The idea for the movie was inspired by director Tim Burton when, as a child, he reportedly felt what it was like to be isolated and unable to communicate with people around him. He expressed his feelings in a drawing, then wrote a story. American screenwriter Caroline Thompson worked the story into a screenplay. Burton says that he originally wanted to make the movie into a musical but later dropped the idea.
When does the movie take place?
The pastel colors, house furnishings, women’s fashions and hairstyles, pill hats, starburst wall clocks and pastel-colored rotary dial telephones are all reminiscent of the early 1960s. However, the VCRs and aerobics classes came to be in the 1980s or thereabout. So there is no real time when the movie “took place.”
Why does Edward have scissors for hands?
Once upon a time, there was an Inventor (Vincent Price) who ran a cookie-making assembly line in which robot-like contraptions with cookie cutters for feet and eggbeaters for hands mixed and cut the cookies. One day, while looking over a fresh batch, the Inventor picked up a heart-shaped cookie and came up with the idea of creating a robot ‘with heart.’ Thus the idea for the scissor-handed robot, Edward, was born. Over time, the Inventor improved upon Edward’s metallic core, making him look more and more human while training him in the arts of etiquette and literature. The last step was to exchange Edward’s scissorhands for human-looking hands. Unfortunately, the Inventor died of a heart attack just as he was about to replace them, leaving Edward to go through life with scissors for hands.
But does Edward die? Does he have a girlfriend?
No, he goes back to a life of solitude and remains in the big mansion by himself. He doesn’t age or die, so I guess he just lived there as a myth or legend for the townspeople.
Are there plans for a sequel?
No. Tim Burton considers Edward Scissorhands to be his most personal project and has stated that he would never create a sequel, as he believes it would only rob the film of its purity.
A poignant miracle
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.
RT/Meta Critic Review
A delightful and delicate comic fable(Click here to view)
Mr. Burton invests awe-inspiring ingenuity into the process of reinventing something very small.(Click here to see)
Edward Scissorhands is presented in a 1080p transfer encoded in MPEG2. Unfortunately, the transfer is somewhat disappointing. For the most part the video is clean, but at times can be unstable. The transfer is almost schizophrenic: compare the opening scene with the end: even though they are the bookends of the film (Grandma & the child) the opening is marred by heavy grain and noise, and the end scene is fairly clean and much sharper. During the story itself, grain is natural, but extremely heavy in some shots, especially opticals. Miniature and mattes appear even more artificial and unconvincing. Colors are bright, but can appear oversaturated at times with some noise. There is also some instability and flicker, a good example would be pretty much any dining room scene. The fireplace behind Adam Arkin almost appears to be projected, the flicker is so noticeable. I have a feeling this is in the source: the same flicker appears in the trailers. The sharpest, clearest scenes are actually the flashbacks with Vincent Price in the old mansion; those scenes are filled with rich textures, detail and depth that are missing for the majority of the film. There are no noticeable compression artifacts or edge enhancement. Overall, it’s better than the DVD but not something you’d want to show off your HDTV with.
Audio wise, the sound fares not much better than the video. Encoded in 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, the film sound quality is good: dialogue is clear and easily understandable, sound effects and the music are crisp. However, as far as surround envelopment, it fails. The film is mainly mixed to the front speakers with few discrete surround effects. Even the majority score is confined to the front, a missed opportunity. Bass response is also limited. Again, not something you’d want to use as a demo. Seeing as this film played theatrically with CDS (Cinema Digital Sound) you would think this would be a more aggressive soundtrack. CDS tracks were full, discrete 5.1: films like Dick Tracy, Days of Thunder, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day used it until Dolby Stereo Digital was formally introduced in 1992 with (ironically) Burton’s Batman Returns.
The film is also encoded in Dolby Digital (DD) 2.0 Stereo in French @ 224kbps and DD 2.0 Surround @ 192kbps in Spanish.
The package provided here by Fox is extremely slim, the Blu-ray loses the Concept Art and TV Spots from the recent 15th Anniversary DVD edition.
Commentary by Director Tim Burton (feature length, DD 2.0 @224 kbps): No surprise here: Burton is very fond of this film. He discusses where it was filmed (Florida) and what it took to convert an entire suburban neighborhood into the day-glo you see in the movie. He’s aware of the comparisons to Frankenstein, the scene where the neighbors chase Edward he jokes about possibly giving them torches but thought better of it. He also discusses casting Johnny Depp and what pains the young actor took to become the character Burton envisioned. He fondly recalls working with the late Vincent Price, a dream come true for the director. Price had previously worked with Burton before on his short Vincent, but only as a narrator.
Commentary by Composer Danny Elfman (feature length, DD 2.0 @224 kbps): Elfman discusses one of his most famous scores. Interestingly, Elfman admits that at the time he felt that he was “dabbling” in film scores: his primary passion was still pop/rock music. Elfman also discusses why he scored scenes with certain themes and speaks of his close collaboration with director Burton. This almost doubles as a music only track because the majority of Elfman’s commentary falls between cues. Unfortunately it is not in high bit rate multichannel.
Featurette (0:04:39, 1080i DD 2.0 @224 kbps): Short featurette from 1990 with on set interviews with Tim Burton and the rest of the cast with a generous amount of clips from the film. The interviews and clips are in fairly poor condition, looking more like upconverted Super VHS video and not film transferred to HD. Fun to see a very young Johnny Depp sans makeup, and the all too brief glimpses of production artwork.
Trailers (0:04:21 total, 1080p MPEG2, DD 2.0 @224 kbps): The film’s teaser and final trailers presented in HD. They are in good condition; one bit of weirdness is the final trailer is cropped to 2.35 while the teaser is cropped to 1.33. Very odd aspect ratio choices for this 1.85 film.
Fox on Blu-ray (0:08:01 total): MPEG2 1080p HD trailers for Eragon (2.35, DD 5.1 @448kbps), The Fly (1.85, DD 2.0 @224kbps), The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (2.35, DD 5.1 @640kbps), Night At The Museum (1.85, DD 5.1 @448 kbps)