UK Release date: 26th July 1991
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 31st December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
To me, this is one of Tim Burton’s finest works; I must admit I have been less than impressed with his more recent offerings, but he was bang on form the day he came up with this one! A modern fairytale set in what appears to be 1950’s American suburbia; everything about it is almost perfect. Everything from the music by Danny Elfman to the effects by Stan Winston is brilliantly done and works so well together. But I digress, here’s a brief summary before I heap more praise on this wonderful film.
When housewife, and Avon lady, Peg Boggs decides to visit the big ruined house on the hill, she comes back with more than she expected. There she finds a young man, Edward, who, for some inexplicable reason, has scissors for hands. We are told, in flashback, how this came to be; the inventor had made him that way but had sadly died before he could complete his work. Edward is soon the talk of the neighbourhood and when it is discovered that he can do brilliant topiary (hedge clipping) and even cut and style hair, he becomes a bit of a celebrity. He soon grows a fondness for Peg’s daughter, Kim, who is going out with local rich kid, Jim. He’s a bit of a bully and things are about to turn a bit nasty for Edward. I will leave my summary here or the Spoiler Police will send me back to that draughty house on the hill (again).
I love the look and feel of this film; everything seems to fit in the world Burton has created perfectly. With no CGI I think the effects are really great, I’m still trying to figure out how some of it was done! Excellent performances all round and so honourable mentions go to; Johnny Depp as Edward, Winona Ryder as Kim, Dianne Wiest, who I think was really great as Peg, Anthony Michael Hall as Jim, Kathy Baker as Joyce, Alan Arkin as Bill and in one of his last roles, Vincent Price as The Inventor.
There is a lot about this film to like, and much I have mentioned already. On the downside though, I did find the plot a little predictable in that there had to be a bad guy, a damsel in distress and a sacrifice. This is the only thing that lets it down. I really like this film and would love to give it a higher score, but I guess the studio had its say in the end. But it’s not all that bad; it still comes very highly recommended from me.
My score: 8.9/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 143,869 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 91/100 (based on 54 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100 (based on 939,836 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Peg Boggs: Why are you hiding back there? You don't have to hide from me - I'm Peg Boggs, your local Avon representative and I'm as harmless as cherry pie...
[sees Edward come toward her]
Peg Boggs: Oh - I can see that I've disturbed you. I'll just be going now...
Edward: Don't go.
Peg Boggs: [sees his scissor hands] Oh, my. What happened to you?
Edward: I'm not finished.
Esmerelda: It's not heaven he's from! It's straight from the stinking flames of hell! The power of Satan is in him, I can feel it. Can't you? Have you poor sheep strayed so far from the path?
Edward: We're not sheep.
Esmerelda: Don't come near me!
Bill: So Edward, did you have a productive day?
Edward: Mrs Monroe showed me where the salon's going to be.
[turns to Peg]
Edward: You could have a cosmetics counter.
Peg Boggs: Oh, wouldn't that be great!
Edward: And then she showed me the back room where she took all of her clothes off.
[everyone stares, Kevin snickers]
Kim: You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren't up there now... I don't think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.