|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Saturday, 01 December 2007|
"Edward Scissorhands" makes it way to the Blu-ray format. I was highly anxious to watch this release after seeing the problems that plagued the three previous standard DVD releases. For the most part, this Blu-ray edition enhances and exudes all that Tim Burton meant "Edward Scissorhands" to be.
Edward (Johnny Depp) is a character that is a cross between fairytale creations and that shy kid in grade school. Created by an eccentric inventor, Edward resides in a mansion high atop a dark, gloomy mountain. The death of his creator left him unfinished, most notably his hands are giant scissors.
Edward lives reclusively in his mansion until the day when local Avon lady, Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) enters the premises. Initially frightened, Peg takes pity on Edward and brings him down from the mountaintop to live with her and her family.
Peg's family lives in suburbia, in which Tim Burton takes a great stylistic approach in creating. The layout structure of the homes and the characters that live there are clearly inspiration for television's "Desperate Housewives" and Wisteria Lane. The chosen house colors are very much in line with typical Tim Burton style.
The suburban community is filled primarily with bored housewives, divorcees, and single women that have nothing better to do than pry into everyone else's business. In the case of this film, the talk of the town is the sight of Peg driving in a car with a mysterious man. Unexpectedly, the town embraces Edward as their friend, instead of a freak of nature.
Sadly, the town residents are just out to abuse Edward's gift, and not to really be his friend. That is, everyone except the Boggs family. It turns out that Edward has quite a knack for shaping bushes, dog hair, and human hair with his large scissor-hands.
All is well and good for Edward until Peg's daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder) returns from camping in the woods. Like any classic fairytale, the monster falls in love with the beauty. However, Kim doesn't see Edward's kindheartedness, at least not at first.
Things begin to fall apart for Edward at this point. One of the residents accuses him of sexual assault, he is forced to steal, and cannot seem to get a bank loan to start his own beauty salon. The neighbors begin to turn on Edward, and he is forced to flee.
The brilliance of "Edward Scissorhands" is not in the plot. It is in the character development, acting, and Tim Burton production.
Each and every character in this film is full of depth, even the shallow, suburban, town tease. Each character plays their role in the social behavior education of Edward. While the writers did an excellent job on character creations, it was the acting that made the characters come to life.
First and foremost, Johnny Depp IS Edward Scissorhands. He took an outcast, freak of nature character, and gave him a soul. Every viewer can relate to his feeling of solitary. It was this role that really made Depp's career take off. It was the first in a long line of Tim Burton – Johnny Depp collaborations. His performance also typecast him as a dark, idiosyncratic performer. "Secret Window", "Sleepy Hollow", "From Hell", among others, are all examples of typical Johnny Depp roles. However, Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow in "Pirates Of The Caribbean" brought him into a whole new light, contrasting his performance as Edward Scissorhands to the highest level.
Another favorite of Tim Burton is Winona Ryder. Having cast her in "Beetlejuice", Burton felt she was a perfect fit for the role of Kim Boggs. Winona will always be remembered for her girl-next-door personality in this film. No one will ever forget the fantastic "dancing in the snow" scene. It has become a classic scene, instantly recognizable by movie fans.
In a far less influential capacity on the film were outstanding performances delivered by Alan Arkin, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dianne Wiest. Arkin brings us a goofy parental that brings some laughs to the screen. The scene between Arkin and Depp in the basement bar, where Edward is served "lemonade", is extremely memorable. Most well known for his portrayals in John Hughes' classics, "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club", Anthony Michael Hall is what you would consider the villain of the film. He is believable for every second.
After the disastrous standard DVD video presentations, I'm happy to report that the Blu-ray transfer is much improved. While still flawed, the hazy glaze that plagued the DVDs is no longer present. The colors are bold, and the black levels are incredible. Where the video quality falls apart is with "the shake". Those of you who are familiar with the recent DVD versions of the "Edward Scissorhands" will know exactly what I am talking about. At first it seems like the director of photography did not use sticks (also known as a tripod) for some seriously static shots. However, as the film continues the shakiness does not disappear. I don't know how this was overlooked in the transfer process, but it damn near wrecks the movie experience. The only other thing is a slight fluttering in the luminosity, and sometimes the black levels are so deep that detail is lost in the shadows. However, the garden sequences prove that color and black level depth are extremely strong points for this Blu-ray presentation. Being a 1990 film, there were some blotchy and grainy skies during bright daylight sequences.
The audio for this film is a strange one, and it has been on all the DVD versions. The Blu-ray contains a DTS Master HD 4.0 track. Yes, you read that correctly, 4.0. Surprising though, the audio was good. While flat on the DVD versions, the DTS Master HD track helps a great deal. Danny Elfman's composition is every bit as powerful as, if not more so, than 5.1 movie-score compositions. The dialogue is crisp and clear. While the soundtrack functions as is, I do have to ding it for not have a separate LFE channel. While punchy, some of the detail in the bass frequencies was lost without an LFE channel. Also, the surround channels deliver the same sounds at the same time, which makes discreet placement impossible. All in all a well produced 4.0 audio track.
The special features are a huge disappointment for this film. That much was to be expected once it was announced that it was going to be on a 25GB disc instead of 50GB. There are two audio commentaries. The first is with director Tim Burton. This commentary was a bit dull, with too much silence. I was really hoping to hear more about how personal this film was to him, and how he related to his title character. The second audio commentary is with composer Danny Elfman. Having loved the music score of this film I was excited by this commentary, only to be let down when I actually listened to it. There was even more silence on it than Burton's. The only other real future on the disc is a four-minute featurette on the making of the film. There are also a couple of trailers in high-definition, and a Fox Blu-ray movie promo segment. This Blu-ray lacks some of the features that were present on past DVD versions. All the special features are in standard definition (with the exception of the trailers and promo reel).
"Edward Scissorhands" is a magical movie delight. From the creator who brought us "Beetlejuice" and "Batman", comes this sensational "coming of age" fairytale story. With outstanding performances from the actors and wonderfully colorful production stylistic choices by Burton, this movie should be at the top of your "Blu-rays to get" list. While not the best of video and audio transfers, it is certainly better than the previous DVDs. A great move for the whole family.