quinta-feira, 27 de outubro de 2011

Halloween Movies: Edward Scissorhands

Hey, folks!

Once upon a time in a castle high on a hill lived an inventor whose greatest creation was named Edward. Although Edward had an irresistible charm, he wasn't quite perfect. The inventor's sudden death left him unfinished, with sharp shears of metal for hands. Edward lived alone in the darkness until one day a kind Avon lady took him home to live with her family. And so began Edward's fantastical adventures in a pastel paradise known as Suburbia. 

Edward lives alone in a ruined Gothic castle that just happens to be perched above a pastel-colored suburb inhabited by breadwinning husbands and frustrated housewives straight out of the 1950s. One day, Peg (Dianne Wiest), the local Avon lady, comes calling. Finding Edward alone, she kindly invites him to come home with her, where she hopes to help him with his pasty complexion and those nasty nicks he's given himself with his razor-sharp fingers. Soon Edward's skill with topiary sculpture and hair design make him popular in the neighborhood--but the mood turns just as swiftly against the outsider when he starts to feel his own desires, particularly for Peg's daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Most of director Tim Burton's movies (such as Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman) are visual spectacles with elements of fantasy, but Edward Scissorhands is more tender and personal than the others. Edward's wild black hair is much like Burton's, suggesting that the character represents the director's own feelings of estrangement and co-option. Johnny Depp, making his first successful leap from TV to film, captures Edward's childlike vulnerability even while his physical posture evokes horror icons like the vampire in Nosferatu and the sleepwalker in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Classic horror films, at their heart, feel a deep sympathy for the monsters they portray; simply and affectingly, Edward Scissorhands lays that heart bare. 

Burton mixes classic fairytale themes to create an original and touching character in Edward. Taken from his gothic castle to a colourful and romanticised suburban neighbourhood he changes the lives of the townsfolk forever. The first half of the film is very funny, full of subtle physical comedy and gentle satire on suburban life. Edward brings his artistic skill to the town and the people almost ignore his bizarre appearance. Then he begins a longing romance for Kim, the girl he lives with but who seems to want nothing to do with him. He eventually wins her love, but is exploited by and then violently rejected by the townspeople.

The film is made with a skill far exceeding Burton's previous works. The unforgettable images and Elfman's haunting score make this one of the all-time fantasy greats. Every performance is perfect. Johnny Depp brings a feeling of tortured emotion to his almost silent character that lingers long in the memory. I literally forgot who's playing the part. Dianne Wiest and Alan Arkin are, respectively, touchingly real and hilariously blank as the parents who adopt him. Winona Ryder brings warmth and beauty (in a blonde wig) to her supporting role as the object of Edward's affectations, who comes to love him for his artistic vision. Anthony Michael Hall is suitably menacing as the jealous jock who eventually gets his come-uppance, and Kathy Baker funny as the sex-starved, Tom Jones-listening housewife. Finally, Vincent Price, in his last feature film role, brings extra resonance as Edward's inventor.

Watch the video!

Edward Scissorhands is Burton's masterpiece. It's the story of an uncommonly gentle man (Johnny Depp, in what may still be his finest role) who finds fame, love, and then rejection in the heart of suburbia. Like the best fairytales, the story can be read many ways, from a plea for tolerance for handicapped people, to an exploration of the tortured artist at work.
Scissorhands is arguably Burton’s most personal film, a moving portrait of an artistic outsider who cannot touch what he desires without destroying it. While he may have made more technically adept films since, none of his other work comes close to the emotion of this deceptively simple story. The stunning visuals and heartbreakingly beautiful score by Danny Elfman have also added to this film's status as an all-time classic.
To sum up, I believe Burton will never make anything approaching the depth and emotion of this wonderful film again. It's funny, sad and visually striking. What more could anyone want from a movie?

"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.

See you,
Teacher Jô Piantavinha

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