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Edward Scissorhands Essay Sample

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Edward Scissorhands Essay Sample

Edward Scissorhands (1990) is a gothic, fantasy genre film directed by Tim Burton. The film is heavily influenced by Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein; a science fiction novel about a gruesome ‘monster,’ who was cast out of society and isolated from others, but also the Frankenstein myth in general. There are many obvious similarities between Edward Scissorhands and Frankenstein, which are displayed through symbolism and film techniques used frequently throughout the film.

The most obvious similarity between the two works is the theme of the outsider. In Frankenstein, the creature is abandoned by his creator because of his grotesque appearance which was widely different from the beautiful creature the creator had imagined. Both ‘experiments,’ one could say, were created in a laboratory – another similarity. In Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton has adapted this theme by having the creator die, leaving Edward unfinished and lonely until he his brought into the outside world many years later. Before the death of his creator, Edward had been well-educated and therefore was more easily accepted into the community, despite having scissors for hands. Neither creation was understood by society.

In the case of Frankenstein, the monster is hideous and terrifies everyone he approaches, when all he wants is to be accepted. In Edward Scissorhands, Edward just wants to be loved by Kim. Kim is the daughter of Peg who was the woman which brought Edward into the community. Edward is regarded as a novelty, everyone wants to be friends with him, everyone wants to speak to him. Whereas a recurring theme in Frankenstein is the fact that this monster is an outcast of society – not even his creator wants him.

In the beginning of Edward Scissorhands, it depicts a small, typical suburb – apart from the fact that everything is in pastel colours. The houses are of a 50s style, with perfect green front lawns and shrubbery. They are all painted in pastel pinks, blues, yellows and greens. The cars are the same colours, also with the costuming of all characters – except Edward. Then all of a sudden, in the wing mirror of a car, the reflection of a solitary, spooky, dark castle is seen. This is a great contrast to the happy, cheerful colours of the neighbourhood and is already bringing in the theme of the outsider.

Tim Burton has used the idea of ‘perfection’ in order to make a bolder contrast between Edward and everybody else. Before Edward arrives, nothing much seems to be of interest to anyone. They all have the same schedule, day in and day out, that is, until Edward is introduced. At first, Edward is extremely popular and lusted after, especially by Joyce, one of the more extreme neighbours. He quickly becomes the topic of all the woman’s gossip. Edward’s differences to everyone else made him a freak of nature, one that could be manipulated easily – as seen throughout the film. After Edward is arrested for ‘stealing,’ he is no longer loved by all, and is once again shunned but also feared by everyone apart from Peg’s family, resulting in them being cast from society as well.

The use of topiary throughout the film is extremely significant. This demonstrates that although Edward may be disadvantaged because of his lack of hands, he is still incredibly creative and is able to make beautiful things. This links in with the theme that beauty is not just on the outside. In relation to this, Edward loves Kim because he knew she was beautiful on the inside as well as out. By the end of the film, Kim has confessed her love for Edward after realising that he is more than what everyone thinks him to be. In conclusion, the myth of Frankenstein has been cleverly manipulated by Tim Burton in order to create a new, more modern version of one of the first science fiction novels ever written. Many themes used in Frankenstein are integrated skilfully into an everyday, average neighbourhood in Edward Scissorhands. In response to the task set, Tim Burton has most definitely captured and developed the theme of the outsider, has kept Edward Scissorhands modern whilst doing so and executed it well.

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