Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: Edward Scissorhands

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, October 4, 2000

Oh, did you hear that, he’s a perversion of nature. Why, isn’t that exciting?

Special features

Commentary Track5

A wonderful movie by Tim Burton, with haunting music by Danny Elfman. Stars Johnny Depp, and Winona Ryder at her best. And of course it has Vincent Price. The DVD contains two commentaries and a few other extras.

RecommendationPossible Purchase
DirectorTim Burton
Movie Rating8
Transfer Quality6
Overall Rating6
  • Enhanced Widescreen

Edward Scissorhands” is literally a story about teenage angst in suburbia. At least, that’s the story director Tim Burton says he was telling.

Johnny Depp stars in his first real role, following the very bad television show “21 Jump Street”. I don’t remember much about it now other than that it took me forever to see any movie that had Johnny Depp in it after seeing a few shows of “Jump Street”. I think it took “Gilbert Grape” to finally cure me of my Depp-phobia.

Winona Ryder rejoined director Tim Burton (and his pal Danny Elfman) who she worked with two years previously in “Beetlejuice”. They used a similar font for the title, also.

Vincent Price had a small but very important part as Edward’s creator, and he was wonderful. Tim Burton’s first short was about a kid who idolized Vincent Price.

Alan Arkin and Dianne Wiest are very good as the parents. Alan Arkin especially plays the unconcerned but lovable father perfectly. And Dianne Wiest adds humanity and warmth to the Avon Lady caricature.

The story is a nice little fairytale superficially about the coming of snow to a small suburb of nowhere. Peg (Dianne Wiest) is looking for new clients for her Avon products and discovers “Edward” all alone in the castle on the hill at the edge of town. (Every suburb has a castle on the hill at the place where the sidewalk ends, doesn’t it?) He has been having trouble taking care of himself, seeing as his hands are scissors. Seems the kind inventor never got around to giving Edward real hands before “never waking up”. So Peg takes him home and introduces him to the “real world”.

It is ultimately both a funny and touching film, which I will definitely watch multiple times. It was meant to be a fairy tale in the modern world, and it does a pretty good job of it. The framing sequence doesn’t quite hold up, but the idealized suburbia is right on target.

There are a number of extras on the disk, although none of them on their own are “killer” extras, they do add up. Tim Burton’s commentary is interesting where it exists, but is fairly sparse. Mostly he talks about the influence of suburbia on the movie, and a little about the influence of dogs on the movie. Danny Elfman’s commentary is a bit more interesting. They took out all of the vocals, and left the music, and Elfman talks around it about why he made his choices, what goes into making a soundtrack (for him, at least), and his interaction with Burton. It’s nice to hear Elfman’s score on its own. Very eerie. Here’s a trick: part of the score plays over the menu. Leave the menu on and then read an eerie comic such as Moore & Campbell’s “From Hell”. Then try to get some sleep…

The “Featurette” and the “Interviews” actually overlap fairly heavily, and are mostly everyone saying how wonderful it is to work with everyone else.

The “sketches”, or “concept art” consists of six drawings of Edward and the Inventor. The trailers are pretty cool: not only do they have the movie trailers and one television advertisement, they also include two Spanish trailers! It was interesting to see an American movie advertised in another language.

Whether or not you want to buy this disk depends solely on how often you want to watch the movie all the way through. It’s a decent disk of a very good movie.

Recommendation: Possible Purchase

DirectorTim Burton
ActorsWinona Ryder, Johnny Depp, Vincent Price
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish
Special FeaturesCommentary Track, Featurette, Interviews, Sketches, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed Edward Scissorhands…

If you enjoy goth, you might also be interested in Amadeus and Beetlejuice.

If you enjoy Johnny Depp, you might also be interested in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

If you enjoy Tim Burton, you might also be interested in Beetlejuice.

If you enjoy Winona Ryder, you might also be interested in Beetlejuice.