Edward Scissorhands Review

Edward Scissorhands is a film that’s actually quite a bit different from my mental image of how the film would play out to be honest. I wasn’t expecting a horror per say but I was expecting something very dreary the whole time with a lot of dark lighting and jump scares. Okay….so I guess kind of a horror. Instead the film is like an odd slice of life taking place in a happy town. It’s maybe more of a surreal comedy. Either way I thought it had some good ideas but ultimately I wouldn’t say it was particularly good.

The film starts off by introducing us to Peg…actually it starts off by revealing that this is all a flashback first. That’s still one of the absolute worst story telling devices if you ask me. For one thing it guarantees that the person survives. That’s more of an issue with action titles compared to one like this but it can still be annoying. Additionally you’re always more engaged with the present than the past so automatically it makes you want to jump back to the present again instead of being stuck in the flashback. No matter how you slice it that just makes this a very questionable decision.

Back to the story though. Peg is a saleswoman so she goes around trying to sell products but everyone knows her already and nobody wants to buy anything. That’s when she heads to the creepy mansion…for the first time I guess? It seems like Edward has been here for a while so I guess she just chose not to go to the castle but she doesn’t seem scared or anything. Maybe the film mentioned she had moved in recently or something…but this actually makes less sense the more I think about it. Hmmmm……well she goes in there and meets Edward who as the title suggests has scissors for hands. She invites him to live with her since that seems tricky. The town like him at first but gradually you realize this will not stand because humanity is always really tough on any superhero/monster/creature in these kinds of things. No way it stays peaceful for long.

Right away I can tell you that my main issue with the film is really just that Edward constantly scarring and cutting himself always feels rather painful. It’s hard to look at the guy directly with all of the scars that he has. You just want to turn away and as he is a main character that’s not exactly an option here now is it? The movie does a good job of showing just how hard it would be to live like this though. Every single action you take now has to be thought about very carefully because a slight slip of the hand could cause serious injury. In an instant your very life can be changed and it’s not like he can take them off either.

In general Edward is also not a character who is used to the ways of the world and so he can come off as a bit naïve and new to everything at first. He has to be taught everything as if he was a kid and that’s usually not my favorite character type. If he was a little more sharp it would be more difficult for the characters to put him in tricky situations or gain the upper hand. There is a pretty solid twist involving his character though which was good. I thought that it landed rather well and if they ever want to do a sequel to this film it would certainly make things really easy. I would like him to have learned from this experience though and be a little more knowledgeable in general.

There’s one neighbor here who is desperate to get together with Edward but in general she seems to be desperate for anyone. Her very first scene is about trying to seduce the pipe guy but fortunately he stays strong…is how I interpret the scene tbh. We don’t see the climax of this. The scene of her trying to get Edward is certainly a bit painful particularly since it’s not like he even understands the concept of romance yet. In general all of the romance in this film is particularly weak for that reason. I don’t see how you can build a proper relationship when one of the characters doesn’t really know what is going on beyond the most basic part of the concept.

I do like the set designs though. The town looks fantastic with how colorful it is. Everything really stands out and it’s a perfect contrast to the dark castle which is as ominous as ever. Tim Burton is definitely good at maximizing the visuals or anything that he does. In a way he probably did too well on the parts that are hard to look at like the scars and all but otherwise he should still get full props on the town.

The main character in a way is Kim as she grows to know Edward and like him but I wouldn’t say that she was great. She’s another character who falls to peer pressure and allows her boyfriend to trick Edward and get him into trouble. She doesn’t realize the full scope of the plan at first but she still did know that she was helping to commit a crime and was getting Edward into trouble when he didn’t know any better. She took advantage of the fact that he would help her do anything and that wasn’t a good look.

Meanwhile Peg did well in bringing Edward into her home and doing her best to help him out. She worked hard on learning how to apply make-up to hide his scars and treated him normally from the start. If the rest of the town was like her then things would have gone well. Her husband Bill was also good and very nonchalant about the whole thing. Nothing could ever phase him and that’s what I liked about the guy. It would be very easy to panic at what’s going on but he just takes it all in stride.

I liked how in general all of the characters acted like this was actually a bit of a normal thing. It’s a really great break from the usual panic and all of that about how they’re in danger. Just see this as a positive and keep it moving. The movie has a lot of fun light hearted scenes as well like with Edward giving everyone and their pets a haircut. He is really great with those scissors and you would expect him to be since he has been using them his whole life. You still get a little anxious whenever he’s cutting the dog’s fur at such high speeds though. I feel like even if I knew he was an expert I wouldn’t be able to let him give my dog a haircut because I’d just be stressed out. Like the 1 in a million chance of something going wrong would happen to me.

Overall, Edward Scissorhands is a very unique film. I think it deserves a lot of credit for going in a different direction than you would expect. It is fun and also fairly ambitious. At the same time it’s not really for me. The scars just make it too hard to watch Edward in any of his scenes and I also thought the ending was a bit of a downer. It’s not a satisfying way to close things out with some characters looking awful and ultimately nobody stepping up. In a way no character looks good by the end and they all should take a massive part in the blame. Given that this is all a flashback we can assume that nothing changed in the present either which is really terrible when you think about it. Perhaps a sequel could lightly retcon some of that if it takes place a year or two later or something like that.

Overall 4/10

Corpse Bride Review

Corpse Bride reminds you that you gotta be careful when stating your wedding vows. Someone may get the wrong idea if they’re in the area. It’s a pretty interesting story since the main character isn’t brave enough to fight back so he gets himself in a lot of trouble. The film does tend to get a little grotesque with its visual humor though, particularly when in the land of the dead. It’s why despite how the heroine may be a nice person, it’s hard to see this working out for the guy. The whole eye popping out all the time would definitely make you shudder.

The movie starts with Victor preparing for his arranged marriage with Victoria. He’s pretty nervous about the whole thing. After all, the two characters have never even met before which makes things pretty difficult. Still, he is excited to meet her so he preps for this. He ends up being unable to talk much when he sees her and then messes everything up at the wedding rehearsal. Ashamed, Victor heads to the forest and put the wedding ring on a tree finger as he recites the vows. It turns out he said this to the corpse known as Emily who gladly accepts. He is now stuck with her in a wedding pact in the underworld. Victor needs to find a way back to the land of the living so that he can finally be with Victoria. To do that he’s going to need to trick Emily but should be really be doing something so underhanded?

From the start you can tell that most of the characters here are not meant to be all that sympathetic. Victor’s parents are usually taking shots the whole time. The mother in particular really just wants Victor to get married already so they can have some dignity. Meanwhile Victoria’s parents are completely out of money and they’re hoping that this will get them a nice pay day. The irony here is that as elites you figure that they would have a lot of cash at the ready. Both families are really using the kids as tools.

Fortunately it does work out that Victor and Victoria do like each other but at the same time it makes it easier for you to possibly root for the dead girl. After all you can only connect so much after a few minutes right? The cast is fairly small to be honest as the only other big character would be the villain Barkis. I can’t say that Barkis was very good though. I liked his initial appearance as he showed up to complicate things and mess with everyone. I can always respect that and he has a lot of confidence but his plan was basically to marry Victoria so that’s no good. We also learn about his past near the end which seals the deal as his not being a very good guy. Of course you would expect that from a villain bus his goals seem to petty and it also seems like he’s just not good at managing money. That’s a bad combination.

What holds the movie back to an extent is that the imagery can be pretty gross the whole time. Burton’s definitely no stranger to rather odd visuals that’s for sure. He likes having the goth motif and it can work reasonably well although I’ll take traditional any time. Whenever we’re in the underworld you can expect people’s eyes to be falling out, worms everywhere, and stuff like that. It’s definitely not the most pleasant backdrop and does limit the film a bit. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also hard to root for Emily as a result. Now the film does play the sympathy card for her quite a bit and to a degree you may feel bad for her. Her real life didn’t work out so well and so this was her chance to really make a comeback. In the present the whole misunderstanding is really on her though.

Is Emily trying to say that she only heard the vows and nothing before it? Additionally with context clues she should have been able to figure something out. Now it’s part of the main plot of course but Victor tries to tell Emily this was a mistake the whole time. The afterlife has not been great for her either as Emily just looks dead. This isn’t the kind of movie where the dead person still looks pristine. Even though Victor was willing to make this work it’s just hard to see this working out well.

Victoria’s a nice enough character although I wouldn’t say there is much to her. She definitely does her best to make sure everything turns out well though so I’ll give her some props there. The scene of her trying to ask the priest the tough questions was one of the funniest moments of the film. It was handled very well for sure. Then we’ve got Victor and I’m not a fan of that guy. He’s way too nervous and just goes along with what he’s told to do. The guy doesn’t have a whole lot of agency to himself. He’s really responsible for all of the messes he gets himself into. If he was just a little bolder and more outspoken then he wouldn’t have fared so poorly. Try this on for size, if Emily hadn’t made the call for him at the end then Victor would have just gone through with the whole thing. If anything you have to doubt his devotion to either heroine since he was clearly willing to go with either one or the other.

Overall, Corpse Bride is a pretty unique film. It’s definitely rare to see more of a Halloween romance film. The story’s not bad and there are some fun moments to be had for sure. The scene of the dead people going into the church while staying quiet was really nice since they still had respect was great. It was also nice to see everyone just hanging out and having a good time at the end. Zombies aren’t as scary when they’re actually good people and still have free will. The whole gross aspect of the dead side holds the film down to an extent though. It puts the film squarely in the green, it’s not a film I’d ever plan to rewatch but it’s not bad either. It doesn’t ever make any huge error that would make me turn it down. You can’t help but feel like it could have been a whole lot better though. If you want to see a film with this kind of atmosphere then I’d recommend watching Coraline sooner but you’ll have a good time here.

Overall 6/10

Planet of the Apes (2001) Review

Well, looks like it’s time to check out another one of the Ape films. I can’t say that I went in with high hopes after the first batch, but this is a reboot. With new directors comes new opportunities right? This one was a solid improvement over the last few as it managed to work on most of my big problems with it. That being said, it’s guaranteed to make you sleepy once you start watching it.

Captain Leo is at his space station when the commander decides to send a chimp into space. Leo protests this, but the commander won’t listen. The chimp doesn’t know how to use the controls so it slowly starts to fade away into the silence of space. Leo won’t allow that to happen so he hops into a pod and chases the little guy. Both of them fall into a portal, which leads to the far future. Apes have enslaved humanity and they now rule the world. Can Leo lead the resistance away from the apes or are they all going to die?

The plot is fairly similar to the first film, but with some improvements. For starters, Captain Leo is actually a likable character. He went after his monkey, which was the hero move and he was pretty cool about it. Unfortunately, he quickly starts to lose his edge once he is stranded on the foreign planet. Good things can’t last forever I suppose. He does stay defiant all the way through to the end though. He may not have been quite as tough as he was in the opening, but he is dealing with meta powerful apes so he has to be careful about how he operates. I dare the new films to think up a more likable character! I rarely mention actors, but it’s safe to say that the actor did a good job here.

Now, the main thing that you are likely wondering about is the animal violence right? After all, that’s what utterly destroyed all of the other Ape films. Well, you’ll be happy to know that it was significantly reduced from the other films. I dare say that this one has the least amount of it although I remember one of the old films being decent about it. Perhaps my memory has started to fade a little sooner than usual. It’s not completely eliminated though and you’ll also feel bad for the horses that are caught up in these petty wars. It’s a negative that is still around, but considering that this is a film about apes, Burton managed to take away as much of the animal violence as he could.

One part of the plot that felt a little like a plot hole were the cave dwellers. In the first few scenes, it seemed like the humans could not talk. They may not want the apes to know that they can talk, but there’s no way that they couldn’t utter a “Huwahhhhhh” or “Gwagggg” as they were being taken away. At least a “Help” at one point would have sufficed. No, they seemed to be totally mindless until they randomly started talking towards the end of the film. I’ll assume that this part simply wasn’t thought about very much as the writers just wanted to go through the plot already.

The ending is pretty epic. I love the concept although it could have been made even better. The film ending with Leo arriving on Earth where Birds have taken over the planet or something like that would have been cooler. As it stands, my take on the ending is that he’s in a parallel world. I don’t think he can be on the same Earth that he was in before because he is back in the past and yet things have not really changed. There’s no way that the past could have been altered from the future and the humans would have not lost so quickly and suddenly. It’s too bad that this didn’t get a sequel to surpass all my hopes and expectations…….or maybe it wasn’t.

One of the main problems from this film is that it will make you incredibly sleepy. As you’re watching the characters drone on and on about things that don’t ultimately matter, you will feel your eyes start to get a little heavy. As you try to keep yourself awake, you’ll slowly start to sink into the pillow that you have on the arm rest of your chair. Slowly, but surely, you will eventually fall asleep and only wake up as the film is ending. Such is the fate of all who eventually watch this film…in theory. It’s simply not very exciting at all and that really hurts how much you can actually enjoy it.

Also, you simply can’t save a bad concept no matter how good the execution is. Attack on Titan is an incredibly good example of this and I always love to use it. The anime played everything just about perfectly, but it still had to adapt the manga and that was the problem. No matter how likable they make Leo or how much they try to get rid of the animal violence, you simply can’t fix the film when it’s using this plot. There will always be some animal violence as long as the apes are the villains. There will always be the human enslavement plot that is not fun to watch because it’s part of the plot as well. That’s why the plot has always been known as a very important part to the film because it can destroy a film just as easily as it can make the title really cool.

Well, we’re getting a lot closer to the latest Apes film continuity, which is supposed to be the best yet. I have my doubts as the trailers did not look very good, but I suppose that you never know when a film will end up surprising you right? I’ll likely be seeing them soon or at some point in the future and then you can count on a review. We’ll see if it ends up topping this one or fading away.

Overall, Planet of The Apes really gave its all into making this film a success, but it simply didn’t work for me. I appreciate the effort though and the animal violence is noticeably reduced, but it’s simply not enough. Leo also had a great start as the main character and then he started to become more generic and less impressive. None of the apes are likable or interesting. You’ll really think that you’ve seen them before because they are all essentially cardboard cutouts of the original apes from the older films. We have the nice scientist/royalty member who wants to live in harmony with humans and her scared husband who is afraid for his life. Then there’s the main villain who wants to take control of the clan. Seriously, you’ve seen this all before so nothing is new on their side. There’s only so much that you can do with this plot after a while. If you want to see a film about creatures deciding to defeat humanity, I recommend watching Future Card Buddyfight 100. The monsters decide to take things into their own hands this time!

Overall 4/10