Sunday, July 15, 2012

Edward Scissorhands

Bibliographic Information: Di Novi, D.  [Producer], & Burton, T.  [Director]. (1990). Edward scissorhands [Motion Picture].  USA: Twentieth Century Fox Film.

Plot Summary: Finding herself in need of new clientele, Peg, the local Avon lady, ventures up a deserted area of the neighborhood in search of new customers. What Peg finds instead of customers amongst the dark ruins, is a timid, quiet, and somewhat strange young man named Edward. Edward, a product of his beloved master, has never been around people and has been alone since his master's untimely death. Before Edward knows what is happening he has been plied with layers of women's makeup foundation and is given an invitation to move in with Peg and her family.

Soon after going with Peg and her family,  Edward finds himself the object of interest and excitement in Peg's neighborhood. Peg's family is unsure of what to make of Edward but accepts him nonetheless. Edward, though extremely shy, quickly finds himself entranced by Peg's daughter, Kim. Not thrilled by the new guest, Kim's jealous boyfriend devises a way to get rid of Edward.

Through a series of unfortunate and misunderstood events, Edward becomes the center of the town's rage and disgust. As emotions rise, it becomes obvious that things must change or Edward will pay the ultimate price.

Critical Evaluation: Edwards hands play a very important role throughout the movie. Edwards hands, or lack of hands, are what divide him from the people of the neighborhood. His hands, or scissors, become the symbol of his inability to fully transition into being a simple human being. The scissors that he has literally cut him off from the things he wants most, from the tender love he craves so much from Peg and Kim, and that he once had from his maker. This divide makes it clear that Edward could never just be one of the neighborhood people, no matter how hard he may try. Although at one point Edward's scissors allow him to become a useful part of society by cutting hair and lawn bushes, the people of the town still fear him and the possible threat that his scissors may pose. Edward is never seen as more than a tool or a weapon, meaning that his quiet, sensitive soul is always overlooked. It isn't until Kim realizes what a gentle soul Edward is, that Edward is finally seen for who he really is. This moment does not last long when Edward accidentally cuts Kim's hand further escalating the divide between him and the people of the town. The incident with Kim's hand getting cut is only further intensified when Edward tries saving her younger brother, Kevin, and ends up cutting up his face. These events become a significant tipping point in the way in which Edward is viewed by those around him, even by Peg and her family. Edward immediately transforms from misguided, quiet young man to monster. Ultimately, Edward knows that without the hands that were promised to him by his master that he will never be more than a feared monster.

Edward Scissorhands trailer

Reader’s Annotation:
Made with tender love but left uncompleted, Edward Scissorhands is cast into the world unexpectedly only to find that the world below is darker than any corner of his empty haven.
Information About the Director: Born August 25, 1958 in Burbank, CA, Timothy William Burton  (Tim Burton) started off as a quiet outsider slowly developing his talent for art (Burton: Bio, 2012). Burton went on to enroll in California Institute of the Arts, a Disney school geared towards developing animators, and began his career as an animator (Burton: Bio, 2012). Burton was also a huge fan of Vincent Price, a fact that has greatly influenced him throughout his career (Burton: Bio, 2012). Burton then went on to start a career as an animator for Disney, working on Fox and the Hound Burton: Bio, 2012). Finding that he did not enjoy the repetitious nature of being an animator, Burton was sound moved up to the position of conceptual artist (Burton: Bio, 2012). Burton soon made a series of short films that were never released due to being marked "innapropriate for children" (Burton: Bio, 2012). One of these films came to the attention of Pee-wee who then asked Burton to direct his movie which was later Pee-wee's Big Adventure (Burton: Bio, 2012). Through a series of connection and referrals, Burton then received the idea of Beetlejuice (1988) three years later. The success of Beettlejuice then led to several other high profile and lucrative movies.

A look at Burton's films:  Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010),
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) (Burton: Movies, 2012).

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Curriculum Ties: Can tie into a discussion on American suburban culture and standards.

Booktalking Ideas:

1). What did the hands mean to Edward?
2). How does the snow represent the love Edward had for the daughter, Kim?

Reading Level/Interest Age: PG-13, suitable for teens over 13 years of age.  

Challenge Issues: Does include topics on crime, teen partying, and violence. I would use the following items to defend this movie if it was challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this movie in the titles you selected?:
This fantasy/science fiction movie expresses the complexity of high school love and the teens that experience it. Interlaced with fantasy, this classic portrays the reality of love's difficulties and the unsettling truth that sometimes love is not enough.

Reference Page:

Burton, T.  (2012).  Bio.  Retrieved July 15, 2012 from

Burton, T.  (2012).  Movies.  Retrieved July 15, 2012 from

Twentieth Century Fox Film. (1990).  Edward scissorhands movie poster. Retrieved July 15, 2012 from

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.