Tim Burton’s excellent visuals of not only the title character and where we meet him in the mansion on the hill, but the look of the town in which Edward (Johnny Depp) and the locals live is something to be marvelled. The mansion of course being the dark gothic type, we find the houses brilliantly coloured, but with that said, they have very mundane look which could be any place in America. There is nothing unusual once we get inside these people’s homes; they are very much the types of homes we’d see from everyday people.
Edward being an unusual character, somebody who did not choose his life but was created by an inventor who was unable to finish what he’d started. Which leads to what some would think of as… visually, possibly a monster, but he is actually an innocent who knows nothing of the bigger world outside the mansion he grew up in. The world being something which is a frightening place, one which he tries to figure out in his childlike manner, finding out that not everybody is the kind and gentle type and some people are unable see beyond his unusual look.
Tim Burton created a world in which we feel a range of thoughts and emotions of those people we come upon, from Edward who we sympathise with, Peg (Dianne Wiest) who is the kind mother who can’t help but want to look after Edward, Kim (Winona Ryder) who is the teen who has more to say for herself than those she hangs around with, even if she could stand up for herself a little more than she does when we first meet her, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) who seems to be only interested in getting his own way, which involves controlling those around him to the point of being threatened by Edward.
This really is among the great films of Tim Burton’s early work, of a character who is out of place in the world, a world which seems to have lost its way and needs showing how to get back on track and look beyond itself.
This is a great blend of visual, characters and emotion, it does not depend on one over the others, and that is why we connect with the film, we find ourselves looking at how people physically look and what lies beneath, why they behave the way they do and the morals of the main characters. While we also look at those who are barely on screen; no character is too small to appreciate. If you presume there is nothing to be seen, thought about, felt about the story, characters or the world of this film, you will be pleasantly surprised with all this has to offer.