If it's crap ... We'll tell you
From the mind of Tim Burton, another gem comes. This time it's much more personal and much less a comedy. The idea is truly original, nobody can really argue with that, but I don't feel like the execution is very well taken care of, nor am I sure that I was necessary at all.
Edward (Johnny Depp) has lived alone in a mansion on a hill for who knows how long when a woman named Peg (Dianne Wiest) comes along and decides to integrate him into society. The problem is that he is a machine of sorts with scissors for hands, making it far more difficult for him to blend in than it could be.
I really love the idea of a person with such great limitations to his life like Edward. I especially love the characterization, that he can't physically feel with his hands but he has always been able to feel with his heart. Edward is timid, not knowing the world he has been brought into. He doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong, and society doesn't know whether he's gentle or a menace. It's all a very nice idea for a "real-world" fairy tale, but the execution falls flat on a number of levels.
First of all, being a fairy tale, it takes great amounts of artistic levity. But being set in the real world, it causes a lot of confusion. For instance, throughout the film Edward designs topiary, hairstyles and in the third act develops a love for ice sculptures. They're nice and all, but I'm sorry, I can't get past the question: Where the heck is he getting these giant blocks of ice? Then the fact that he's a machine is confusing, because he doesn't age, but he has human parts as far as we can tell, so don't those need replacing? Doe he have coolers full of extra hearts and he just transplants them himself? I really hate to be asking these sorts of questions but the world laid out in the film is too much like our own to not think about these things.
Second, there aren't really any interesting characters in the movie. Edward's concept is very interesting but the character himself is just kind of there. It's kind of fun to watch him getting used to the world but his lack of outward emotion makes him dull. And speaking of lacking outward emotion, Winona Ryder, who plays Edward's love interest Kim in the film, gives an awful performance with absolutely no emotion whatsoever. It sounds like she's reading directly from the script and doesn't care at all about the film itself. Everybody else seems to be having a good time but Ryder looks like she's annoyed to even be on set sometimes. It's really distracting because it breaks any sort of romance between her and Edward. Luckily the mere concept of Edward is able to mull around in your mind enough to save that aspect of the film from pretty much ruining the whole thing in the end.
The movie has its funny moments, although I would not call it a comedy by a long-shot. It has some beautiful cinematography, the score is absolutely beautiful and the designs of everything are whimsical and fun to watch. I just wish I could have been more invested in the story than I was.