"I remember growing up and feeling there is not a lot of room for acceptance. You are taught at a very early age to conform to certain things. It is a situation that is very prevalent and starts from day one at school: this person's smart, this person's not smart, this persons good at sport, this ones not, this person's weird, this ones normal. From day one you are categorized. " This is the vital and strongest impulse that Tim Burton used to create, "Edward Scissorhands. "
"Edward Scissorhands," is a story about a character who wants to touch, but can not a character that is creative but destructive. Edward Scissorhands," was produced, directed and written in 1990 by Tim Burton, and marked the point in his career where he had earned the influence to be able to make the projects he wanted. On its...
release, however, "Edward Scissorhands" was an instant box office smash hit everywhere, much to joy of Tim Burton and to the surprise of Warner Brothers. The promotional angle, so to speak, was the technique of contrast, the contrast between good and evil, the creative and destructive. This contrast is strongly apparent on the VHS cover.
The consumer is presented with an image of Edward's "scissorhands," with a beautiful butterfly perched upon them. The "scissorhands" are black and associated with evil, in opposition to the butterfly which is associated with all that is good, right and wonderful in the world. The consumer is automatically given the settings, themes and potential atmosphere of the play simple by looking at the cover. As always there is a vast cast of actors but the actors, wort
noticing in "Edward Scissorhands," are Johnny Depp and Wynona Rider. It has to be said; throughout the play they held their roles immaculately.
The fairy tale genre is represented by the significant contrast between good and evil, which is so often associated with fairy tales. And, as always, the good side comes out victorious, in one way or another. In addition to this, throughout the film, Tim Burton, uses other techniques and themes connected to the fairy tale genre. For example, Tim Burton portrays the small girl to be in a big bed, this shows exaggeration which is, incidentally, strongly linked with the fairy tale genre and more obscuringly "Little Red Riding Hood. "
Peter Pan-the hero who never grows old-has grown up! And he's forgotten how to fly! " Hook is an update of the magically mystical story of "Peter Pan" from the original stage play and books of James M. Barrie. Imagine if you please, the heroic Peter Pan has returned to Never Land, to rescue his lost children, easy you say except there is a minor problem, he does not believe anymore. "Hook" was produced by Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, but directed by the notorious and arguably the most creative figure to emerge from Hollywood in the 1970s, Steven Spielberg.
Hook," was Steven Spielberg's long-awaited return to fantasy material. Like "Edward Scissorhands," an instant box office smash hit. "Hook" did not really have a promotional technique, and it did not exactly need one either. A 'sequel' to the legendary "Peter Pan" and directed by the amazing Steven Spielberg, it was a hit before it appeared on the big screen. The VHS cover is filled
with a picture of the characters associated with "Peter Pan": Smee, Tinkerbell, the pirates, Captain James Hook and, of course, Peter Pan himself, the reason for many an hour spent in front of the television.
It could, possibly, be described as the 'bright lights theory,' so to speak, cloud the consumer with all the characters and actors the film has got and not what it has not got. The names worth noting from the huge cast are the award winning, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman and the not so famous, but British at least, Bob Hoskins. The fairytale genre is carried by the sheer fantasy adventure linked with "Peter Pan. " What child, or adult for that matter, has never dreamt that they could fly? The exhilaration, that for 135 minutes, a dream becomes some what of a reality.
You are in the TV flying alongside them, fighting Hook alongside Peter Pan, in battle with the lost boys. Let's face it, a fairytale is a story about something out of the ordinary; something that if seen in "real life" would so unbelievable you would pinch yourself for a week. And, of course, it does actually have fairies in it! The opening credits of a film are, arguably, the most significant factor of the film itself. It sets the scene, atmosphere and mood, whilst introducing the main themes of the film ahead. Attributes as small as the typography and music can have a great effect on the audience.
The first thing noticed by the audience upon the opening of the film is the darkness, the intense cocktail of gloom and cold. How everything seems so lifeless. The film
opens on high angle shot facing the roof of a dark room before panning down to a door, which is magically opened and the camera tracks through. At this point the audience is getting increasingly interested in the film ahead but wary at the same time, of what may happen. The typography now and all the way through the opening credits, incidentally, is very jagged but tall and thin; scissor like.
The audience is presented to a contrast of white on black, a bright white on a dark blackness; perhaps to create that ghostly, gothic effect and plant that thought of mystery in the audiences mind. The audience is presented with a ghostly, spooky but somehow childlike, non-diagetic, tune which greatly resembles a child's jewellery box and sets a mysterious atmosphere for the audience. However, in opening the door this tune is changed to include some ghastly howls to continue the strong feeling of mystery with a powerful vengeance.
Whilst the sound changes the images do not, the contrast of white on black are still prevailing as the audience is portrayed the very title of the film, "Edward Scissorhands. " Tim Burton uses the door opening to imply the beginning of a journey and this is the feeling the audience gets when viewing the opening credits. As the audience is taken on their journey, many images of horror are revealed from: machines that resemble faces, chilling statues, images of scissors and lifeless human faces. The audience would now be feeling much anxiety as to what might be about to happen.
At the end of the opening credits the audience is left with Tim Burton's image of the mansion
in mid winter, with snow falling heavily and leaving that Christmas image imprinted on the minds of the audience. Overall, all aspects added, the audience is shown what looks to be a child's snow globe, to add that last feeling of fairytale. The first thing noticed in the opening credits of "Hook" is how simply basic it all is. The film opens a simple, and nothing short of ordinary, black background. The typography can only be described as 'pirate's writing,' small but thinly tall, the font often found on a treasure map.
For the last and imprinting image of the credits the film title is portrayed to the audience. Again the audience is conveyed the pirate typography but this time with a twist or more appropriately a 'hook'. The 'H' of Hook possesses, quite simply, a hook on the top of the left spike. As well as this the 'H' is also, now, coloured red. It is now that we must remember that the target audience for this film is very young indeed; we can now understand that this red coloured 'H' is a subtle attempt to provoke thoughts of foreboding danger from the audience, which the character, Hook, may present.
There is no music for the opening credits, again possibly to keep the credits as basic as possible, so as not to confuse the audience. Again, we must remember the considerably young target audience. It is important not to confuse the audience, as an audience in confusion is an audience not understanding, and an audience not understanding is an audience asking questions. In providing basic opening credits no one is getting confused unnecessarily before the film
has even started. This means that the audience will be paying attention for a longer time during the film.
Steven Spielberg uses the uncomplicated eye level angle during the credits along side the mid shot of the text. The opening is marked with the introduction of colour; an array of green and brown are displayed where black once was. But noticeable, however, is a small, single light of a mansion window. This is symbolic of the Edward's isolation from the outside world and gives the audience an early feeling of sympathy towards the outcast and sets the mood perhaps for the film. The camera then zooms out to reveal a new contrast-a contrast of warmth and cold and the image of an old woman, supposedly played by the award winning Wynona Ryder.
The warmth of the open fire crackling in the background and the wash of orange and red as opposed to the raw black and cold snow outside. Tim Burton is displaying that to every bad side there is a good side in the little girl so young, so innocent and the immense warmth inside the room. The audience is now a lot calmer and settling in to the storyline as the old lady is telling a story to her granddaughter about how snow came to exist. When beginning the story, the old lady pronounces, "A long time ago... " this is so stereotypical of fairytales and easily ties in with the genre.
Traditionally, stories begin with, "Once upon a time," or "A long time ago. " It is now that the audience is given their first taste of diagetic sound. Equally, the audience is given its
third example of the fairytale genre, in the little girl in the huge bed. This is reminiscent of exaggeration often related to fairytales, how the girl is practically lost inside the covers and that there is no less than eight pillows of which she uses one. This ties in with the stereotypical princess. Tim Burton uses the backshot of the old lady to great effect in the opening.
It allows him to show both characters on screen and her importance. As the she gets to the heart of explaining her story the camera pans left and tracks over her shoulder to leave as it came in, through the window and diagetic so easily becomes non-diagetic. The camera then proceeds to track over the town at a high angle, as if flying above the below, until eventually it reaches the mansion. It is now that we get our first glimpse of Edward Scissorhands himself but Tim Burton's choice of camera shot means that the audience does not know if he is a "goodie" or a "badie" so to speak.
In doing this Tim Burton has kept that element of mystery that he had throughout the opening credits. The music in the opening is a change from that of the opening credits also, it is calmer and inspirational, and that stereotypical story telling music that is so often associated with fairytales and the genre itself. It typically suits the new atmosphere of the film with the old lady and the little girl. The film then goes from the heart of the story to the heart of the girl's imagination, this is marked with a range of bright colours: from
pink and blue to bright green and yellow. Tim Burton uses mid shots of houses to express this.
Tim Burton uses music to its greatest effect in this scene when properly introducing the mansion to the audience. Burton uses an extreme close up to convey how Peg twists the mirror to view the mansion. On the appearance of the mansion a small but significant blunt tune is presented that evokes interest and curiosity from not just the audience but Peg as well. The audience then witnesses a very effective long shot of the mansion. This shot is very effective as it beautifully shows the contrast between the bright coloured town and the dark, dully coloured mansion again conveying that contrast of good versus evil.
This strongly implies that whoever or whatever lives in the mansion is an outcast, alienated from the rest of the town and ignored as a whole. Tim Burton displays a lot of shots which suggest that someone or something is watching Peg as she approaches, enters and wonders around in the garden grounds. This mainly consists of shots from a high angle and shot from behind the lost character. It is these very shots that lock that that feeling of worry within the minds of the audience, makes them just want to scream; "Don't do it! " and to stop her from going anywhere near the horrid house.
The music begins as Peg rather gingerly enters the ground in the innocently coloured pink dress. The music includes the ghostly howls typical of a church choir. Inside the garden the mood and atmosphere changes very slightly, Tim Burton is still giving out those shots that
imply the Peg is being watched but there is a change in music and the bright colours are re-invented. The music is now a strong leap from the music of before, it is now brighter, happier, softer and overall less scary. Tim Burton uses the low and high angle to amazing results.
He displays: a low angle shot of the mansion and coincidently portrays its bold and significant importance and a high angle shot of Peg wandering aimlessly around the garden. This particular angle shows Peg's vulnerability in addition to that felling of worry connected to the 'spying. ' This whole scene fits in with the fairy tale genre because it is strongly reminiscent "Beauty and the Beast" as the 'beauty' is looking for her father and stumbles across the great castle, except this scenario is more realistic as it is an "Avon lady".
This is what Tim Burton was putting across by using all the camera technique; the shots and angles along side the music. The fairy tale genre is then conveyed through the stereotypical door creak as, finally, Peg enters the house. The music now takes a radical change form the comfortable happy and bright tune of the previous, now the audience can hear a deadly cocktail of howls. To the audience this can easily be mistaken for cries of worry as they sound more like yelps of, "Noooo," calling Peg back from going any further.
The music then quickens and increases in suspense tension and inevitability. The inevitability that something is going to happen, this strangely is not reminiscent of a dairy tale but of a horror film. Peg then proceeds to ascend the stairs
after sighting the movement of a shadow which incidentally provokes fear from the audience. There is a strong contrast in the mansion of light, on the outside, and dark, on the inside. This again implying that contrast of good versus evil and portrays isolation and alienation from the rest of the world. Tim Burton uses the tracking shot to follow Peg.
In doing this he is choosing the feelings of the audience, he is forcing the audience to feel scared for Peg. As well as this, Tim Burton is showing her vulnerability, just as Bell was in "Beauty and the Beast," exploring an unknown place. Peg continues, regrettably, up the stairs but to good result as she reveals to the audience a 'wall of disabilities'. This wall captures immense mystery since as yet we have not yet seen Edward. It is clear that in having this wall, Tim Burton is conveying Edward's loneliness and his need to know that there is other people in the world with the same problem as him.
This 'display' helps him seek comfort and reassurance. And now for the true fairy tale, the climax to which the previous two scenes have been working up to, the meeting of this illustrious creature. The music is very intense, building suspense and conveys that there is no going back for Peg. The camera then zooms in to reveal Edward, the music getting louder and out from the shadow comes this creature. In Tim Burton directing Edward to appear out of the shadows implies to the audience that Edward is a "baddy" and that he is in human and someone to be feared.
This too is reminiscent
of "Beauty and the Beast" as Bell finds Beast huddled in a shadowed corner. When Edward Scissorhands comes into the light, it suggests that he is not dangerous and not a harming creature and, as the lighting/music changes, so does the opinions. Edward is taken home and Peg successfully completes her rescue. This is very typical of the fairy tale Rapunzel, where the princess is rescued from her castle, except a different scenario, she is saving him from the castle. What will become of this relationship...?
In the opening of "Hook" the shot then fades into close ups of children's, intrigued, faces, this also portrays their fascination. For the audience the image of children, just like them, provokes interest towards the film. The sound for the opening begins in the very ending of the credits as the credits fade in. The overall sound mainly consists of a childlike tune, often found in a music box. This technique, you may remember, was also used in the opening of the credits for "Edward Scissorhands.
The 'music box' tune creates a calm atmosphere for the audience and mixed with the images of the children's faces gently settles the audience into the film and creates more interest. The music then slowly fades away into the sound of the play itself. Whilst hearing 'images' of the play, the sound is constantly switching between diegetic and non-diagetic as the shots alternate between the play and the audience. This allows the audience to view the two very different sides and emotions of the play. The content emotions of the audience, and the nervous but exited feelings of the actors on the stage.
As I stated
earlier, the audience is shown images of the play's audience, in doing this Steven Spielberg is conveying images of family values and capturing the family atmosphere that seems to journey from the film into your front living rooms at home. After all nothing says "family" better than the Christmas play. However, it just so happens that the Christmas play has nothing to do with Christmas at all, but it does introduce the story of "Peter Pan" to the audience, just in case you had forgotten.
After more eye level close ups of children enjoying themselves, the audience is hit with the shattering sound of a mobile phone belonging to Peter Banning, played by the incredible Robin Williams. This breaks the happy, family images and atmosphere bringing the harsh reality of work to rain on the play. The mobile phone symbolises the bad things that so often get in the way of the good things, and implies that work will always get in the way, so to speak. The audience receives a sense of inevitability that work may prove to be a problem later on in the film.
- Boo Radley essays
- Genesis essays
- Richard iii essays
- Alice in Wonderland essays
- On the road essays
- Ozymandias essays
- The Nightingale essays
- Holden Caulfield essays
- Animal Farm essays
- 1984 essays
- A Hanging essays
- Shooting An Elephant essays
- A Tale Of Two Cities essays
- Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn essays
- Arthur Conan Doyle essays
- Brave New World essays
- Characters In Hamlet essays
- Characters In Romeo And Juliet essays
- Desdemona essays
- Diary Of A Wimpy Kid essays
- First-Person Narrative essays
- Frankenstein essays
- Heart Of Darkness essays
- Jane Eyre essays
- Jay Gatsby essays
- King Duncan essays
- Librarian essays
- Little Red Riding Hood essays
- Lord Of The Flies essays
- Silas Marner essays
- The Cask Of Amontillado essays
- The Catcher In The Rye essays
- The Crucible essays
- The Handmaid's Tale essays
- The Reader essays
- Virgil essays
- Wuthering Heights essays
- Candide essays
- Castle essays
- J. D. Salinger essays
- Ulysses essays
- Ethan Frome essays
- In Cold Blood essays
- Outliers essays
- Tuesdays With Morrie essays
- The Art of War essays
- Wife of Bath essays
- Huckleberry Finn essays
- The Lady With The Dog essays
- Great Expectations essays