Edward Scissorhands appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer offered a mix of highs and lows.
Sharpness was the point of most concern. The majority of the movie appeared reasonably concise and crisp, but some scenes - usually wide or medium shots - seemed overly fuzzy and soft; in fact, a few moments bordered on blurry. Admittedly, these were rare, but they created notable distractions. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no problems, and I noticed only a little edge enhancement. In the realm of source flaws, a few specks and nicks popped up, but most of the film lacked any form of defect.
Colors largely appeared lush and rich, especially some of the deeper tones like velvety reds. Occasionally some of the brighter hues looked less than ideal and could be somewhat heavy, but for the most part colors were well-reproduced. Black levels seemed dark and solid, and contrast was good. Shadow detail
looked smooth and appropriately opaque but without any excessive density. All of this added up to a “B-”.
Also positive was the Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack of Edward Scissorhands. The soundfield appeared moderately restricted. The forward speakers offered a modest but nicely broad spectrum in which we heard a fair amount of ambient audio from the sides; it remained gentle at most times, though some useful sound - like the snipping of Edward's blades – could pop up there. The surrounds mainly provided light reinforcement of the forward speakers. Music and some effects appeared from the rears, but this was a very forward-oriented soundtrack.
The quality was good. Dialogue always sounded crisp and natural, and I discerned no problems related to intelligibility; the speech appeared nicely-recorded. Except for a couple of gunshots toward the end, effects were clear and clean without any distortion, and they also demonstrated reasonable dimensionality.
Through the film, the music appeared bright and dynamic. I thought Danny Elfman’s score sounded lively and added warmth to the mix. The audio lacked enough ambition for a grade above a “B”, but it seemed satisfactory for this story.
A small roster of extras rounds out the disc. First up is a screen-specific audio commentary from director Tim Burton. He chats about the story’s origins and inspirations, casting and the work of the actors, visual design, sets and locations, and general technical issues.
Burton’s taken a lot of abuse over the years for this commentary, which many regard as an unadulterated bore. To be sure, Burton goes silent too often, and this leaves a lot of dead air. Nonetheless, he chimes in with some good material along the way. I wouldn’t call this a great – or even good – commentary, but it’s moderately informative and definitely better than some folks say.
Next we get a commentary/isolated score. This one presents information from composer Danny Elfman along with the music. As often is the case with these kinds of tracks, some speech covers a few music cues; I'd guess that these small blemishes occurred due to contractual obligations. Most of the score plays uninterrupted, but be aware that you can't get a perfect music track from the DVD. One disappointment: the score is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0 and doesn't sound nearly as good as the 4.0 track for the regular soundtrack.
As for the commentary, Elfman discusses what he attempted to do with the music and he also relates some facts about his career as a whole. Elfman adds some insight to the experience, and although some fairly long pauses between comments can occur, his statements were interesting and valuable.
The rest of the supplements are much more ordinary. A 1990 featurette appears; it runs for four minutes and 35 seconds. This program is a little more interesting than most promotional pieces, but not by much; it combines a few film clips, some behind the scenes shots and a good number of interview snippets. For its length, the show isn't bad, but it seems very ordinary nonetheless.
In the Sound Bites area, we get more interviews with the participants. We find clips from Burton, Elfman, actors Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price, and writer Caroline Thompson. The segments last between 23 and 91 seconds, and the section totals about eight minutes.
These interviews are from the same source as the ones used in the featurette. In fact, a few of them repeat statements heard in that program. In keeping with the spirit of that offering, the sound bites are pretty dull and uninformative; don't expect to discover any gems of insight here. Navigation is frustrating as well; since no "play all" option appears, you' ll have to return to the "Sound Bites" menu repeatedly just to work through the limited information.
Another area provides some advertising. We find two US trailers plus one US TV spot and two Spanish TV promos. One comment: don't watch these – or anything else, actually - unless you've already seen the movie; all of these sources reveal far too much information about the story.
Finally, Concept Art offers just what it states. We get six drawings, mainly of Edward. It ain't much, but it's there! The disc’s booklet presents a few comments about Tim Burton.
Speaking of "not much", I found a very minor Easter egg. If you click "down" from the "Concept Art" listing, a "scissors" icon will light. Click it to find a "special thanks to." roster. (Hey, I said it wasn't much!)
Finally, this release comes in a Collectible Tin. Inside this set, we get six cards with film images on them. Whoopee! For those minor trinkets, you’ll spend an extra $5 over the cost of the DVD alone.
If you compare all the comments about picture/sound to those I wrote in my review of the 10th Anniversary Edition of Scissorhands, you’ll find them to be identical. You know why? Because except for the “Collectible Tin” and movie pictures, the packages are exactly the same!
I don’t simply mean that they used the same transfer – it’s also the same disc. Only the new packaging indicates this is the 15th Anniversary release; the DVD itself still refers to the 10th anniversary!
That goes beyond cheesy in my book. If you put out a new version of a movie, make it a new version.
I still love the film, though. Despite some serious flaws, Edward Scissorhands remains a minor classic just because of the sheer loveliness of so much of the film. While it's too inconsistent to be his best film overall, Tim Burton will probably never equal the heights of this movie. The DVD offers generally solid picture and sound plus some bland but decent supplements.
If you don’t already own the old Scissorhands DVD, go ahead and pick up the DVD-only version. With a list price of $15, it’s nice and cheap. I see no reason to drop an extra $5 for the “Collectible Tin” edition. Don’t bother with this set if you have the prior DVD, though. They’re literally identical, so you’ll get no form of “upgrade” here.
To rate this film, visit the original review of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS