Tim Burton’s “Elephant Man”
After hiring on as a director to projects developed without him (PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, BEETLEJUICE, BATMAN), Tim Burton showed what he could do when he developed a project of his own. The result is this sweet 1990 fantasy that for the first time crystallized the latent themes in the director’s work: the notion of the artist as outsider, of skills that make one special but at the same time different. A sweet but tragic fantasy, the film borrows much of its imagery from Gothic-styled genre films (the lone scientist [Vincent Price] creating an artificial being) but stops just short of going full-tilt horror (Edward’s frustration at not fitting in never quite leads to a CARRIE-like revenge-rampage). Although there seems conventionally-minded critics who prefer ED WOOD for its well-written drama, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS is probably Burton’s best live-action fantasy.