Haunting - Continually recurring to the mind;
Unforgettable. SEE: Edward Scissorhands
Every film composer has their magnum opus - their grand masterpiece
that captivates so many and seems to be the product of divine inspiration.
Many have suggested that Batman is Elfman's greatest score. In
essence, this stems more from a popularity contest - which Batman
has won without a shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately, a masterpiece is not
always a score that sounds good alone on the release. Certainly Batman
is a "fun" score, and this analysis is in no way a criticism of other
great Elfman film scores. Yet, it must be said there are greater scores
beyond the world of the bat.
Enter: Edward Scissorhands, which, without a shadow
of a doubt, is Elfman's greatest film score, ever! In fact, it has become
my favorite film score of all time - beating out countless others from
the late Bernard Herrmann to John Williams. Ever since I first heard its
haunting theme in the cinema, I was obsessed with finding the release.
I found myself watching the film over and over again just to hear the
beauty and grotesque of the music. Finally, in 1997, I found it - and
it's been ecstasy ever since. Why do I enjoy it so much?
First and foremost, this compilation passes the Texas Ranger's
three film score criterion with unparalleled excellence. In my opinion,
a perfect film score release must satisfy three basic needs to achieve
an absolutely perfect four star rating. Edward Scissorhands is one of
the few scores that satisfy all of them. The music is stellar, and there
are very few, if any, low points on the CD. In addition, almost all of
the music from the film is presented on the release - thus ensuring the
listener can enjoy the entire score. Finally, it passes the final test
with flying colors: it's an absolutely stunning score that made the film
(i.e. this movie would have utterly failed without Elfman's expertise).
Secondly, this masterpiece represents the pinnacle of Elfman's
greatness during one of the most gothic, exquisite, complex points in
his career. While others come close (such as the Batmans, Sommersby,
Dolores Claiborne, and others), this beauty maintains a lead against
the competition. The score is a wonderfully balanced cross section of
Elfman's "post- Beetlejuice/pre-To Die For" works. By that,
I mean this score represents just about every aspect of Elfman's late
eighties/early nineties style. This is why Scissorhands is a must
for anybody interested in Elfman's career. In fact, I think it can be
argued that this work is far more necessary for Elfman enthusiasts than
his two Music for a Darkened Theater compilations. Every Elfman signature
is contained in this score; from the grotesque darkness of Batman,
to the later seasonal/Gothic nature of its sequel, and even the quirky
antics of Beetlejuice; there is definitely something for every
Elfman fan. If Beetlejuice, Batman, and Darkman (which
was written in the same year as Edward) were the prophecies of
things yet to come, than this score is the time capsule - preserving the
greatness that was foretold by those previous classics.
Last but not least, there is also the effort factor. There
are many composers who put little, if any, effort into their scores. Even
Elfman has had a few choice works that seemed to lack a major exertion
(Flubber, Extreme Measures, Hot to Trot come to mind). Yet, in
the case of Edward Scissorhands, Elfman seemed to pour his very heart
and soul into the work, which he openly admitted when he stated it was
Still probably my favorite score. The movie was such a
lovely blend of sentimental and peculiar. I could have done variations
on Edward's theme forever.
His love for the score shows with every twinkle of the bells
and every weeping sigh from the violins. This is truly Elfman's Citizen
Kane. . .