There’s something magical about snow, and snow is something that films very well. Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands perfectly captures this facet of the Christmas season.
Actually, the movie is partially in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Sure, Edward’s story is a fish-out-of-water dramedy version of the Frankenstein story, but its resolution answers the unasked question: “Where does snow come from?” Just sit back, and find out.
I almost tried to describe the “Ice Dance” scene just now, but then realized that nothing would compare to simply listening to the music from it.
Edward Scissorhands is one of the few movies where you can find that serene calm that covers the world when everything is buried under a few inches of snow. Even if (like me) you’re stuck in a place that doesn’t see it very much.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
One of the essential moments of the Christmas season, especially for the younger crowd, is the excitement of opening presents. That’s what watching the first movie featuring the world’s most famous wizard feels like to me. Cheer hangs in the air, and surprises wait around every corner.
Really, the whole Harry Potter series has a wintry air about it — much of the English school year falls under colder months by default — so I had to think long and hard about which one to include in this list. In particular, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire gave me pause, as both of them feature great scenes set in the dead of winter. I eventually picked Sorcerer’s Stone. Mainly because, for both the audience and characters, it’s the one that has the most newness and joy hidden inside.
It also has fantastic candy, strangers bearing gifts, wrapping paper, Christmas sweaters, and Hogwarts snowfalls. Sounds like a great Christmas to me..
And now for something completely different.
Tim Burton pulls heartstrings with the best of them; just look at Edward Scissorhands up there. When he’s not going for the heart, though, he’s liable to go for the throat. We recently saw this in Sweeney Todd, but his second Batman outing hides some dark shadows, too.
Even if it is set during the most wonderful time of the year, holiday cheer and presents are nowhere to be found during Advent season in Gotham City. Everything’s steely and somber on the surface, lived in by a population led by scaly villains in high towers. There’s immolation, electrocution, and kidnapping, yet somehow, this movie is hilarious. The very definition of dark comedy.
For me, Batman Returns flawlessly captures the melancholy side of winter and the Christmas season. For every beautiful snowfall there’s an iron-gray sky. For every office party there’s an awkward non-romance. For every happy family there’s an orphan fighting against evil penguins in the sewers. That sort of thing.
“Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it. But a kiss can be deadlier… if you mean it.”
And there you have it. Now, what movies are you watching in-between Charlie Brown and Christmas Vacation?