Tim Burton and Johnny Depp Establish Humanity Through Film


UPPERCO, Md.- When posing the question of what characteristics come to mind when observing Johnny Depp in a feature film, many will state a variety of options. These include eclectic, interesting, deep, passionate, odd, strange, charismatic, and so on. Yet there is one characteristic which is truly embedded within this experienced actor’s characters and films. This is humanity.

In Tim Burton’s 1990 classic film Edward Scissorhands, the theme of humanity is embedded within the characters. When Peg, a motherly figure, ventures up to an abandoned home in hopes to sell some of her beauty products she finds a young man named Edward who has scissors for hands. She develops a motherly connection towards him and introduces him to society by having him live within her home, as well as having him socialize with the townspeople. During his stay, Edward falls in love with Peg’s daughter Kim which causes controversy within the town.

Though Edward was later treated as an outcast due to being wrongfully accused of various crimes, this film offers a sense of humanity in the characters of Peg and Kim who take Edward in when others would have objected. Peg offers a sense of humanity by helping an individual in need, taking him in when others would not have and by giving him everything he needs to feel comfortable and successful. Kim also offers a sense of humanity, for she stands up for Edward when others would not and establishes a sense of dignity within herself. By these two characters helping Edward, they both offer a sense of humanness and benevolence towards him establishing humanity within their society as well.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp paired up again for the filming of Alice in Wonderland in 2010, another film which offered a reoccurring theme of humanity. Within this film, Alice goes against the traditional norm and ventures to explore a new world in which no one else would understand. Alice befriends individuals such as the Mad Hatter, who help her to realize that she is not just an ordinary young girl, but a powerful and dignified young woman. Though many thought the odds were against her, her new friends offer her a newfound sense of confidence helping her to defeat her enemies who are committing horrid crimes against humanity.

Characters such as the Mad Hatter offer a sense of humanity within the film, by offering a sense of benevolence towards Alice. He also helps her to realize that she is a dignified young woman, and cares for her future success and well being. Alice also establishes a sense of humanity by offering characteristics of kindness, compassion, understanding, and helping those who are in need. This film shows how many may be mistreated within society, and that it only takes one individual to stand up for what is right to make a difference and to restore humanity to those in need.

Overall, both of these films are amazing pieces of work, for the director Tim Burton has craftily shaped the main characters to hold a very important characteristic, humanity. Johnny Depp plays a main role in each of these films, yet the supporting characters around him also shed light on the topic of humanity. Each film offers a sense of humanity by having characters stand up against the tradition norm, and by having them fight against crimes against humanity such as injustice. The characters who have humanity embedded in them also hold important characteristics such as benevolence, kindness, compassion, and consideration, each of which is a synonym of humanity. Overall, these films hold an important place within society today for they offer numerous life lessons including the lesson of how and why humanity should be adapted within the society we live in today.

Grace Elizabeth Beal

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Edward Scissorhands at IMDB, Alice in Wonderland at IMDB
Photo: Screen Crave


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