Before you pick up Ed Wood, it would behoove you to know that this black-and-white Tim Burton film was actually based on a true story. Johnny Depp plays an eccentric wannabe filmmaker, who would appear to be delusional if he weren’t so serious. The movie is mostly true. Yet, the bizarrely entertaining tale and over-the-top acting is almost a spoof on mid-twentieth century Hollywood. The movie has just been released on Blu-ray in 1080p.
Typically, when a biopic is released, it’s produced to celebrate someone who has had a significant impact on culture or society – for better or worse. Ed Wood falls on the latter side of that equation. His story is one of a person who made a career out of being the worst of the worst. Despite negative feedback from studio executives and the public, Wood continued to get funding to make bad movies – often cutting in random documentary footage in an effort to boost production value. His failed career culminated after his death when he received the Golden Turkey Award for being the Worst Director of All Time.
Depp plays a wide-eyed Wood who sees even the worst scene as “perfect.” Due to limited budgets, he only does one take of every shot, while justifying the craziest production snafus to move on to the next scene. If a fake door fell down accidentally, it added realism.
The biopic focuses mostly on Wood’s relationship with Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), a Hungarian actor most noted for his role as Dracula. When Lugosi’s career took a downward shift into substance abuse, he began working with Wood.
The film is filled with several entertaining and outrageous moments. Burton manages to turn a somewhat depressing and tragic tale into a humorous escapade of failure and passion. You almost want to see Wood succeed even though he makes poor choices over and over again. Ironically, Landau earned an Oscar for his role as a Lugosi. Landau creates a character that is a perfect parallel to Wood. He’s mentally trapped in the one role that he achieved success at – Dracula. Both Wood and Lugosi want to do great things, but have lost a sense of what makes something actually good. It’s also almost touching to see Wood’s rag-tag group of friends band together as production misfits.
Ed Wood is a great one-time watch. You’re sure to get a lot of laughs out of this flick, but it’s not a film that begs to be re-watched – unless you host movie nights geared around drinking and making fun of movies. It’s fun to get together and make fun of great performances that impersonate bad performers.