Anthony's Film Review
Ed Wood (1994)
A biopic that provides a glimpse into the career and mind of an untalented film director...
The 1994 film Ed Wood, about the infamously bad film director Edward D. Wood Jr., was bound to be made at some point. After all, the lives of unique people serve as great sources for Hollywood films to be based on. If you are fascinated by Ed Wood's films, especially the notorious sci-fi turkey Plan 9 from Outer Space, then you'll likely enjoy this biopic. Director Tim Burton does a pretty good job putting the career of Wood on the silver screen. Let's also not forget Johnny Depp as the star playing the title character.
The story begins with Wood's latest failure as a theater director. We see that Wood is driven simply by one thing: a desire to tell stories. But with his play being a flop, Wood decides to switch to making movies instead. It's obviously hard to break into the film business, but Wood is determined enough to do it, even if he ends up being a low-budget director. In fact, Wood doesn't even care about the quality of his films. He just wants to make films. As it becomes clear later on, Wood's target audience for his films seems to be himself.
My favorite scenes are the ones that depict Wood and his cast and crew on a film set. Whether he's filming his transvestite film Glen or Glenda or the horror film Bride of the Monster, he doesn't put much effort into each camera shot. Apparently, he is satisfied just having a completed take, to the point where, even for takes that have glaring mistakes, he says, "Cut. That was perfect." What's really strange is how Wood's inspiration is the legendary Orson Welles, whose work is on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of movie quality.
This movie does have a couple of supporting characters, including Sarah Jessica Parker as Wood's first wife and Bill Murray as an actor. However, the one who truly deserves mention is Martin Landau as the actor Bela Lugosi. This is someone whom Wood becomes good friends with, enough for Lugosi to be in many of Wood's pictures. Also, Landau plays his role so well that it's almost as if Bela Lugosi is playing himself here. There's no other way I can describe it.
If you are interested in this movie because you have seen Plan 9 from Outer Space, you'll love the last part of this film, which focuses on the making and release of Plan 9. What's neat about it is how the scene doesn't use footage from the original Plan 9 film. Rather, it features the actors in this 1994 film playing the original Plan 9 cast and reenacting scenes from the sci-fi film. I was quite impressed by how the reenactment of Plan 9 looks so much like the original Plan 9. This is a great example of authenticity in the portrayal of actual events.
Unlike 1959's Plan 9 from Outer Space, 1994's Ed Wood is a pretty good movie with an interesting story and performances by the cast. It doesn't require viewing at least one of Wood's films before this one, though doing so could enhance one's appreciation of this movie. In conclusion, if you are interested in seeing who Ed Wood was, or if you just like Tim Burton or Johnny Depp, this 1994 film is definitely two hours worth of good viewing.
For more information about Ed Wood, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of the topically related film Plan 9 from Outer Space.