Ed Wood is considered to be the worst director of all time, but in the entertainment industry, there's no such thing as bad press. Though he died in 1978, his legacy lives on, capitalized by an extraordinary movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.
Depp plays the title character, an ambitious and enthusiastic young director who aspires to be the next Orson Welles - the only problem is, he really sucks (though he doesn't realize it). The movie focuses on the production of three of his movies: Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space. Struggling to find financing, for good reason, Ed made it a habit to shoot only one or two takes for each scene and use some of the cheapest props known to man.
Burton, who at the time was coming off a string of successes, which included Beetle Juice, Edward Scissorhands and the Batman movies, does an excellent job here. The movie is simple and easily his most normal film to date.
Of course, what really makes the movie is the film's performances. Depp is absolutely terrific as Ed Wood; he's funny, enjoyable to watch and completely different from any other role he's played. Screw his performance in Pirates of the Carribean - his performance here is much better. Alongside him is Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi. He completely engrosses himself in the role to the point where you can't recognize him physically or vocally. Supporting cast members include Sarah Jessica Parker, Patrica Arquette, Bill Murray and even Vincent D'Onofrio as Orson Welles.
Ed Wood is a must see for anyone who enjoys B-grade movies or a look at early indie filmmaking. Burton, Depp and Landau have a masterpiece on their hands here - it only took me ten years to see it.
The DVD includes some pretty good deleted scenes and some behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as an audio commentary and more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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