Ed Wood

April 18, 2010
Being remembered as a filmmaker is truly an honor. Being remembered for making arguably the worst movies ever, however, probably isn't that great of an accolade. Thus was the fate, though, of Edward D. Wood Jr. - or Ed Wood, for short. With films such as Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 From Outer Space, Ed Wood's films began to become renowned for their "so-bad-it's-good" quality. This horrible reputation was so disastrous that, later in life, Ed Wood was reduced to making softcore pornography in order to make ends' meet. Seeing as how Tim Burton loves talking about social outcasts in his films, it's not much of a stretch to see this director take on a biopic of "Hollywood's reject".

As the title suggests, Ed Wood follows the story of the titular young man and his 'rise to stardom', if you will. Before he began making films, Ed wrote stage plays that often dealt with themes such as war and the supernatural...only these plays always turned out to be critical disasters. Though his friends encourage him to keep going, Wood himself is beginning to doubt his own line of work. After meeting a washed-up Bela Lugosi (of Dracula fame), Wood decides that this new collaborating partner will be sure to earn him success.

As far as characters and performances go, I absolutely loved this movie. Johnny Depp, who plays the misguided Ed Wood, is fantastic in his role. Here, we don't see Wood as some clown to poke fun at, but a man with a passion and love for what he did. His artistic vision might have been "bad", but the effort, work, and overstated poetry Wood put in shows how much this "reject" cared about his work. The supporting characters are also quite charming, ranging from Wood's humorous co-producers to Bunny, Ed Wood's hilarious gay friend played by the one (and only) Bill Murray.

If there's an underlying theme to Ed Wood, that theme is friendship and positivity. Bela Lugosi, who somewhat forgotten in Hollywood and a drug addict at that, is shown as being a lonely, addicted, and depressed man. He lives alone in his small house, dreaming of his glory days back when he played Dracula in Universal's 1931 film. It's with Lugosi that Ed Wood develops the closest friendship he has in the movie, and one can't help but fall in love with these characters as their friendship develops over the course of the film.

Visually-speaking, the film's quite nice to look at. A tribute to the old 1950's sci-fi films, the B&W gives the film a very distinct and dark look. The camerawork is just very well-done and nothing ever seems out of place in the film. The purposefully science fiction-esque soundtrack serves to remind its audience of the old films of this by-gone era, while also using this score to show how bizarre Ed Wood is. There isn't too much else to say, other than that the visuals and the score are great while fitting the film very well.

The pacing's fantastic in this film. No moment is overblown or too short - each moment spent watching the film only serves to suck the viewer further into this strange, although very fascinating, story. I will admit, though, that the film sometimes feels loose in its story-telling, in that the scenes just don't feel tied together too often. This, in turn, makes the film feel far more episodic than it should be. A small flaw, but a noticeable one nevertheless.

Ed Wood has plenty to love - great characters, eye candy visuals, a fantastic pacing, and a great score. In fact, I'd dare to say that it's the best film that Tim Burton's ever made.

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jakesulley said...
May 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Depp's performance as Ed Wood was truely a gift to all to see.
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