Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker
Director: Tim Burton
Running Time: 121 mins
Ed Wood is an American film about the true story of Edward D. Wood, Junior, a young and aspiring film director who found himself helming a series of bizarre and low-budget B-movies in the 1950s.
I really enjoyed this film. Not only does it serve well as a good biopic of Ed Wood himself, but is rather a both very funny and still engaging watch, furthered by very strong directing from Tim Burton, and great performances across the board, all brilliantly bringing the bizarre world of Ed Wood and his movies to life.
First off, I want to talk about the directing. Tim Burton is very much a hit-or-miss kind of a director, sometimes getting his quirky atmosphere spot on, and sometimes misjudging things completely and ending up with an either annoying or just moody movie. Ed Wood, however, is fortunately one of Burton’s best, combining excellent comedy with a unique atmosphere, furthered by a clear passion for the story at hand.
So, don’t think of a Corpse Bride or Edward Scissorhands situation here, because Ed Wood proves a genuinely enjoyable and consistently engaging watch from start to finish, all excellently brought together by an atmosphere that mixes making fun of the silliness and poor quality of some of Ed Wood’s films with a genuine sense of interest and passion in the history of how his career unfolded.
Another big plus from this film comes in the form of the performances. Johnny Depp is great in the lead role, proving a really funny and charismatic lead throughout, all the while bringing a very likable and human touch to Ed Wood, as he portrays the director’s endless optimism and ambition despite almost everybody in his life telling him no, something that’s really fun and equally interesting to watch.
Also, Martin Landau is amazing as Bela Lugosi, and not just because he pulls off the classic thick accent so well. In his old age even he befriends Wood, Lugosi is portrayed as the ultimate washed-up actor, still living off the fame of his most famous role, but still with a pretty tragic air around him, as he stumbles around in bizarre B-movies in his old age. Landau and Depp have great chemistry on screen, and thanks to that, the unlikeliest of all friendships is really entertaining, and even a little heartwarming, to watch.
When it comes to the story, the film does a great job of telling the history of Ed Wood, but that’s not why this film is memorable. Instead, it’s a very quirky story about what happens when you have a man who just won’t quit, no matter how low things get, he somehow keeps pushing and smiling through. Now, to find that wholly inspiring would be a misjudgment of the film’s intentions, which still poke a bit of fun at the situation, however that still doesn’t mean that Wood’s story isn’t a little bit heartwarming, and it’s really fun to see him go from strange situation to strange situation throughout.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Ed Wood. With great directing, performances, and an excellent balance between history and comedy, it’s a very entertaining earth from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.