I’m a big Tim Burton fan, and when Burton and Johnny Depp get together, it’s always magic. That’s why I always felt bad about not seeing the movie Ed Wood. Released in 1994, I simply never got around to watching it, but after hearing about how good it was, I finally decided to sit down and give it a watch.
First a little background information-Ed Wood was a director responsible for famous B-movies such as Plan 9 from Outer Space. He died in 1978 and two years later was voted “Worst Director of All Time.” He also had a penchant for dressing in women’s clothing, despite the fact he was a reputedly a staunch heterosexual. He used Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of Dracula in his younger days, in a few of his films well after Lugosi had been forgotten by Hollywood. Once Lugosi died, Wood’s career took a turn for the worse-not that it’d ever been great-and he faded away.
Of course, such a strange life and career is right up Tim Burton’s alley, and Burton assembled an incredible cast of actors in this film. (Remember this is 1994.) He secured Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, and a charismatic and Oscar winning performance from Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.
While I appreciated the acting and the homage paid to Wood by Burton, the overall storyline didn’t really interest me all that much. Ed Wood’s story, while odd, didn’t captivate me as perhaps it would a fan of his B-movies. Those standards I usually appreciate from Burton in movies such as Edward Scissorhands, Beetle Juice, Sleepy Hollow, and Big Fish were also absent. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; I’m saying that it simply didn’t interest me all that much.
That said, though, if you really want to see Johnny Depp acting his tail off, I’d check this movie out. Just be aware it focuses more upon Wood and Lugosi’s relationship than anything. If I’d known this going in, I might have had a different impression of the film. I really thought it was a comedy about Wood’s complete life story for some reason. But, while there are some funny moments and characters, I found it really to be a rather dramatic story about a vanishing actor striving to remain relevant and a hapless director’s failed dream of making it big.