In The 1950’s, a filmmaker named, Ed Wood was known for his notorious critical flops including “Glen Or Glenda,” “Bride Of The Monster” & last but not least, “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” Despite negative reception, Ed Wood’s filmography became cult classics by critics and movie goers known for its “show had its good” aesthetics ranging from poorly written dialogue, bad acting, stock footage, cheap special effects, flawed editing among many others things wrong only “CinemaSins” can pull off.
Screenwriting duo Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Man On The Moon) Crew tired of making family films such as “Problem Child” & its sequel, they wanted to expand their craft for a mature audience & to experiment their creativity as established writers. The pair read a book based on Ed Wood called, “Nightmare Of Ecstasy: The Life And Art Of Edward D. Wood Jr.” The duo wrote a blueprint based on the book, they presented it to director Michael Lehmann. After reading the script, Michael was interested, but turned down the opportunity to direct, due to the fact he was working on “Airheads.” Michael showed the blueprint to Denise Di Novi, a producer associated with Tim Burton. Denise delivered the blueprint to Tim. Both were eagerly interested to expand the ten page premise as a fully detailed screenplay. Tim recruited Scott & Larry to write a script.
After the script was done, Tim contacted his very good friend Johnny Depp to portray Ed Wood, he said yes. Disney’s subsidiary “Touchstone Pictures” helped financed the project titled, “Ed Wood.”
Ed Wood was released in 1994. (same year Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction came out) The film earned critical acclaim from critics (especially Roger Ebert & Gene Siskel) cinephiles & movie goers alike. Although a critical hit, the film failed to recoup its expenses at the box office. Regardless of losing money, Ed Wood eventually went on to become an eligible nominee at “The 67th Academy Awards” winning two awards for “Best Supporting Actor” (Martin Landau) & “Best Makeup.” (Rick Baker)
Here’s an interesting fact, Doug Walker/Nostalgia Critic stated that Ed Wood is one of his favorite movies of all time.
With the highly anticipated Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” slated to come out in July 26th, I thought about looking back at this movie, because it’s connected to The Film Industry & based on true events.
The following review doesn’t contain any crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article if you haven’t got a chance to see one of Tom Burton’s good films.
Clean & Garbage Aspects
Clean: Johnny Depp did an amazing job for his performance as the real life titular director.
Fun Fact: According to Johnny, he based his performance on a combination of Tin Man from “The Wizard Of Oz, Casey Kasem (Shaggy from Scooby Doo) & Ronald Reagan. Johnny was aware of Ed Wood’s work when John Waters showed him Ed’s filmography while on the set of “Cry Baby.”
Johnny’s performance as Ed Wood reminded me of his role as Willy Wonka in “Charlie In The Chocolate Factory.”
Other Cast Members such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette, Jeffery Jones, (before he was a revealed to be diabolical) & the late Martin Landau all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
If you’re a fan of the “Jak & Daxter” franchise, Max Casella (the voice of Daxter) has a role as Brent Hinkley, a collaborator of Ed.
Tim Burton did an excellent job directing the biopic. He made sure to stay true to Ed Wood’s life & career.
Screenwriting duo Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski both did a decent job writing the screenplay. The script is based on “Nightmare Of Ecstasy: The Life And Art Of Edward D. Wood Jr.”
This is the second time Johnny played a character named Edward. Does Edward Scissorhands ring any bells?
Opening Credits pays homage to stop-motion animation.
Howard Shore orchestrated music for the movie. Danny Elfman wasn’t available, because he and Tim had a fallout in their collaboration, they managed to put aside their differences.
Production Designers recreate the atmosphere of Hollywood set in The 1950’s retaining every single detail.
Producers of Plan 9 From Outer Space lampshaded numerous Plot Holes. Ed refuses to polish the project, because he doesn’t want a studio to control him. When the actual film was critically panned, he didn’t think this through.
The film explores Ed Wood’s personal life & career gaining reputation as one of the worst directors (if the worst) in Hollywood before Tyler Perry, Uwe Boll & Tommy Weisu entered the picture.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Dolores Fuller, mentioned her appearance looks like a horse. Years later, Sarah is mocked by many people like Trey Parker & Matt Stone went they made fun of her appearance in “South Park.”
Glen Or Glenda is based on Ed wearing women’s clothing sense childhood.
Ed’s house has posters of “Citizen Kane” & “Dracula.” Orson Welles & Bela Lugosi are his idols as the reasons why he wants to be a filmmaker.
Ed’s notable pictures, especially Plan 9 From Outer Space are depicted on how they were made in the first place.
The film is shot entirely in Black & White recapturing the essence of Ed Wood’s filmmaking style. Lighting felt authentic for the shadows to set the mood’s quirky tone as in Ed’s goofy pictures.
Rick Baker applied prosthetic makeup to the actors.
The humor recaptures Ed’s silly style of cheesy filmmaking. You can tell that Tim actually put a lot of maximum effort to stay true to Ed’s passion of filmmaking resulting in horrendous miscalculations.
My favorite sets from the movie are the actual sets recreated Ed’s behind-the-scenes environments of Glen Or Glenda, Bride Of The Monster & Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Chemistry between Ed, Bela, his friends & colleagues served as the main highlight of the biopic branching out development of Ed’s motion pictures.
The film ends with a “where are they now” montage.”
Garbage: Vincent D’Onofrio’s voice as Orson Welles is dubbed by Maurice LaMarche, known as the voice of Brain from Animaniacs. It seems very odd for Tim Burton to dub Vincent’s voice. It’s very bizarre to hear Brain dubbing Wilson Fisk/Kingpin’s voice. It reminded me of Pee Wee Herman’s voice dubbed in a fake movie saying, “Paging Mr. Herman.” You know that movie-within-a-movie scene from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”
The Final Verdict: A-
Ed Wood is one of Tim Burton’s decent films back when he made really good ones. If it weren’t for Tim Burton’s big mistake for editing Vincent D’Onofrio’s voice with Maurice LaMarche, I would’ve given Ed Wood my highest grade, which is an “A FOR APEX.” I’m not saying Ed Wood is a bad biopic, it’s a great movie. If you’re interested in watching this biopic, I highly recommend it.