Rated: R for language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: September 30, 1994 Released by: Touchstone Pictures
Ed Wood is a real character who made low quality, low budget films 40 years ago. His dream was to be a big time director who was respected by the public and professionals in the business. His work failed and he died an alcoholic and a drug addict. Director Tim Burton's film is designed to be comical, but I find it difficult to enjoy the pain of the pathetic characters who are portrayed in this work.
Unlike Tucker who had a vision for the future automobile market which provided an uplifting ending for his ordeal of failure. Wood is a sad character who should be allowed to rest. His films are comical even when planned to be serious. His philosophy was think of the big idea and forget the details. Details like focus (some of this film is out of focus for effect) and background falling down, strings visible on flying saucers were no deterrent to Wood who did only one take to save money. He is the opposite of Steven Spielberg who thrives on detail to make his films realistic.
Martin Landau is a perfect drug addicted Bela Lugosi who is marginally able to support himself during his last few years of life. He even suffers the indignity of losing his health insurance and being removed from a drug rehabilitation hospital. Johnny Depp again takes on a role that is far from the center. His performance is excellent as the always optimistic cross dresser.
There are scenes which are funny but the tragedy hangs over them and Wood and his band of misfits float sadly through Hollywood. This is a story of losers who keep trying but never make it. There are no dreams fulfilled, that may be reality but it doesn't make an enjoyable film.