By: The Dweeb
Finally, after a few failed attempts (for reasons unknown) Disney finally puts this great film on DVD. Let’s release this f@!ker! Actually, it fitting for a film about the worst movie director of all time that they themselves had some problems as well. The curse of Ed Wood perhaps? Regardless, I patiently waited and now its here, and Ed Wood Special Edition is definitely worth the wait.
For those unfamiliar with the work of Ed Wood, who holds the dubious distinction as the worst movie maker of all time, many people just look at his crapfests and immediately discount his work. But some people, like director Tim Burton, see him as some kind of misunderstood genius. A true film auteur, of course going straight for the bottom and not the top. Who could be more perfect to direct such a film, the man who gave us such classics as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.
Tim designed and look and feel of the film as a tribute to the style of Ed Wood’s works and other schlock horror / sci-fi B-movies from the late 1950’s. The opening scene is a direct lift from Plan 9 From Outer Space, widely regarded as the worst of all. So I guess that makes it his best work? The cinematography, the dialogue, and the musical score all added to the campy feeling you get when watching. If you pay attention, you will also notice some sloppy editing, a hallmark of crap cinema. Well at least I hope they were doing it on purpose.
What makes this film really click is the fantastic crop of actors they gathered to make this feature. Johnny Depp once again shows his skill as an angora sweater wearing Ed Wood. He looks quite comfortable in it actually. Once again he adopts this weird quirky persona portraying Ed, not far off from his Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean. He creates quite a memorable screen presence and bounds with enormous energy and naiveté, Ed has no idea how bad his films are.
The true standout performance of this film however, is Bella Lugosi, played by veteran actor Martin Landau in the performance of his career. His portrayal of the old Hungarian actor garnered him an Oscar and I think he really left his mark. He was touching, cranky and most of all hilarious all at the same time. “Lets shoot this f%@#er!” I love that line. That sounds just so out of character for Bella but those moments of outbursts are what make it hilarious.
On the technical side of this DVD, the sound and picture transfer was very well done. Although its shot in black and white (an obvious choice), the picture is very high quality. The extras are not something you should skip either. There is an odd little piece on the behind the scenes stuff where Depp stands in drag and just wings it. Its interesting to note that they kept with the theme and made that black and white as well. There are also additional sections on making the character of Bella come to life on screen. An interesting look at the theramin, one of the oddest musical instruments I’ve ever seen. And of course all the usuals, deleted scenes, trailers and other promotional materials. I also have to mention that they put some effort into animating the menus for the DVD as well, quite amusing too. This is a good film, and I’m glad to see Disney put in the extra effort on this one. Well done.