Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 19th, 2004
This is the story of Edward D. Wood, Jr., who gave the world such classics as Glen orGlenda? and Plan 9 From Outer Space. Tim Burton’s film follows Wood (JohnnyDepp) from his dismal theatre days through to the premiere of Plan 9, along the wayexploring his friendship with various misfits, including Bela Lugosi (an Oscar-winning turn byMartin Landau), not to mention Wood’s own cross-dressing proclivities.
Purists can complain about the factual in…ccuracies (Plan 9 would never have hadthe lavish premiere it does here, and Lugosi didn’t hate Karloff, nor did he swear like trucker),but this is to miss the enormous affection for these characters that permeates every frame of thefilm. This is, along with Big Fish, Burton’s most personal film, and might well be hismasterpiece.
Howard Shore’s score sounds terrific, booming away with plenty of 50s-style bombast,accompanied by a theremin’s wailing. The mix does the score full justice. The dialogue iscrystal-clear, and the surround effects are pretty solid (especially when thunder and rain arecalled for). The soundtrack as a whole could use a bit of a volume boost, however.
The look of the film is to die for: B&W with blacks from the abyss and whites that glow inthe dark. The image is sharp enough to make you weep, and there is no edge enhancement. Thelittle bits of grain and speckling that turn up add to the authenticity of the movie, rather thandetracting from the viewing experience.
The commentary, hosted by a Lugosi voice, features Burton, Landau, writers Scott Alexanderand Larry Karaszewski, DP Stefan Czapsky and costume designer Colleen Atwood. This is nota round table, which is just as well, allowing one to keep the voices straight, and the commentsare intelligent and informative. “Let’s Shoot This F#*%@r!” is a making-of featurette from thefilm’s release, introduced by an in-character Depp, and featuring plenty of behind-the-scenesfootage. The other featurettes are retrospective (and thus so much better than promotionalgarbage), and focus on the theremin (“The Theremin), Landau and make-up artist Rick Baker’srecreating of Lugosi (“Making Bela”) and the production design (“Pie Plates Over Hollywood”).There are also 5 deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, and a music video of Howard Shore’s maintheme. The menu is fully (and amusingly) animated and scored.
Endlessly delayed, this disc was emphatically worth the wait. Buy it.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “The Theremin” Featurette
- “Making Bela” Featurette
- “Pie Plates Over Hollywood” Featurette
- “Let’s Shoot this F#*%@r!” Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
- Music Video