Friday, June 17, 2016

Movie Review: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005)

Image Source
Movie"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Director: Tim Burton
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Reclusive chocolate maker, Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp), hides five golden tickets in his Wonka Bars for a contest. The five individuals who find the tickets will get a tour Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, as well as a truck load of chocolate, and a shot a mysterious grand prize beyond anyone's wildest imagination.

Isn't it weird that "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" deals more with Willy Wonka's story, and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" deals more with Charlie's story??? #TheMoreYouKnow

Tim Burton takes his shot at Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in this book-to-movie adaptation. As we all know, this is not the first time Dahl's classic book as been adapted to film. It was made into a (far superior) movie back in the 1970's, the much beloved musical "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," which BigJ and I both fondly remember watching as children. We have to keep in mind that this is not a remake of the older film, but simply Tim Burton's directorial vision of Dahl's book. Being a Burton escapade, this vision includes Johnny Depp, and we've come to expect no less. Depp plays oddball candy maker Willy Wonka and portrays him as a bit of a twisted man-child who clearly doesn't seem all there in the head and has a chip on his shoulder because of his daddy issues. Doesn't this description scream Johnny Depp? It does seem that Depp is reaching at accomplish this weird portrayal because it doesn't always feel natural, but some of the snarky quips Wonka is able to get in to the bratty children on the tour are still worth the stretch. We'd imagine many people don't like this wacky portrayal, but upon watching it for the first time in many years, we do find it fitting for a character as bizarre as Willy Wonka. Personally, I remember distinctly and vehemently disliking this film and Depp's portrayal when I originally saw it, but I've come around since then.

Visually, this is quite a tasty treat. The universe of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is very Burton-esque. The exterior shots all around the chocolate factory and the town where Charlie lives are all dark, gray, and snowy. These landscapes are extremely reminiscent of "Batman Returns." Once inside the houses and the chocolate factory itself, it becomes an entirely different world, one of playful, bright, vibrant colors, like something you'd see in the suburbs of "Edward Scissorhands." Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get each time we follow our characters into the next room. The sets and makeup work are nicely handled, even Depp's pale exterior and sunken in face. The main chocolate room is utterly amazing, something we wish we could see in real life just to understand the scope of it all. The set is entirely practical and mostly edible, even all of the grass is really made from spun sugar. The chocolate river is made to look like real chocolate, something the original mildly lacked as it came out looking more like poo water than chocolate. The CGI elements are its only downfall, venturing into cartoonish territory, though knowing now where he was headed in his career, well, this signaled the beginning of the heavy-handed CGI favoring Tim Burton.

Freddie Highmore plays the titular role of Charlie. Highmore plays this character in a chocolaty sweet, innocent, and wholly optimistic sort of way, just what the character calls for in our opinion. Despite Charlie and his family being poor, he is happy with his life and almost always has a smile on his face. As we know by now, Charlie wins the last golden ticket into the chocolate factory, and joining him are four nasty children, each with an unfavorable trait. Those children are the glutinous Augustus Gloop, played by Phillip Wiegratz; spoiled brat Veruca Salt played by Julia Winter; the ultra competitive perpetual gum chewer Violet Beauregarde, played by AnnaSophia Robb; and the ill-tempered and arrogant gamer Mike Teavee, played by Jordan Fry. All of these kids do a great job bringing their awful book-adapted child to life in a fun fashion. This movie also offers an interesting take with the Oompa Loompas as all of them are now being played by one actor, Deep Roy. Finally, this time around, the Oompa Loompas still get to showcase their singing abilities, but the filmmakers have chosen to keep the lyrics of the songs the ones directly from the book, not the ones from the 1970's film. It's hard to get over something you spent your childhood memorizing and loving, so to hear these songs now as an adult can be jarring if you grew up with the original movie, but they are not all that bad, just different.

Not everything about this adaptation is hunky dory Oompa Loompa songs and snozzwangers. The movie's biggest fault is the addition of a backstory for Willy Wonka. It has been decades since we read the book, but we certainly don't remember Wonka having unnecessary and unneeded daddy issues with his controlling dentist father. Any time we get flashbacks to Wonka's childhood, it brings the movie to a screeching halt. These scenes take us out of the magic of Wonka's world and back into the harsh reality of Tim Burton, who loves adding plot lines featuring characters with deep-seeded issues involving a father figure. Not every single character needs a backstory, even when that character is the main one. Also, as we mentioned above, Charlie seems to take a backseat to Willy's story, becoming a secondary character in the process. This will leave a bad taste in some mouths since Charlie is the main character in the book and the other movie, but we feel he still gets enough screen time in to get the gist of the story properly. In the end, Burton's adaptation of this beloved children's book is still a fun, colorful, zany adaptation of the timeless story, even with its many flaws.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment