Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: My Thoughts

By 16 Jul ’05Movies, Reviews

sidebar: was the first one called Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?

Anyway, I must say that I was surprisingly dissapointed. I really thought that the Roald Dahl-Tim Burton-Johnny Depp trifecta would have produced some wonderfully weird Wonka World on par with… well, everything else Tim Burton does. So what the heck happened?

First of all, let me back up. I am a Wonka fan on all levels. Even when I read the book as a kid, I was delighted with the darkness of it all and the well-veiled social undertones that Dahl was so great at. I was thrilled when I read the book to find that the Oompa Loompas were originally African Pygmies who Wonka “rescued” (best social commentary/character kink evar).The movie never gets old to me because while the visuals and wackiness were so cool to me as a little kid, I enjoyed it even more as I grew older because of Wilder’s deadpan character… the whole thing is just great to me. So I was expecting this movie to be a older, darker Wonka.

And I think that may be what Tim Burton wanted too… but it didn’t quite get there. I think they tried to make it too similar to the first movie. I think the studio pushed the whole package from “dark and witty” to “summer kids’ blockbuster”. I thought this would be a movie that I’d enjoy talking about later and watching again. But it just wasn’t. I even liked Wonka’s backstory and the casting was perfect But the plot just fell through.

The musical numbers were overrought and gimmicky and Depps delivery only shone in those beginning moments where these potentially beautiful and interesting plot points started off… he came off goofy and stilted in the other 70% when those plot points dissapeared into thin air and never developed. I feel like I should have walked out of the theater feeling like I did when I saw Edward Scissorhands, but instead felt like I’d seen one of Disney’s latest non-Pixar animated gumball flicks. Depp was perfect for what this version should have been, but came off goofy much of the time because of what the film ended up being.

I am not daunted, though.Corpse Bride looks delightful.

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