Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I remember reading about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it's plans to be remade over 5 years ago. And at the time I was super excited to see it. So, I have to say that I had a LOT of anticipation about the release of this film. I really really wanted it to be good. And I am excited to say that it was. After a string of what I saw as disappointments by Director Tim Burton (Big Fish being my most recent let-down) I was nervous that the same could be true of Charlie.

A friend had some advance screening passes and last minute called to let me know she had an extra one. I was so excited!

This movie, more an adaptation of the novel than the first movie, is classic Burton. He creates a rich, bold world for the viewer to get lost in. From the gloomy shack that Charlie lives in to the Nut-cracking room full of trained squirrels, this is a story that Burton was meant to tell.

I have already heard some rumbling about Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka. "He is just a little too creepy for a kids movie," "He reminds me of Michael Jackson." And while these criticisms might be a bit true, it is this uniqueness he brings to the character that bring the movie up a level from just a pretty and goofy kids movie to something more. Depp's Wonka is one disturbed guy, but there is something just a little creepy about many children's icons; Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, Bozo the Clown, that guy from Blue's Clues. They all seem like they could just snap at any second and freak out on the kids, and Wonka is just a little more insane and messed up then the rest of these famous folks. But, wouldn't you be pretty fucked up too if you had lived your whole life in a factory without any contact other than the oompa loompa's?

And the Oompa Loompa's are yet another wonderful addition that varies from the first movie. The same actor portrayed every single Oompa in the movie, and the scenes featuring these guys are awesome and just really crazy. The musical numbers have some of the strangest and most brilliant moments of the movie. After the demise of each of the movies' bratty kids, the Oompas present us with a little musical number, and they all are hilarious.

There was much buzz about Freddy Highmore being selected as the next Charlie, and in the first 15 minutes we get to see a fair amount of him, and he shows some real promise, but then suddenly when we enter the factory, Charlie fades tot he background and hardly speaks a word. Willy takes over and during each scene we focus on one of the kids, with Charlie generally being a wordless observer. I wanted to see a bit more of Freddy and to find out what kind of potential this kid had.

So, in the end, I left the movie feeling great and really happy about Burton's telling of the story. But, the movie was just a lot of fun and fluff and prettiness, without enough drama for it to really leave an emotional impact or impart some sort of lesson on me. Don't get me wrong, I love this kind of pretty entertainment, but I don't think it is enough to get Depp, Burton and company much recognition come Oscar time.

I look forward to seeing Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Grade: B+



Anonymous Jimmilicious said...

Good job, Charlie. Looking forward to more of your postings. Blog away!

9:45 AM, July 12, 2005  
Anonymous sg said...

yay charlie! have you ever been to the chocolate factory? the one around the corner from where they make lemonade?

i'm looking forward to seeing it on IMAX.

cool idea, looking forward to more reviews.

blog away,


10:00 AM, July 12, 2005  
Anonymous misty said...

ok. first of all, i was a little disappointed you didn't mention me by name (i mean, i got you into the movie and all...what's a girl got to do to get a shout out?) but my disappointment faded with your review cuz it was so good. i love the way you talked about the oompa loompas in particular. all in all, good review!

10:50 AM, July 12, 2005  
Blogger Chargenda said...

Melanie: Did you just review my review?

11:04 AM, July 12, 2005  
Anonymous misty said...

i did review your review and i'd do it again, damnit.

12:29 PM, July 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't hate on the blue's clues guy...he's hella cute
-charlie f

8:04 PM, July 13, 2005  
Blogger Chargenda said...

Which Blue's Clues guy? Joe or the new one?

7:46 AM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger amandarama said...

Wow - I DID give CATCF the same grade as you. I had no idea. Crazy. But I stand firm - it deserves a B+.

9:05 AM, July 26, 2005  

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