Monday, September 18

Review on Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Well, this movie came out last year but I hadn't seen it until now so blah. Magazine and online reviewers may want to be fair and not compare this movie to the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Tim Burton has been thinking about this film for a while and Marilyn Mason was even rumored to be attached. I thought it would be cool and wicked. Tim has said in interviews that he doesn't like the 1971 film. This movie is more based on the book. Whereas the first movie was called 'Willy Wonka' it was more about Charlie, this one is more about Willy Wonka. Burton did add more on Wonka's past, his daddy issues (dentist father played by Lord of the Ring's Christopher Lee). In flashbacks, Wonka had horrifying braces as much Burton/Addams family tradition.

As everyone knows, John Depp plays Michael Jacks--oh, I mean Willy Wonka. He says some of the same lines that were the original movie because of course they were in the source book, Depp delivers them with no enthusiam as if the line was the most disgusting thing he had said. Depp's Wonka is still a child. This Willy Wonka has problems talking to kids and more off parents--who he can't even say the word. In this version, Charlie's grandfather Joe worked for Willy Wonka and then one day he closed the factory, fired everyone when other companies were copying him. Grandpa Joe, other than having that storyline, has no other characterization and barely talks as they tour the factory. I enjoyed the 70's muscial grandfather because he was fun, caring and concerned and spoke up.

Roald Dahl much like Lewis Carol, there is racist things---the Oompa-loompas from the books were very stereotypical of island people. So where the original film, they were orange faced and green haired, Deep Roy plays all the Oompa-Loompas and have no makeup on. In what little there is of special features on the DVD disc, it explains how much Deep Roy had to match his dance riybtues and film a lot. It seems Burton concerntrated more on Deep Roy than the film itself. I find Deep Roy's Oompa-Loompa faces just plain creepy.

As for the other characters---the naughty characters, they are all pretty much the same. Only here gum-chewing Violet has a mother and they are competetive. This competetive aspect is pretty much wasted when she must follow her juicy blueberry demise. In fact, the movie suffers from having to follow what they have to do---everything happens like as if they had no control but follow what must happens. Mike Teevee is changed to be a video game player and a smart code tracker which is a pointed comment, Oompa-Loompa's song is still about television, other than video games so it seems they missed the point. And if he is smart enough to cracks codes, isn't that a good thing? Most kids that are obsessed with video games, wouldn't they be dumb? Then in the song, they claim he doesn't have enough imiganation--isn't intelligence good too? Well, Mike proves to not be as smart as he gets shrunk and then stretched.

One change in this film from the musical is that we actually see what happened to the kids afterwards which is seriously creepy and I regret even wanting to know. Veruca Salt, is much much more creepy looking in this film. The father has little to no personality and when he tries to put his foot down in the end of the film, instead of Veruca fearing him she pouts angerily like always as if they are in the same playing field which speaks volumes about this generation where kids don't respect their parents and believe they have power.

As for Charlie himself, the kid Freddie Highmore does a great job and is awesome. He even has a father in this film. Also included in the film is Prince Pondicherry, an Indian prince who asks Wonka to build a castle of chocolate which is from the book. Doesn't add much but it could be considered a forewarning to trust what Wonka says. But in this film, Depp's Wonka doesn't seem to have the insight Gene Wilder's had. Gene will always be Wonka in my mind.

In conclusion, this movie is much a super colorful candy-coated goth Living Doll with no personality at all.