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I have seen Charlie & The Chocolate Factory last night and though I
usually don't care very much in giving my opinion, the journey M.
Burton and his team made me cross deserves an homage. Especially with
all that criticism rising around the film before it has been released.
I have been a Tim Burton fan for more than a decade now; I grew up with his films. But what I have been through yesterday his really unique. I actually never thought he would offer us such a film one day. Fans of his first period, with all the lonely and desperate characters won't like it for sure. Since Mars Attacks !, and more specifically since Big Fish, Burton decided to tell things differently. His vision of the world slightly changed in every of his films : now, the rejected freak comes down to the world and stays. A world that remains frightening and weird even thought we call it "reality" but a world worth living in. And that's what Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is all about It all begins with a main title sequence that may be one of the main weaknesses of the film. The sequence is very entertaining and visually ambitious but they decided to go with CGI and it looks like it was a decision they made in last minute. Since the film was proudly made with "real" sets, "real" Oompas Loompas, "real" squirrels, the main title looks inappropriate. It's not that important but it's a Tim Burton film and we know how much he usually works on his main title. Hopefully, Danny Elfman is there with a crazy mix of the Edward Scissorhands and Spider-Man (the music when the title of the film appears gave me shivers), a true musical roller-coaster that gives a hint on what his score will sound like through the film.
After that, it's just emotions. All kinds of them: laughs (many the audience laughed almost every thirty seconds), tears of joy (we all know Charlie's gonna find that ticket but when he does, you just can't refrain your heart to beat faster), mercy (the way Burton depicts the social misery of the Bucket's family is really touching), amazement (the Wonka Factory and its many rooms is true wonder, one the most achieved design Burton ever offered us) and many mores. Very much like the book, even though it seems simple and childish, you would like to stop for a second to collect those feelings and try to analyze them but you don't have the time. It just never stops (I realize it might be a flaw for some people in fact). Burton never has been so generous in terms of human warmness.
Johnny Depp proposes another inventive and completely wacky interpretation here. I won't compare with Gene Wilder since I don't know the first film very well (pretty unknown flick here in Europe) and those comparisons should stop anyway. Depp makes of Wonka a tormented and unadapted character who doesn't know much about common courtesy and doesn't really care anyway. He built up his own universe in response to his authoritarian father and he's pretty proud of it. He just doesn't want those "weird" (a word he likes you've all seen the TV spots) and boring parents with their despicable children to ruin what is life is based on. Yet So Depp's Wonka is actually very moving and pathetic in his attempts to entertain his visitors. As Burton does everything he can to make you hate Augustus, Vercua, Violet and Mike at the moment you first see them, you get instantly closer to Wonka when you noticed he feels the same. In addition to that, John August's vision of Wonka's past (including an always perfect cameo by Christopher Lee) offers the character a real depth you didn't expect.
Danny Elfman is also one of the main attractions of the film. While his score is already classic Burton/Elfman work with some interesting experiments (the main themes are splendid), the songs he wrote for the Oompas Loompas are just so funny. Hugh laughs in the audience for some musical choices. Those songs don't intend to stay with you for months (it would have been hard as they're based on Dahl's lyrics that doesn't allow Broadway impulses), they're just off-beat numbers playing with many references in so many styles. Oingo Boingo fans have to buy the soundtrack when it'll come out, it'll bring them back 15 years ago.
What can I tell you more ? McDowell's sets are amazing, Pescucci's work is impressive as well as Rousselot's beautiful cinematography. Some Oscar Nominations should fall here.
As for the ending, without revealing it, August's additions are really touching and fit perfectly to Burton's new approach. Even though the final shot tempers the "family" theme that he developed through the film (it's still Burton, not Disney), Burton makes you feel good because he feels good (and what I'm writing here will ring a bell when you'll see the movie). I don't know for you but after so many distressed and pessimistic films, it really moved to see that he found a certain peace. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a step forward in the direction he gave to his career with Big Fish. He lost his father, he became one, he's getting older and all those questions and doubts are expressed in many important and very complex images and scenes he imagined for the film. That's why I could call this film the "Edward Scissorhands" of his new period. Those films are very different but gave me both some very essential emotions.
Thank you, M.Burton. Thank you very much
Growing up, my favorite book was, easily, "Charlie & the Chocolate
Factory". Roald Dahl's magical tale of a young boy's adventure in the
strange factory was spell-binding. Though I never had a problem with
the original "Willy Wonka" move with Gene Wilder (despite how
unfaithful it was, it was still a cute and heart-warming movie), I was
doing back-flips when I heard Tim Burton, quite possibly my all-time
favorite director, would helm a new version of the movie.
First and foremost, Johnny Depp is perfect as Willy Wonka. What people don't really pick up from the first movie is that Wonka was intended to be, well, crazy. He was eccentric and freaky, the way he allowed the rotten children to get what they deserved and protected his factory like it was his child. Gene Wilder portrayed Wonka more like a fatherly-figure, and really was just too nice. Depp pulls out all of the stops as a new Willy Wonka, though there are times that any audience member will get just a bit freaked out.
What I loved most about the movie was how faithful it was to the book. Everything that was mentioned, from the chocolate palace to the hair toffee, was taken directly from the book. I was incredibly impressed.
This is definitely a movie for everyone, especially those of us who hold the original tale in our hearts. Wonka chocolate bars for all!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" at the Wilkinson American Movie Day. And, oh boy, I was in delight! Don't expect a bleak remake of the amusing (and rather psychedelic) 1971-version. It is in every way a genuine Tim Burton-movie, stacked with beautiful imagery, wacky humor and bizarre characters, but at the same time faithful enough to the spirit of the novel. Roald Dahl would've been proud. It also features outstanding performances by the entire cast. Johnny Depp gives us a strange, almost creepy Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore is a perfect Charlie, the Grandparents are lovable and wacky, and the five other children and their parents are amusingly irritating. And last but not least, an excellent soundtrack by Mr. Danny Elfman, reminiscent of both Edward Scissorhands and his early Oingo Boingo-days. Go see this with your parents, children, grandparents, movie buff-friends, nephews and nieces ... they will be equally delighted!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tim Burton kept saying he wanted to make a version much more faithful
to the source material, which leaves me wondering why he didn't.
There's the awful (and unnecessary, and counterproductive) back story showing Wonka's childhood, which is nothing more than an excuse for Burton to bring in one of his horror movie heroes from childhood (Christopher Lee) while completely killing any sense of mystery Wonka might otherwise possess.
I like Johnny Depp, but his Wonka had zero warmth...and was just plain creepy and random - one minute he's snippy and/or oblivious to the kids, the next he's paternal, offering Charlie some nourishing hot chocolate because he "looks like he could use it" (and because it's a line from the book).
Wonka in the book is a spritely little gent...neither Gene Wilder nor Johnny Depp are really much like him (much less so Depp), but Wilder's interpretation always has that twinkle in his eye - you know he's a little eccentric but he's always in control. The kids in this version are all pretty good. But Wonka himself? Yikes. Give me Gene Wilder's version over creepy Johnny Depp's Michael Jackson take any day.
The Oompa-Loompa musical numbers blew. The first one, in the chocolate room, was okay. But overall, I had a hard time understanding most of the lyrics. It was all just raucous noise. Come on, Elfman, you can do better than that.
Wonka telling Charlie he can't bring his family to live with him in the factory was insane. First of all, it makes Wonka look even more like a freaky pedophile; second of all - how on earth is that faithful to the book?!
This is the second time in recent memory I've heard of a producer/director wooing the widow of a beloved children's book author and then she deciding that her dead husband would love this new big-screen version of his source material.
Somewhere, Dr. Seuss is consoling Roald Dahl.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know I'm in the minority here, but I wasn't jumping up and down about
this movie. I loved the book as a child and loved the original film
with Gene Wilder for its own original contributions...perhaps I'm
biased. Still, I have always admired Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's work,
and had been looking forward to this new interpretation of Roald Dahl's
This film was, indeed, more true to the book than the 1971 version...the squirrel room, the jungle scene, the children leaving the factory, perhaps a little "wiser for the wear." However, the character development of the 1971 version was MUCH better than here...you were actually given an opportunity to like or dislike each character, including Willy Wonka. I did think that Johnny Depp's portrayal of Wonka was more true to the book than Gene Wilder's...Willy Wonka is supposed to be quite childish and eccentric. However, I thought that this film's preoccupation with being true to the book caused it to overlook what is more important, which is to establish the intentions of each character. At least in the 1971 version, it's pretty clear what each character's intentions are...even if establishing some of these intentions requires a conspiracy involving "Slugworth." And though I haven't read the book in a very long time, I do NOT remember any details being given as to Willy Wonka's childhood...I thought these were unnecessary, distracting, and a waste of time. This energy could have been better spent on the children's' character development, in my opinion. This is, after all, supposed to be a story for and about children.
The oompa loompas. It's true that they are physically portrayed accurately here more so than in the 1971 version, i.e. very small people and not midgets with orange skin and green hair. However, though the songs they sing here are true to the book, they are less charismatic than those of the 1971 film and sometimes seem over the top. Also, I didn't like that they were all clones of each other...I think that was a poor choice.
Finally, I was appalled with the ending...this ties in with my previous comments re: Willy Wonka's childhood. It changed the whole idea behind the story itself, which is supposed to be (from my perspective) that people can overcome their hardships to have a happy and prosperous ending, as long as they're honest, selfless, and generous. This movie changes the whole theme of the story to one that emphasizes the importance of family over any kind of material wealth or prosperity. Both are perfectly good and legitimate themes, but my reading of the book left me with an impression that Roald Dahl was more concerned with the former theme than the latter. Accordingly then, this movie did not do the book justice in the most important and fundamental way, whereas the 1971 film was able to do so despite its shortcomings.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was simply awful. Willy Wonka lacked the warmth, humor and
wit that was shown by Gene Wilder in the original. The use of one
person as the Oompa loompas comes off as cheap production, whether it
was or not. The changes made, even subtle ones such as the order or
events between Charlie finding the money and getting the last ticket
and the introduction of the elevator just seem off. One of the most
memorable moments is left out, which is the fizzy drink that makes
Charlie and Uncle Joe float around.
The oompa loompa sequences are horrible, the main characters fail to connect with the viewer as they did in the original.. I could go on and on but will just end by saying....
This movie is proof that new technology, different actors, producers and directors do not always equal a better experience.
Save your time and your money... buy and watch the original. My 5 year only daughter even prefers it over the new.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of its important to say that I am a Roald Dahl fan, and indeed a
fan of the original 1971 film Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory.
What that film and the work of Roald Dahl have in common is charm,
warmth, eccentricity etc. This Tim Burton film does not share in any of
it. Having sat and forced myself to watch the entire film hoping
something good would happen I was left feeling nothing but empty. I
enjoyed most of Tim Burton's work and was rather excited about this
film when it was announced, the trailers never gave away too much and I
kept on hoping right up until the credits rolled. So whats so bad about
it then? My first massive problem with the film is the reactions from
the children through the film. Were they sedated during filming? Watch
the scene where they tear down the chocolate river in the boiled sweet
boat, does one of them even scream in delight? are they not amazed they
are on a boat made from candy on a river of flowing chocolate? Most of
the time they stand there looking like they would rather be somewhere
else, how are we supposed to believe in the wonder of this amazing
factory if the kids there aren't even impressed (too much blue screen
work perhaps, means the poor actors had nothing to be amazed at)
my second not quite as massive problem with the film is Burton's muse Johnny Depp. Perhaps their relationship is getting stale but Depp's performance as Willy Wonka was nothing but irritating; less eccentric, more pathetic. The creepy grey skin, luminous teeth, puppy dog eyes and hushed voice all add up to a character that I was bored of in the first 5 minutes after seeing him. The ridiculous back story of his childhood was totally superfluous and added nothing to the film, it's like Burton really wasn't trying 'why does wonka love candy....? hmmmm maybe his father was a wicked dentist who wouldn't let him eat it... I could get christopher lee to play him! get on to casting!' Wonka was supposed to be a man with years and years of experience behind him, a weathered eccentric not an excitable/sedated puppy
point number 3 THE MUSIC, perhaps the worst score to a film I have ever heard, Danny elfman, shame on you. OK so they wanted to bring the songs up to date but jeez the music is just bad, the incidental music is bad also, its all bad.
#4 the Oompa Loompa's. this really made me sad, really sad, so in the revised book they are like miniature cavemen, in the 1971 film they are crazy psychedelic dwarfs, in this film they are... one man, one dwarf, Burton employed him in 'Big Fish' he did OK there but he is so wrong for the part of an oompa loompa and why does he have to play all of them? another gimmick that I suspect Burton really didn't waste any time over coming up with, his expressionless face might have worked as a sad clown but the cheeky Oompa Loompas? I think not there were a few god points, the authenticity (minus the stupid flashbacks) I loved seeing the candy boat in all its glory, the fudge mountain , an actual glass elevator rather than the weird gold thing in the 1971 film but who really cares about all these things when not one person in the film seemed to be impressed by it, did the crew record dry run rehearsals by accident? ( by the way the original elevator of the book didn't have rockets on the side it used sky hooks and was powered by sugar but kids would just laugh at that right?) It was nice to see charlie's dad regardless of the fact he is of no importance to the film. The sets were OK but lacked any real wow factor.
basically if you took burtons script chucked out all the nonsense hired a new director kept the sets and gave them a bit more wow and hired a new sound guy and told everyone to smile and have a laugh it wouldn't be that bad, but that didn't happen, mores the pity. OK so one day, say 30 years from now I will make it again its the only way I can resolve my issues with this disaster.
in short if you are a roald dahl fan and like the 1971 film DO NOT WATCH THIS, honestly I regret ever seeing it
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was actually excited to see this movie, I wasn't expecting anything,
I was just intrigued to see another Tim Burton film. The pictures in
the film and the factory were spectacular and mesmerizing. Without even
paying attention to the story line it was clear this was a Tim Burton
film, truly fantastic. But Like watching a model trying to ponder
physics, the beauty is only skin deep. Where was the heart in this
movie? The acting, the dialog, the people all fell short of human
Small example: A child spoiled all her life only taunts her father with the resounding demand: "I want it Daddy." Where's the yelling, the screams, has no one EVER SEEN a tantrum??
Additional Example: The parents seemed hardly upset with their children's misfortune. As a parent would you not run out and help your daughter if she were attacked by ANYTHING much less squirrels?!
The Ompa Loompa problem: I loved them actually. Tiny, creepy, and what a great story on how they were found. They were great until they broke into a bad Britney spears song and dance. What the #*!$*#& was that?!
Flashback problem: I loved johnny's character, quirky and fun. Nevertheless, the flashbacks didn't add much at all to anything. And they were executed in the WORST WAYS i've ever seen. "sorry I was having a flashback." They are far better ways to have had those worked honestly.
The T.V. kid: was he really so horrible? I mean yes, he was obnoxious, but it doesn't take t.v. to do that. In fact, didn't t.v. just make him smart? Is it so awful that he figured out how to find the bar with the ticket? T.V. didn't turn his mind to mush, it made him the smartest kid who was just annoying and stubborn.
The ending: Horrible, horrible, horrible. I don't even want to talk about it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Absolutely awful. Sorry, it's the truth.
I wanted it to be good too. The original is brilliant, a timeless piece of pop culture. But what Tim Burton did to this film... OK, picture Fred Durst, Avril Lavigne, the Spice Girls, and the New Kids on the Block covering "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Drunk. That is really how bad this film is.
My biggest problem with the film is that they left out Charlie's sin. I mean, no fizzy lifting drinks? C'mon!! One of the things that humanized the original Charlie, the polite and thoughtful one amongst a pastiche of brats, is that Charlie too broke the rules, and reasonably invoked Wonka's wrath. Charlie's innate good nature eventually redeems him, Also, for Darwin's sake, cut out the music. "PAINFUL" is the only word I can conjure to describe it.
I will admit that I have not read the Dahl novel, so I do not know if the original included all the drudgerous background on Wonka. However, the constant flow-killing flashbacks slows the pace of the movie to a crawl, and normally Depp's acting can carry any role, but this script and character rendering were just terrible. Perhaps the background information on Wonka should have been one big chunk in the beginning of the movie, because spacing it out has no build-up value at all.
Also, worst voice on a Depp character, well, ever.
There really was nothing to redeem this piece-of-crap moneysucker. I can't believe I actually wasted $12 to see it. Between this, "The Stepford Wives," and "Godzilla," I have lost all faith in the movie industry.
If Tim Burton's out there I just want to thank him for bringing the spirit of the book's original illustrations to the screen. He even matched the facial expressions to the drawings, especially in the case of Charlie's family. Charlie himself looks like one of the drawings, and the Bucket house is so much like the illustrations it caused me to realize that Burton is as visual as any movie director can be. (Recent editions feature the work of a different illustrator. I'm talking about the illustrations from the 1960s. The difference between the older illustrations and the newer ones is the older ones feature a lot of cross-hatching. I imagine the older illustrations are still available, especially in a hardcover, but you'll need to search the net.) I don't know how he did it, but he got the facial expressions of Charlie's family and of Mike Teavea's father down perfectly. He also absorbed Dahl's sense of humor. The opening fifteen minutes or so, in which the winners of the golden tickets are announced one by one, really get Roald Dahl's sense of the ridiculous. I think Burton's addition of Wonka's childhood story fits well, although I'll agree that the way this is resolved is not completely in Dahl's spirit. Even in the resolution, however, Burton maintains sly humor. It is well-acted by everybody. I'd like to say that Julia Winter, who plays Veruca Salt, has turned in a truly well-observed comedic performance. Depp converts the novel's jaunty, precise Wonka into a quirky one, but it works well, because, as in the novel, Wonka's endearing traits contrast with the fact that he's a tyrant. Roald Dahl gets a rap for his cynicism, and this movie softens his message a bit. Dahl is a bit like Orwell. Both of them point out that man, given power, will exploit his fellow human beings. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY the movie is not quite as dark as the book. But it comes very, very close.
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