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!
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 tha
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.