Friday, July 15, 2005

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Well I guess it's obvious which movie we saw. Rat was able to get MacDaddy to change his mind and with a 2 to 1 vote, Charlie it was. Luckily, the large groups of kids at the theatre were off to see something else. So here it is, my review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

I wanted to like this movie, I really did, and while as a stand alone movie it's ok, compared to the original, all I can say is Johnny Depp's Wonka doesn't hold a candle (or in this case candy bar ) to Gene Wilder's version.

Where Wilder's Wonka was highly eccentric and whimsical, Depp's seem slightly psychotic, like he could break at any minute (and he comes close several times). Even if you can get over Depp's odd choice of voice, there are so may other aspects (like the extremely unnecessary flashbacks of his childhood, and his ever constant latex gloves) that just give this modern Wonka too much of a 'creepy' vibe for my liking. The rest of the cast, from Charlie's family to the remaining kids, were all very well cast and played their parts perfectly, however, I do have to question Tim Burton's choice to cast Deep Roy as every single Oompa Loompa. Although he did a good job it was getting a bit monotonous to say the least.

I also must say that the songs and their choreography, while apparently closer to the ones written in the book, just didn't seem to fit in as well as the ones from the original movie. Sometimes, such as in Squirrel room, the musical number does nothing to add to the film and I found myself just hoping each verse they sang would be their last (not that I could understand what they were singing anyway).

Another thing you'll probably notice quite quickly is Burton's reliance on CGI. There is so much in this movie that it's hard to tell where the real actors end and the CGI begins, and that is not necessarily a good thing. In scenes which would have looked quite ok using classical techniques (such as make-up or costumes), Burton instead goes to CGI, with very mixed results. I found that most major CGI shots were a bit too apparent to allow them to blend in as they should.

To me it basically came down to this, at the end of 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory', you were left with the distinct impression that most of Wonka's crazy antics were for show, in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' you are left with little doubt that the odd behavior comes from deep rooted psychological trouble. While this retelling of the classic story makes for an ok movie, there is little doubt in my mind that the original is a much better picture.

3 out of 5


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