Charlie and the Chocolate Factory full movie was fun for about 60 minutes, after that I realized I had seen it all before and none of it was original or interesting. Tim Burton certainly added his Burton-esque touch to the look and design and Johnny Depp delivered his own portrayal of Wonka, as only he can, but in the end it simply felt like a copy of the first film, which if you ask me is far better and far more entertaining.
For those of you that have seen the original or read the classic Roald Dahl novel get ready to be less than surprised or taken aback by anything in this film as the chocolatier wack Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) opens up his chocolate factory to five lucky kids through the Golden Ticket. As luck would have it Charlie Bucket (Highmore) rounds out the five winners and invites Grandpa Joe, a one-time Wonka employee, to join him as the outsiders are taken on a magical tour of the factory that has not been seen in 15 years.
As the original before it and the book, the tour takes us through a land made of candy, an invention room, the chocolate river and waterfall, the glass elevator, the TV teleport room and so on. However, there are differences from the 1971 Gene Wilder version and even the novel for that matter.
This time around Wonka has a back story, his father, played by Christopher Lee, plays a large role in the eccentric candy maker’s life. You fans of the original will learn that Wonka no longer sings and rather than a Golden Goose doing in Veruca Salt, it’s nut-cracking squirrels that send her to the garbage shoot.
Then come the Oompa-Loompas, all played by one man, Deep Roy, who was also featured in Burton’s Big Fish as Mr. Soggybottom. The Oompa’s are no longer orange with green hair and they are a bit scarier than they were in the first, which is no problem, but there is one with their classic songs, you can’t understand a word!
Like the novel and the first Wonka picture, the Oompa-Loompas sing as they clean up the mess left by the spoilt little brats during the tour, whether it is rolling away a gigantic Violet turned blueberry or stretching out Mike Teavee they have a signature song for each, and thanks to loud music and high pitched vocals you can only make out bits and pieces of the songs making the would-be great sequences virtually worthless. To go along with the complaints the first song is just the first example of how the vocals don’t match the lip-syncing Roy. The film’s music composer, Danny Elfman, offers the voice of the Oompas in their song and dance and as the words are played over the theater speakers, it seems as if the Oompas are singing an entirely different song, it is very distracting.
If there were a bright side to the Oompas-Loompas, you will be introduced to the never-before-seen Loompaland, sadly that bright side soon turns dark as nothing really happens and it is not so gripping.
Continuing on my rant I move to the set pieces, which were disappointing to say the least. Wonka’s “candy land” was in no way enticing or even a bit resembled a land made of candy and his invention room looked so much like a set resided by cheap plastic pieces it wasn’t even funny. As far as exteriors go Wonka’s Factory was impressive as was the Bucket family’s home, which was classic Tim Burton as it leaned to one side and had a twisting chimney, but that still doesn’t save the fact that the rest looked just disappointing.
To give credit where credit is due, Depp turned in a great performance as Wonka, the unfortunate thing is that he wasn’t given enough to do. In the 1971 film, Wilder not only nailed his wacky performance as Wonka, he also sang a few songs. In this version Wonka does no singing to which Johnny Depp has said he was thankful, but without the songs there is only so much he can do to give Wonka a voice as his tale is mainly told via brief anecdotes or the fatherly flashbacks.
The children did what they could with their roles, but they were so similar to the original film that none of it felt new. In addition, Charlie was so quiet throughout the film and so reserved he was almost non-existent. This is supposed to be Charlie’s flick, like the title insinuates, but instead the tale seemed to rely on “magnificent” set pieces and the spoilt brats, which just added nothing to look forward to as the movie carried out.
To say I was looking forward to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie would be an understatement. I loved the original Gene Wilder version and Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are two of the greatest in Hollywood today, but I was more than disappointed in this effort as the problems were too many to count.
I will, however, end by saying that my opinion may be a bit skewed since I did enjoy the first Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film so much. Adults and children that have not yet watched the 1971 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie just might find this flick 100% enjoyable, which is a factor that should definitely be taken into consideration. I am hoping to give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film a second chance myself.
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