July 19, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The kids should see it for educational purposes alone. Meanwhile, you’ll laugh and be amazed.

I went expecting weirdness, but got such inventive weirdness that I was delighted. It’s as deliciously curt with its humor as Willy Wonka himself is in his speech. Wonka is not just creepy, he’s now fascinatingly and amusingly creepy.

Probably a decent litmus test for liking this film is liking the work of Edward Gorey. That seems to me to be a bit ironic, because this film is so colorful it seems a counterpoint to the black and white of Gorey’s art. They share something in the sense of humor, if not the visuals.

Wonka is a complete social misfit. Charlie is his polar opposite in nearly every way and especially in warmth and human understanding. But they share childlike wonder and imagination. Sound sickly sweet? Not when it’s the only blatant sweetness in the film.

Having seen (and hated) the previous film, I especially wondered about the ending. The last film just ends abruptly and never made any sense to me. Burton sews this film up and gives it a purpose so that your outing to the theater is not just about seeing what weird landscape can be conjured within the walls of a candy factory.

Posted by James at July 19, 2005 6:57 AM
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It was 1000% better than the original and it made me (and I think Maggie) wish we hadn't seen the original, because while I was watching each "remake" scene I kept getting reminded of how crappy the equivalent scene in the original had been. And I'm not just talking about special effects, I'm talking about the way it was pulled off, in general.

Posted by: Julie at July 19, 2005 9:41 AM

Gee I actually kind of liked the original. In a goofy kind of way. I'm sure it was nothing like the book (which I haven't read) but I enjoyed it.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at July 19, 2005 10:52 AM

I have to say I loved Gene Wilder in the original. I haven't yet watched it through adult eyes so I can't say if I think it was a good movie. I look forward to seeing the remake.

Posted by: Mike at July 19, 2005 11:03 AM

Gene Wilder was the least of my complaints about the original, but I have to say Johnny Depp was a much better Wonka, or in any case the part was written better this time and made more sense.

And I'm not just saying that because it's Johnny Depp.

Posted by: Julie at July 19, 2005 11:36 AM

I haven't read the book since I was a child but I sat in the Roald Dahl section of the bookstore last night and I've decided that he's my new Children's Author Hero. I just love the way he treats the themes of horrible children and horrible parents.

I had trouble understanding Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka. Johnny Depp's is darker and colder, but it's more consistent and in the end touching and funny. M found the flashbacks very sad.

A lot of the movie was just laugh-out-loud funny, at least for me. But as Julie said, I wish I'd never seen the original while I was watching this, because it took away some of the fun. I didn't hate the original, but I really enjoyed watching this.

Posted by: Maggie at July 19, 2005 12:00 PM

Ting was, I never got the point of the original movie. Especially the end. It seemed incomplete.

This film, on the other hand, actually made sense (to me). Not in the sense that everything is explained, but in the sense that you see characters actually grow, come together, change.

Plus, in the original, I couldn't figure out why Charlie made it to the end. And I like his family a lot better in this one as well.

It's a great movie. I recommend it to anyone.

Posted by: James at July 19, 2005 12:12 PM

See, I LOVED the original. Partly because of Gene Wilder and partly because of the songs. I didn't read the book until much later. His Wonka definitely differed from the book as did the whole thrust of the film.

Wilder's Wonka was not so weird as he appeared. It was almost like a calculated weirdness to keep others off balance. i.e. Crazy like a fox.

They had to add the danger to Charlie and Grandpa Joe for Hollywood purposes and to add the dramatic tension for the ending.

I suspect the launch in the glass elevator was either a nod to the sequel book or an attempt to leave the movie open for a sequel.

Posted by: briwei at July 19, 2005 12:40 PM

I saw this movie this weekend, too. I was really surprised by the differences between the two films, so I found an old copy of the book and read it (only took 2 days, it's nice and short).

The new movie is much, much closer to the original. Dialogue was more often lifted directly, and the songs were verbatim (and wow, Danny Elfman did an amazing job).

The book had no fizzy lifting room scene, and no look into Wonka's past (which was brilliant in the movie). Charlie just gets the factory for being the last child left. That's it.

Gene Wilder was actually much truer to Dahl's Wonka, but both were outshined by Johnny Depp. Wow.

If only I had some sort of website I could write more about this...

Posted by: Bil at July 20, 2005 8:20 PM

I saw it Saturday, and loved it! I liked the Gene Wilder version, entirely because he brought such texture and charm to the character, but the majority of the film was just sort of creepy, and I didn't care for the oompa-loompas at all.

As for these Oompa-Loompas? Well, let me just say that I wish to be addressed as DeepRoy from now on. (Roy was my childhood name)

This is certainly Tim Burton's best movie. It's sort of funny that he could make a film that makes you feel so good when he's known for his obsession with dark and gloomy things. I also reccomend "Big Fish" by Burton. Very nice.

Posted by: Rui at July 25, 2005 3:52 AM

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