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Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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If you haven’t I suggest you gouge out your eyes… please don’t gouge out your eyes… just look away.

Hmm Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… another turn out from Tim Burton who is considered a god among men nowadays, but let me say that his newest film left me less than satisfied.

Having considered myself a fan of Burton for years since Beetlejuice and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, I was hoping for another good film. I myself liked Big Fish, his last film, although as you may have guessed, I did not think his newest accomplishment lived up to its hype.

Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Johnny Depp (Willy Wonka), Freddie Highmore (Charlie Bucket), David Kelly (Grandpa Joe), Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs. Bucket), Missi Pyle (Mrs. Beauregarder) and Christopher Lee (Dr Wonka) to name only a few.

I have never read the book by Roald Dahl, but suffice to say that didn’t mean that I didn’t know the story. For those of you that don’t know it, Willy Wonka (Depp) decides that he will distribute five golden tickets around the world, so that five children may visit his chocolate factory. One by one the tickets are found by four different children.

The story follows Charlie Bucket (Highmore) a poor child who lives in a crooked house and how he surprisingly gets the last golden ticket. The rest of the film should be about the tour around the factory, ultimately ending with Charlie becoming its heir. But not in Burton’s version, he decided he would include a new angle by bringing Wonka’s father into the picture; Dr. Wonka (Lee)

Strangely similar to the Fantastic Four; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory seemed like some sort of MTV kids movie than anything else. With some loud, unintelligible Oompa-Loompa songs (which I could hardly ever hear the lyrics to), and bright Burtonesque colours, it’s probably a great film for the youths of today. Unfortunately I thought that he was taking it a little too far. Or perhaps I just don’t think like a child any more. Though I suppose fortunately Depp invented some weird quirky role that was funny at times, but I’ve gotta say he looked way too much like a girl with that hair.

Other than that no one really struck a chord… But then I should probably comment on them. What can I say? I’m not a fan of child actors, I believe I’ve mentioned this before somewhere, but I cannot stand them, none of the children’s roles really astounded me.

I can however comment on Christopher Lee and Missi Pyle. I bring those two up because Christopher Lee is legendary; getting on a bit, but he is still a great actor, although his part was seriously not needed. I must also comment on Missi Pyle, unfortunately not constructively, but she freaks me out, ever since I saw her in Big Fish I thought that she belonged in a David Lynch film, simply for how odd she looks.

There was two great guest appearances by Mark Heap and Kevin Eldon; both from the twisted comedy series JAM, their appearances both unexpected and extremely weird as the two men walking dogs outside the factory – look out for them.

On to the screenplay: written by John August; who also wrote the screenplay for Big Fish – very much similar. It was a funny film. The lines weren’t horrible. But they were not fantastic either, that’s all I have to say.

The score was regular Danny Elfman, although it did not sound as spectacular as some of his previous scores.

So what were the good parts of the film? First off the introduction to the factory was hilarious. The dolls’ singing and dancing while their eyes were melting and burning out of their very sockets was excellent, pure dark-humoured Burton. Much like this part, the other enjoyable sections of the film were amusing bits, such as the strange conversation about cannibals, and the hilarious flag museum scene.

So those were the good bits… what was bad? Mainly I felt the added storyline of parents was definitely not necessary, as well as near to the end of the film where we saw the children walking out of the factory all disfigured etc.

As with the end of the film, I must say I liked the 1970s version more. The cruel and mean visage that Wilder put on was great, and I was hoping for the same feature in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but was sadly disappointed.

Overall I’m not sure what to say about that… it had its funny moments… but kinda irritating, a film, it could definitely have been better. I preferred the original 70s film.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 5/10
The film was over-hyped; Burton has become overrated nowadays.

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  • RJ

    Depp is a great actor. I haven’t seen this film yet, but most reviewers seem to have panned it.

    Too bad his talents were apparently wasted…

  • It’s weird, I liked the film a lot, but not Depp, even though I usually love him. He played it very strangely – creepy, high pitched voice – and it didn’t work for me. The kid who played Charlie was great, though (he was in Finding Neverland with Depp, too), and the story was sweet. Yah, pardon the pun, but it was.

  • Yeah, I think you either had to be a kid to have fun, or just have a very wide sense of humor. But I thought that Depp’s performance was pretty good. Specifically down to the fact he played it rather creepy, simply thats the kinda thing I can find funny.
    I did watch finding neverland.. but I can’t really remember it, so I suppose I couldn’t place him when I saw Freddie Highmore.