Movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Writer(s): Roald Dahl (book)
Director(s): Tim Burton
The book is one of my favorites (Dahl's my favorite author) and I love Tim Burton's quirky films; but I wasn't sure about this going in. The casting of Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka struck me as odd, and though he did a good job, in the end he's just too youthful for such a character. It didn't fit in well with the plot. My mom got strange Michael Jackson vibes from him and didn't like him. I didn't experience that but I can see where that might show up (Wonka and Jackson share many similar encentricies and both are adult children). Except for a few negative things about Wonka, however, I really liked the film better than the original. The special effects, children, script, direction, and music were all superior. The new film is not a musical, which is better, though it definitely has musical numbers (in this version, only the Oompa Loompas sing, not other characters). I did miss a few of the classic songs of the original ("Candy Man" and the "Oompa Loompa" songs). One cool touch of the new one is that each song the Oompa Loompa's sing is done in a different style, which is much more interesting. The Oompas put on a show, too, which is much less musical-like. The script is much more faithful to the book, which I greatly appreciated. The boy who plays Charlie is perfect: he has both naivity and cold intelligence in his eyes, which makes him more believable than the boy in the original film, who was merely innocent. Depp, like I mentioned, brings a strange weirdness to Wonka that I liked at times and didn't at others. When Wonka was being weird for humor it worked wonderfully; when he was being weird for some other reason, it felt awkward and unpleasant. The child in him was certainly visible, and in this movie, we get to learn about his past and how he became a chocolatier. The ending of the film was a little strange; it's been a while since a read the book so I can't remember if the emphasis on family was in the original, but it felt strange for Wonka to reject family and went on much too long. I also thought the resolution between Wonka's father was ridiculous and absurd; no two people with so much contempt for each other would just kiss and make-up so easily. Still, despite everything, this is a better film than the first. That doesn't mean the first isn't good, it is, but this one is simply more polished and more faithful to the novel.