I’m a big fan of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but I must admit that this remake improves on it in many ways. There is so much that rivals or exceeds its predecessor, from the casting of the bratty kids and showing their ultimate fates to the Oompa-Loompa-that-is-many to the extravagant special effects that bring the chocolate factory to life. The songs, drawn from the book and sung by the versatile Danny Elfman, are at least just as good as Willy Wonka’s ditties and, as performed by Deep Roy, are much more varied and entertaining. (These songs also inspired the meter for the above poem.) While I prefer the first film’s Grandpa Joe, I actually like Freddie Highmore as Charlie better than Peter Ostrum. The minute changes in his character make him more noble and sweet, such as insisting they sell the golden ticket to help with the family’s finances. Indeed, he is the main draw as far as characters are concerned, making the change in the title from Willy Wonka to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fitting, especially because Willy Wonka is the film’s main hang-up.
I cannot get over how Johnny Depp (and, by extension, Tim Burton) ruins so many parts of this film. His portrayal of Willy Wonka as not just eccentric, but as an effeminate, traumatized weirdo makes me appreciate Gene Wilder’s performance even more. Every scene Depp is in, from his initial disturbing song introduction to his bizarre flashbacks, is undercut by his strange mannerisms and wimpy laugh. His eccentricity works in some roles, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, but here it’s just plain annoying and creepy. While I can appreciate the film despite Depp’s strangeness, my VC finds him and the overly bratty kids a little too hard to ignore and dislikes the film as a whole. Still, the great musical numbers, special effects, and endearing depiction of Charlie Bucket make Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the only Tim Burton film to make it on my list.
Best line: (Grandma Georgina, when the glass elevator lands in the middle of the Buckets’ residence) “I think there’s someone at the door.”Artistry: 6 Characters/Actors: 6 Entertainment: 6 Visual Effects: 8 Originality: 7 Watchability: 5 Other (Johnny Depp’s weirdness): -8 TOTAL: 30 out of 60
Tomorrow: #316: Chicken Run
© 2014 S. G. Liput