Wonka Is Back!
CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
(2005) 1 hour 58 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee
Director: Tim Burton
Genre: Fantasy Comedy
Mannara Rating: * * * *
O.K., I know what a lot of you are thinking, "Johnny Depp looks unbelievably disturbing in that preview. There is no earthly way you will ever get me to see that movie." Yeah, I know, that's what I said too.
But then, some friends/Tim Burton fans decided to go see it and came back raving. "Yes, I know it looks disturbing, but it's really not; the preview makes out to be a lot worse than it is." I still probably wouldn't have gone to see it had it not come to the local $2 theatre and the fact that at the time I just really needed to get away from papers, work, and campus in general. I went in, prepared for the worst, and came away in stitches. Hats off to Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.
Yes, Willie Wonka is weird, but he's suppose to be, and Depp really isn't that disturbing when you watch the movie itself. He's just quirky, like the best child's fantasy characters always are, and it's Johnny Depp we're talking about here, so the acting was superb. Not to mention the awsome job of Christopher Lee as . . . well, maybe you'll just have to watch the movie :-)
The story was straight from Roald Dahl's book, for those of you who writhed in pain during Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Plus, the Oompa Loompas, although I still like the older songs, are much better than the Gene Wilder version (as is Wonka himself) and Freddie Highmore is the best Charlie Bucket out there.
Beyond all that, even if you didn't like the book, or never read the book, or didn't even know there was a book, you've got to see this movie if just for the sets; Tim Burton typical, crooked and cool, exaggerated to think-like-a-child imaginative perfection. Truly, it puts Gene Wilder's little candy shop to shame. This factory is so imaginatively intricate and outlandish that you're just as excited as Charlie to see what's through the next door or around the next corner.
All in all? A spectacular work of confection and imagination, and certainly a must-see. Should be coming out on DVD November 8, 2005. Check it out!
Note: The below is a side note. I try not to judge movies on whether they are appropriate for kids; a raving review doesn't mean take your twelve-year-old. There are a lot of good things in life (like Dickens, Austen and parts of the Bible) that are not appropriate for kids but are good and worthy in their own right; one should not dismiss Pride & Prejudice because Lydia runs off with a man she's not married to, or Genesis for men who can't control their passions.
Is it for kids? Well, I'm not their parent and don't assume to be, so don't hold me responsible if you don't agree, but I think that at least for older children (12 & up) it's fine and fun, as long as they can deal with Burton's weird sets, costumes and characters. That's the best word I can find to describe it: weird, but wonderful. Some things might be odd and unsettling for younger viewers, and there may be a few imitative elements one might not wish to introduce (see the screenit.com review) but other than that, it's a lot of fun. However, you know your child best, not I.