This is actually a movie I first watched years and years ago, but a few weeks back when I found myself within the mind numbing glow of cable television it was on once again as part of a Christmas movie marathon. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me in retrospect, as I don’t really remember Christmas being mentioned in the movie whatsoever. But, ehh, we’ll roll with this.
This 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the first movie remakes to follow a certain trend. Namely: if we take a childhood classic and make it hideously creepy, everyone wins. Not that the original movie, wherein a group of children slowly get consumed by their own terrible ways and essentially eaten by a candy factory, was entirely not spooky. But hey, Tim Burton was involved with this, so it was bound to cause nightmares to someone regardless of what the plot was.
Hi again, by the way. It’s me, Tophat. Elrood is being held by a war crimes tribunal for what he did to poor, poor Enosh, so I’m filling in for him this week too. How about that? Impromptu Tophat week! YOU ARE WELCOME.
I’ll admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Back in third grade, my class, for some reason I’m not entirely certain of, decided to put on a play. This play was none other than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My class had studied the film and book regarding this tale extensively (and yes, I did have nightmares about getting sucked up the chocolate tubes and about those horrible Oompa Loompas for months afterwards) and we even had a script and everything. After extensive auditions, I was assigned to the very important role of “Narrator 2,” which had about three lines and also ran the lights, far away where no one could see me. Yeah, a career in acting was never in the cards for me.
Anyway, Tim Burton’s version of this tale was a little different from the one acted out by my third grade class, though the premise remains the same. Five children win a contest (though most of them either buy their way to victory or cheat their way into the winning slots) set up by the mysterious Wonka candy company, run by brilliant yet reclusive candy maker Willie Wonka. Four of the children are horrible. We have Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz) who eats his body weight in chocolate, Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb), who is apparently the chewing gum champion of the world (is this a thing? I really hope this isn’t a real thing), Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), the spoiled daddy’s girl, and Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry) who is some kind of horrible psychotic monster child from playing too many video games. We’ve all been there, right?
Rounding out the cast is Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) who is the main character. Though, honestly, not the most interesting. Charlie is from a poor family, an everyman character and all around nice kid. BORING.
The film is pretty basic until the five children, accompanied by the parental guardians (who are played by a bunch of other actors, I guess) reach the chocolate factory. From there Willie Wonka, or rather Johnny Depp’s portrayal of him, take over.
This version of Willie Wonka is a bit more sadistic. While it’s never explicitly stated in the film, you get the feeling that he knew damn well what would happen if he gave those kids access to certain rooms, or that he could have stopped some disaster from happening before it started. He chooses not to do this, as Willie Wonka has little patience for horrible people, or children.
He’s also affects a the high-pitched, sing-songy vocal traits of Michael Jackson, making him more than a little creepy. That’s about all you need to know about the plot, though honestly? Is there anyone who does NOT know what happens in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I mean, come on.
I like this version better than the one I watched back in third grade, which was made in 1971 and featured Gene Wilder, I guess. This is because unlike the 1971 version, there was 75% less creepy boat tunnel screaming scenes. Also, while the old Oompa Loompa songs are indeed classics, I really enjoy the newer ones for some reason. They’re every bit as creepy as the old songs ever were (all of the oompa loompas are played by Deep Roy, for the record… wait really? His name is Deep Roy? What.) but they’re also catchy. Oh, and weird. So friggin’ weird.
The only addition I can think of to this story is a section about Willie Wonka’s past. The jury is still out on this one. I can’t decide if this addition was good or if it was pretty unnecessary. The whole “corporate spy” aspect of the 1971 film was removed, as was the part where Charlie has to burp to live, for what that’s worth.
Anyway. I’m not so sure Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a good Christmas movie, but it definitely is one you should watch, if you haven’t already. Depp plays his creepy role well, and watching those little jerks get whats coming to them doesn’t fill me with as much horror as it did back when I was a little jerk myself. It also makes me want to get some candy. Not badly enough to be eaten alive by a candy factory, mind you.
I don’t usually post scenes from the movies I review in here, but Oompa Loompa songs? I love them so, so much. SPOILERS IN THERE. Don’t click if you’d rather just watch the film.
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: AnnaSophia Robb, Augustus Gloop, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp, Jordan Fry, Julia Winter, Mike Teavee, Philip Wiegratz, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde |