Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ten Statements About....CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005)

This is not the scariest character in this film.
"Everything in this room is eatable. Even I am eatable. But that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies."

1) I think many people are down on this--maybe because it marks the beginning of Burton's regression toward only adapted material. But it does mark a near-perfect fusion of filmmaker and source material, and as such is pretty unique.

2) I'm surprised how, even though both it and the earlier movie based on the film, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (I really can't call this a remake; both films take the book and go off into very different directions with it) are similar in length, this one moves a lot quicker. But then, since Burton is more interested in presenting a truer interpretation of Dahl's original, he needed to speed up the front half so he could do the material the first film left out of their script.

...this is.  I mean, seriously--see her coming, and RUN!
3) Julia Winters, who plays Veruca Salt, may very well be the single creepiest child in the history of the world. That first shot of her smiling for the cameras holding the golden ticket is positively terrifying.

4) I'm going to say it--Johnny Depp's interpretation of Willy Wonka isn't as effective as Gene Wilder's in the first one. Depp's performance is all artifice and facial tics, and comes off more weird than creepy like Wilder's. Granted, I suspect Depp developed all this strange behavior so that when the third act hits Willy becomes more natural the more he comes to realize his need for a family, but the bulk of the film it's like he's jumping up and down screaming 'Look At Me! I's WACKY!'

5) Man, I love seeing Christopher Lee, whose acting is every bit as effective at this age as it was in the 60's. I'm sure they used some CGI to de-age him in the flashbacks....but it wouldn't have worked without Lee being able to change his vocal qualities to sound younger.

6) The true hero of this film, however, is the one-two punch of Danny Elfman and Deep Roy. I love how Elfman utilizes a different musical style in each of the musical numbers, and Roy's physical acting gives many of his OompaLoompas different personalities and attitudes. It may be Elfman's voice, but it's Roy's performance that gives those songs life.

In my nightmares, I am carried away by a Viking Ship full
of Deep Roys....
7) Apparently, a lot of people were up for the role of Granpa Joe, including Christopher Lloyd...but I cannot think of anyone who would have fit this version of the film as well as David Kelly. A more famous face would not have worked, and Kelly's physicality (there's that word again) and chemistry with young Freddie Highmore makes the character come alive.

8) I like the fact that John August's screenplay has some of the parents--particularly Mr. Salt--learn a lesson or two as well. I still feel a swell of satisfaction when James Fox expresses more emotion than he's expressed in the movie to finally refuse Veruca something she wants.

9) This is another one of these films where I kind of, sort of accept the use of CGI. Since there is a lot of fanciful elements, and the movie is never meant to be 100% realistic, shots of some of the stranger rooms, the glass elevator and other stuff done with computers make sense. In fact, the only time the CGI feels off is when we're introduced to the machine that costs Charlie's father his job.

10) There is a definite sense of ghoulishness and grossness throughout...but since Roald Dahl delighted in infusing his children's book with a touch of gross, it works here--once again, we're talking a fusion of director and source material that is very right.

Overall...a film that is sometimes unjustly denigrated, and also unjustly dismissed as just a remake, this is a fairly faithful adaptation of the Dahl original done by a director whose sensibilities fit Dahl's weird storytelling sensibilities like a glove.

(And no promises, but look for a Ten Statements about Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory in the coming days.)

1 comment:

  1. thank you for your article :)

    I'm Irfianti from Indonesia