Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Cast: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rating: 8/10

CORPORATE LINE: Most nights in the Bucket home, dinner is a watered-down bowl of cabbage soup, which young Charlie (FREDDIE HIGHMORE) gladly shares with his mother (HELENA BONHAM CARTER) and father (NOAH TAYLOR) and both pairs of grandparents. Theirs is a tiny, tumbledown, drafty old house but it is filled with love. Every night, the last thing Charlie sees from his window is the great factory, and he drifts off to sleep dreaming about what might be inside.

For nearly fifteen years, no one has seen a single worker going in or coming out of the factory, or caught a glimpse of Willy Wonka (JOHNNY DEPP) himself, yet, mysteriously, great quantities of chocolate are still being made and shipped to shops all over the world. One day Willy Wonka makes a momentous announcement. He will open his famous factory and reveal “all of its secrets and magic” to five lucky children who find golden tickets hidden inside five randomly selected Wonka chocolate bars.

Something wonderful happens and Charlie finds some money on the snowy street and takes it to the nearest store for a Wonka Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight, thinking only of how hungry he is and how good it will taste. There, under the wrapper is a flash of gold. It’s the last ticket. Charlie is going to the factory!

Once inside, Charlie is dazzled by one amazing sight after another.

THE GOOD: What would the world be without Johnny Depp? Certainly Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Carribean, and now Willy Wonka would have stunk big time. Depp single-handedly made these films interesting. Depp owns these characters and there is no way you could imagine them once he’s engaged you.

As Wonka, Depp is weird in a not-so-good-but-really-interesting-thus-good way. I’m guessing that makes almost no sense.

Depp makes insane seem normal and even finds a way to make Ed Wood seem less peculiar with this character known as Willy Wonka. Gene Wilder made the character bizarre and yet wholesome while Depp goes straight for bizarre. And that is the brilliance. The face, the wacky smile, and the whole bit is curiously odd but delightful.

There is more. The entire environment is all Burton. Burton has a way of taking you out of the world we know and transporting the viewer to another creation all together. The Bucket home is some sort of odd sideways house—and then there is the factory.

More than the way the film looks, Burton’s entire vision of Dahl’s work is entirely different from the first. Burton didn’t just remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That would be like telling a parent that they had two children and the second was just a remake of the first. This is a whole new child altogether.

THE NOT-REALLY-BAD-BUT-NOT-SO-GOOD: Although this isn’t intended to say the film is bad, because I thoroughly enjoyed it—however I wouldn’t bring my young daughter to see this. Children over the age of 10 or maybe a little younger might like it however Depp is actually pretty eerie. Kids might not like his whole crazy smile because lets be honest—it’s creepy. We all know someone who doesn’t like clowns because they are creepy right? You will soon know how that person feels when you see Depp. He’s funny but creepy—funny for adults but not necessarily for kids. And the Ooompa-Loompas are very disturbing and creepy for kids—yet once again adults love them because they are creepy.

FRANKLY: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the better films to have come out in ’05 thanks to Depp. Without Depp it’s hard to imagine the Chocolate Factory being nearly as interesting. Sure the effects are cool but often the effects mug everything else. Depp brings it all into twisted perspective.

The entire experience of watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is like Christmas. You get more and more and yet you can never have enough.

+ Charlie Craine

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