Sunday, August 07, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a tasty treat

I never thought I’d say this, but the original movie version of Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket remains my favorite. Now, I’m a very big Johnny Depp fan and I had great expectations for this film, with him as Willy Wonka, but unfortunately, his portrayal of the famous “candy man” was a little too strange and creepy for me. But overall, the film was great entertainment and a lot of fun.

Of course, everyone knows the story of the ominous chocolate factory that no one ever goes in or out of, but it still manages to churn out millions of bars of chocolate. One day, Willy Wonka decides to open his chocolate factory to five children for a tour and some treats. He devises a contest to find these five children. Golden tickets are hidden in the wrapping of five chocolate bars and the five children who find them will be able to go into the factory. Honestly, I think Wonka must have been experiencing a sales slump and saw this as a great marketing device, as Coca-Cola and Pepsi do every summer with their various “under the cap” prizes. I’m still bitter that I didn’t win the Dr Pepper Mini Cooper this summer.

Everyone knows about the four horrible children who won the tickets by devious means and eventually get themselves into trouble at the factory. Everyone also knows about the very poor and innocent child who is kind, humble, and gentle. It is this child, Charlie Bucket, who is truly deserving of his Golden Ticket. It is this child who doesn’t get himself into any trouble and who eventually wins the contest within the contest, simply because he’s the only one left at the end of the day.

I won’t belabor the plot because, as I said, everyone knows what happens in the story. I will, however, talk about the differences between the original movie and this one. One addition I truly enjoyed was the back story about Wonka himself. Obviously this man is so screwed up because he has what we like to call “daddy issues.” Daddy is played brilliantly by Christopher Lee, who is as menacing as a dentist in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as he was as Saruman, the evil wizard in Lord of the Rings.

Another amazing part about this movie would have to be the special effects and sets. I don’t know how much of the sets were CGI, but they were amazing! I particularly enjoyed “The Chocolate Room” with the chocolate river and the trees and grass and everything made of some type of candy. This was one of my favorite parts of the original, and I was thrilled that they didn’t alter it too much. The kids and their stories were pretty much the same, which was good. Casting was excellent, especially Charlie. This little actor will be doing movies for a good long while, especially since he has apparently made friends with Johnny Depp during the filming of Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has a lot of talent for such a young boy and he’s just precious!

Another difference is the music. The kids don’t sing at all, and the Oompa Loompa songs are of various styles with tunes that aren’t really catchy or memorable. It was cool that they incorporated so many different styles, but I really missed the old versions of the songs, which were extremely catchy and fun.

Basically, I will say that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may become a classic for this generation of kids, but those of us who knew and loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder will always remember it more fondly than this new film. And that’s okay.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Wow, very interesting. I may be the only person who hasn't seen the original movie though I see I'm not the only one to have missed out on that cute mini cooper! I think your review has helped me make a crucial decision - not to see this. I'll wait for the DVD possibly.

    Though I love Johnny Depp and think he's one of the best actors we have nowadays this movie never quite grabbed me my attention enough to want to chance it, and waste my money. At least you gave me pertinent facts, though I knew the young actor was in Neverland I didn't know Christopher Lee was in this! I might have gone had I known.