Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Directed by: Tim Burton
Screenplay: John August
Starring: Johnny Depp (Willy Wonka) and Freddie Highmore (Charlie Bucket)
I'd like to start off by saying that in spite of what many many people have been saying, this is not a remake. I'd also like to preface this by saying that I went into this film with the highest expectations you could possibly imagine. This has to do with the fact that Tim Burton directed it and he has been one of my favorites ever since I was a young child. That said, on with the review!
I would first like to commend Tim Burton and John August for sticking so incredibly close to the book. I was actually very impressed by that. So, in that respect, they did an awesome job. The acting was very good - I was most impressed with Freddie Highmore (Charlie Bucket, also can be seen in Finding Neverland). He did a fantastic job as young Charlie. Johnny Depp was great as well, however not as good as he usually is. Don't get me wrong, he was perfectly cast as Willy Wonka, he did so much with that role, but there was just something missing overall. I think that this could have easily been because the film was lacking a lot. But, before I get carried away, a brief synopsis of the story, in case there is someone out there (very doubtful) that is oblivious to the plot of the story.
Synopsis: Young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) comes from an extremely poor English family. His father, Mr. Bucket (Noah Taylor) works in a toothpaste factory, putting the caps onto tubes of toothpaste. Charlie's mother, Mrs. Bucket (Helena Bonham Carter) is a housewife. And also in their tiny, rundown household lives both sets of Charlie's grandparents (played by David Kelly, Liz Smith, David Morris, and Eileen Essell). Charlie's family is very loving, but so poor that poor Charlie only gets one Wonka Bar per year, for his birthday...
Willy Wonka is the world's most famous, most successful chocolatier - world famous for his offbeat candy. Willy Wonka's candy rivals, in order to get his secret recipes, send in spies, and eventually steal his secrets for such things as everlasting bubblegum. As a result of being infiltrated, Willy Wonka fires all of his employees and seemingly closes his chocolate factory for good.
One day, Willy Wonka makes an announcement that in his Wonka Bars, he has enclosed five golden tickets, and the five lucky children that win these tickets get a trip to his factory, including a tour, and one lucky child will get the "greatest prize of all"!
After a long greuling (sp?) process, five children get the golden tickets and make the journey to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, and comedic craziness ensues.
Good points: As aforementioned, they did a wonderful job of sticking to the book. It had an original flair, and was - in typical Tim Burton fashion, amazing to look at. Everyone involved in this film was perfectly cast. It had humorous moments, and the Oompa Loompas were absolutely fantastic (they used a single person - Deep Roy - and cgi'd him into millions of Oompa Loompas, ankle high, as they should have been in the first film adaptation). Danny Elfman did a fantastic job with the original score, as usual. Tim actually took the time out to show what everyone looked like as they were leaving the factory, as described in the book. And very little singing - that was the best part, to me.
Bad points: Where do I even begin? For one, there was cgi all over the place - in spots where there didn't even need to be! It was just a little too over the top for me. There was one story line (the chocolate palace) that felt completely thrown in, and added absolutely nothing to the film. The songs that the Oompa Loompas performe - big disappointment. The words were taken straight from the book, which I liked. However, the music for the songs was really ridiculous. It felt entirely too forced - I don't want to give too much away, so I will leave it at that. The ending was also entirely too sap-filled for my taste. He took the touching moment a bit too far, I felt. And my last complaint is that it wasn't nearly as dark as I felt it should have been. The 1970's Gene Wilder adaptation was much much darker in temperance, to match the book.
One problem I find, in watching films based on books, especially if adaptations of the books have been done before, is that it's increasingly hard not to compare the two films - whether they're remakes or not. However, it's interesting to see what Tim Burton's version had that the 1970's version did not, and vice versa.
Since this ended up being tons longer than I planned, I give this movie a score of 7.5/10