Monday, August 01, 2005

Movie Review(Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), our main protagonist, comes from a poverty-stricken family, living in a crooked house with three generations of other Buckets, including Grandpa Joe (David Kelly). Charlie dreams of winning one of five golden tickets to visit Wonka’s chocolate factory. Able to afford but one bar of Wonka chocolate per year, the odds of him finding the bar containing a golden ticket are anything but favourable. A lucky chain of events unfolds which sees Charlie and Joe visiting the revered factory for a day they will never forget.

This is not a remake of the 1971 Gene Wilder movie. This is both the better movie and the better adaptation of the source material. Screenwriter John August has adapted elements from both Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’ and combined them to form a well-rounded story and satisfying conclusion that was missing from the 1971 effort.

Tim Burton’s films are always interesting. The man has a unique visual sensibility, a style of his own which absolutely reeks of eccentricity. The man who brought us Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and Beetle Juice, has once again been inspired by a reclusive misfit; someone who just doesn’t fit into normal society. Mr. Willy Wonka.

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ marks his fourth collaboration with Johnny Depp after ‘Edward Scissorhands’, ‘Ed Wood’, and ‘Sleepy Hollow’. They’re obviously on the same page artistically, which explains how Burton seems to coax great performances from him. Depps’ Wonka is a jarring creation. At once creepy and innocent, comparisons to a certain pale-skinned ‘King of Pop’ are hardly uninvited but the comparison begins and ends with the physical presentation of Wonka. In truth, he despises children (and parents), gleefully excited by the torment inflicted upon Mike Teevee, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop, after they loose the run of themselves in his factory.

Production designer Alex McDowell has a field day catering to Burton’s outlandish vision for the world in which the story unfolds. The chocolate factory itself represents an explosion of imagination, while special mention must go to the chocolate built palace, the new and improved Oompa Loopas, and Danny Elfmans wonderful melding of his own score and music with Dahl’s written word. Funny, wildly inventive, and catering for both adults and children on numerous levels, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is highly recommended viewing.

4 out of 5