by Philip Ellwood - Wednesday 3rd August 2005
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is without a doubt the most anticipated film of the summer. Since the announcement that Tim Burton was reinterpreting the classic Roald Dahl story with Johnny Depp as the deeply troubled Willy Wonka, details have not exactly been forthcoming. Only a limited number of stills were released from the film and absolutely no footage until a few weeks before when the theatrical trailer was released.
As you probably know Charlie & The Chocolate Factory tells the story of a little boy, Charlie Bucket, who against odds finds one of five golden tickets hidden in Wonka Bars by Willy Wonka winning the opportunity to visit the infamous chocolate factory. Charlie, accompanied by his grandfather, joins four other lucky winners for the experience of a lifetime.
All in all Burton‘s remake doesn‘t stray too far from the original source material or the original movie. Johnny Depp‘s Willy Wonka is far more sinister and complex than Gene Wilder‘s. He portrays Wonka as a recluse genius who is detached from the trappings of the real world. Depp‘s performance carries the film and is sure to be considered one of his greatest roles in years to come. The child actors all turn in sterling performances too. Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket shines out and proves just why he is at the forefront of young UK talent. His performance is genuine and sensitive and his interaction with Depp is magnificent.
Unfortunately as great as the film looks it is not without its flaws. Burton has injected a backstory to explain why Willy Wonka is the way he is. This serves as nothing other than a distraction from the main film and results in an ending high on the schmaltz scale. My other criticism would be the use of only Deep Roy as an Oompa Loompa. It would have been nicer to have seen a few different Oompa Loompas than one multiplied all the time.
I left the cinema feeling like I‘d had an immense sugar rush but was ultimately disappointed. Don‘t get me wrong I enjoyed the film and I‘m sure the kids will love it but I‘d rather watch the original any day. Credit to Burton for trying but next time leave out the sentimental schmaltz.
Director - Tim Burton
Distributor - Warner Bros
UK Release Date: 29th August 2005
Celebrities Worldwide Rating - 6 out of 10