Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was an odd thing for me. I read the books as a child and can still remember both enjoying the original movie and being completely befuddled by it in what was my first experience watching a movie of a book I’d already read.
The book, like most of Dahl’s, had quite a dark tone at times, I remember not being scared as much as unsettled by it, and if you are anything like me then you’ll much prefer this movie to Gene Wilder’s sugar coated version. Although I should point out right now that the two movies, whilst sharing the same basic storyline, are as different as … well as Wangdoodles and Vermicious Knids.
Jonny Depp plays Willy Wonka, and we are given occasional flashbacks to his childhood to see just why he’s so eccentrically weird. Depp doesn’t play it for laughs and largely sets the tone this Willy Wonka has no twinkle in his eye when he’s talking to the children only when he’s talking about chocolate. This may be a children’s story but in the hands of Tim Burton it has the appropriate undertones.
The movie LOOKS great, and visually there’s always just too much going on to take in. A few weird continuity moments aside (where is it set? UK? then why use dollars?), the production and effects are excellent. Mention of Deep Roy must be made as the actor played ALL of the Oompa Loompas, reshooting scene after scene to give enough “versions” of himself that could be digitally manipulated. Apparently he got a raise for his sterling work.
All in all, it’s not as funny as the book, nor the Wilder movie, but it has it’s moments. Depp is a bit hit or miss, and there are a few longer moments that could have been trimmed. Mostly I think it’s a good marriage between author and director, with a large and very scrumpdiddleumptious helping of weird.