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Friday, July 29, 2005

Film Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)
Dir. Tim Burton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka, the amazing chocolatier, Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka, everybody give a cheer. He's modest, clever, and so smart he barely can explain it, with so much generosity, there is just no way to contain it… Yes the golden tickets have landed across the country and now you are cordially invited to visit Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory – so ask yourself this question - do you have a taste for adventure?

Tim ‘Beetle Juice’ Burton is the brave director who tackles Roald Dahl's much-loved tale of confectionary overload, childhood development and a certain mischievous man/child genius (no, not Michael Jackson)… And this version is an altogether superior offering to the Mel Stuart's 1971 enjoyable psychedelic musical starring Gene Wilder, although I did miss my favourite line from that one where Wonka replies to the frantic mother’s plea that her drowning son can’t swim with; “There's no better time to learn.”

Everything on screen is sumptuously presented, the factory itself has a real ‘wow’ factor and the Oompa Loompa’s are now a mini army of clones (well, all played by the same actor at least). Johnny Depp shows just what an inspired casting choice he was with his pleasingly weird responses and killer deadpan expressions. He still gets plenty of humorous moments – I loved the scene in the nut sorting room where he cries “Don't touch the squirrel's nuts! You'll drive him crazy!!” and the overall feel is certainly darker but not enough to really disturb. Christopher Lee is drafted in as Wonka Senior for some impressive flashbacks of Wonka’s childhood, which really help, build up a twisted sense of empathy for the wacko candy maker.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory works on all levels – my 8-year-old son Luke lapped it up and declared it the best film he’s seen this year. So I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to you for your viewing pleasure. As Depp explained in a recent interview: “You think it’s going in one direction and then it slams you with another alternative, another route, and makes you think. At its centre, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a great morality tale. But there’s also a lot of magic and fun.” Yes, if it’s magic and fun that you’re looking for then go and join young Charlie (a superb performance from Freddie Highmore if you were wondering) on his adventure in the chocolate factory.

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (a Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight!)

Reviews of other films and stuff you might want to read indexed here

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