As A Tim Burton Event and even as a remake, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory feels a little TOO predictable and ‘robotic’ at times (Hollywood/ILM/Elfman etc. TOO well-oiled a machine now!) – the latter criticism ironic perhaps given the somewhat laboured ‘ahhh humanity’ scenes and dialogue scattered throughout. A sense of ‘going through the motions’ and ‘paying the bills’ pervaded much of the two hours. I don’t doubt
The whole thing does feel irrevocably
The creepy images are matched in number by moral messages dished out by Depp (reliable as ever) as Wonka, Charlie and his family (save for the glorious but typecast Liz Smith as the senile granny) and director throughout – something that hadn’t seemed as apparent in Burton’s previous films, but then this is his most out-and-out kids flick yet and there’s a strong sense of an increased responsibility to teach lessons from him here, whilst cackling nerdily at the spoilt kids all the way. Again it’s not a case of disagreeing with these messages (esp. as most have not changed since the original film and indeed the book), just an indication of curiosity with regard to the way they are issued. Depp’s warped genius of a Wonka comes across just as scatter-brained and laissez-faire as Wilder’s all in all, though as talented and as game as he is, he lacks quite the same charisma and comic timing I feel.
It had some magical moments (Charlie’s Grandad plays a blinder – his general benevolence threatened by a child-like selfishness when it comes to the question of who should accompany Charlie to the factory, followed by ridiculous celebratory dance just perfectly poignant) but lacked that extra spark somehow – unless I’m just too jaded for so dated a tale (quite likely!). It’s odd to see a story like this retold today – I was too cynically bemused by the confusing ‘English people in Americaland’ aspect once again. I would’ve liked to see Depp’s Wonka become angry at Charlie like Wilder’s did – the all too real rage of a distressed adult at an innocent child more frightening a spectacle than many of the things conceived by either Burton or Dahl. The most interesting part in theory was the final 15 minutes where
But Deep Roy is great fun and the all new Oompa-Loompa songs also stand up pretty well to the original ones. This is a fun soundtrack to compliment the original rather than baulk in it’s shadow or sneer at it from deceptive heights. I’m sure