Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chocolates Are A Girl's Best Friend

I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, as you might suspect, make this telling of the Roald Dahl tale rather...interesting, but the film was all-in-all a very pleasant surprise. I was worried Depp's androgenous-looking Willy Wonka would throw me off to the whole film and the previews I saw seemed a bit over the top, but the complete movie shows that the excesses of the director, lead actor and Dahl himself are in place to make the story's message strikingly clear. That message, of course, is that the good will be rewarded and the not-so-good will, by their own merits (or lack thereof), receive their due as well.

This adaptation of the book (which is one of the few Dahl tales I have not read) is much darker and stranger than the first film but serves the story well. Particularly helpful is the addition of backstory into Wonka's childhood and motivation for becoming the world's most infamous chocolatier. This film, unlike the first, puts Wonka and Charlie on equal footing and gives each the opportunity to learn something from the other. The only thing I think I preferred in the first film was its vision of the Oompa Loompas. The ones in this movie are a bit too modern, a bit too polished, a bit too distant. The only other complaint I had with the movie it is sometimes difficult to hear the lyrics to the songs the Oompa Loompas sing after each child meets his fate. But a thumbs up overall.