Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

There was a sense of excitement amongst us when it was first revealed that Tim Burton was going ahead with creating remake of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ with Johnny Depp starring as the ever unconventional Willy Wonka. Now the finished product has been released to provide enjoyment for audiences of all ages. Those of us over the age of 30 will feel a sense of nostalgia with memories of the Mel Stuart classic of 1971, whereas younger viewers will be as inspired by the visual delights.

The movie looks amazing. If you are a fan of Tim Burton, whose past works include Sleepy Hollow, Batman and Edward Scissorhands, you will no doubt be expecting all the darkness and weirdness associate with this talented director. This movie certainly delivers. There are dark, gothic settings with scenes that encapsulate the poverty aspect of Charlie’s background life with effective atmosphere.

When the audience is taken into the world that is the chocolate factory itself, it is near impossible not to notice the intense use of colour. It makes it easy to make a comparison of dark to light to back a change in location for the character Charlie. An alternative reality, there is a sense that the youngster is indeed walking into a dream. The initial scenes in the factory are pink with candy floss everywhere. It is like stepping into a sweet shop as our senses of sight and sound are taken over to provide a sense of place. We can only imagine other senses such as smell, but the clever use of visuals compensates for this.

The use of music is effective in relating to the narrative. This, of course includes the songs by the Oompa Loompas which complement the scenes with irony. Music is composed by Danny Elfman, whom has regularly collaborated with Burton in the past.

All the Oompa Loompas are played by just one actor. Deep Roy (what a great name to have) has acted out over one hundred roles which have been manipulated with the use of CGI technology to appear that there are a whole tribe of factory employees dancing before us.

The best aspect of this movie has to be Depp’s performance as the eccentric Mr Wonka. He gives us a character that is strange yet different to that of Gene Wilder in the 70’s original. Although the actor has never confirmed this idea, whilst watching Depp, we get a sense that he must have based his performance on Michael Jackson. Despite looking more like Marilyn Manson, the way he talks and the nervous laugh; together with the overall childlike demeanour are very much like that of Jacko.

In terms of downsides to this movie, there are a few Americanisms thrown into what initially felt like a British tale. The setting of Charlie’s homeland certainly bears feelings associated with Northern England. The dialogue later turns to talk of dollars and the taking of vacations. It is odd that they should do that, though it is obviously to make the movie appeal to the American market. It is certainly noticeable.

When we read the Roald Dahl classic in our youths, we come up with our own conclusions with our imagination to what the chocolate factory would look and sound like. One concern we might have is that no matter how stunning Burton made his movie, it would still have to compete with our own mind’s images. Yet this comes very close to how I imagined it.

That said, there are no real surprises in that most of us already know the story, so we know what is going to happen. The movie is just going through the motions. However, it is enjoyable to see it happen before us. Whether we have seen the original movie or not, to see this return to the big screen after more than 30 years is an amazing and eclectic spectacle.

Something to watch out for is the nut-room scene, in which real squirrels sit on stools, shell nuts and drop them on a conveyer belt. According to an article in Time magazine, it took an animal trainer 19 weeks to teach 40 squirrels this trick.
I've just seen the film and I think it is far superior to the origional Gene Wilder movie, with a darker sense to the movie, much like many of Dhal's stories. I found the setting far less American and far more like that described in the origional book, however I do agree that it was slightly frustrating that American ciloquialisms were used- Candy, dollars, vacation- Im not too sure why any one felt this was necessary it is not as though Americans cannot understand the English words used by Dahl. I thought Depp played the character of Wonka extremely well, creating an amusing, yet slightly disturbing character. Although I did find the Oompa Loompa's a bit odd, with their 'boyband' type quality. Overall a brilliant film, far better than the origional and almost as good as the story.:)


New member
Hmm thats tough, its a very strange but very entertaining movie.

Burton at his highest and Deep at his craziest