Saturday, July 16, 2005

"Charlie" Was A Bust

Two years ago, when I heard there would be a remake of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton, I was completely excited. I just KNEW it would be good. I mean, who can match the magic that happens when Burton and Depp get together?!? No one can. No one.

I thought that until last night, anyway. I almost feel guilty saying that it wasn't a great movie, but it's my opinion that it just . . . isn't. Several people told me I shouldn't watch it, it wasn't going to be any good, nothing can top the original, etc. But how could I not watch it? If it was bad, I had to know.

So the theatre was packed -- in fact, two showings were sold out. Did these people agree with me? Did they think it was going to be the BEST EVER???

The first third of the movie was good. True to Burton-esque form, the cinematography was weird yet fascinating, and the colors were exciting and vibrant. The title character was played excellently by Freddie Highmore, as was Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz). Those actors were by far my favorites. I even liked them better than Johnny Depp. There were a few lines from Depp, though, that were great, but I don't think his performance was outstanding -- not even close to his Jack Sparrow. The set design was fantastic, but maybe a little too over-the-top in some scenes.

For me, the scene where the movie broke down was just after Augustus fell into the chocolate river. The Oompa Loompas started singing (Incidentally, the Oompa Loompas were played by one actor, Deep Roy.), and it was really over from there. I don't mind musicals AT ALL, but the music has to be solid or it just doesn't work. And so, the song routines were the scenes I disliked the most. I think Burton should've skipped that altogether. He also shouldn't have told a Wonka backstory, but then again, I suppose he had to add something to the remake to really make it his own.

But there's something else that just isn't right about it, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's just that it isn't the original, but I don't think that's it. I think I'm pretty open to re-creations and improvements and new productions; I went to see the movie, didn't I? And I don't think the original was absolutely perfect; it was also an adaptation. So what was it? That's a question I'm posing to you, readers. Let me know what YOU think.

P.S. I think we will see a return of the Burton/Depp magic in "Corpse Bride," which will come out later this year. If you haven't seen the trailer, watch it here.

2 Comments:

Blogger Blake said...

Yeah, I was never going to see this movie. Burton and Depp are good, but this thing had disaster written all over it. And what's with that creepy Depp smile?

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

I was talking about the film with a friend of mine after seeing it and he asked if I thought Depp was doing Jacko? I said I hadn't thought about that. Evidently, there is some speculation that he based his characterization of Willy Wonka in part on Michael Jackson! Give you the Willies? hahahaha Couldn't resist that one. The more I think about the movie, the more I think that it was Deep Roy as the multiple Oompa Loompas that destroyed it. Well, not him personally. Burton just didn't seem to know what to do with him/them. The musical numbers were horrendous and unnecessary. Burton did try to tie up Wonka's backstory at the end of the film, but the follow-through just wasn't there. I think he got bored with the production and was already considering "Corpse Bride" when he was making "Charlie." That's too bad. But here's hoping that "Corpse Bride" makes up for it.

5:20 PM  

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