Tag line: Tim Burton back at his best.
Subtitle: Why people who love a movie should never watch the remake.
Why do we all love Tim Burton? I don’t know about you, but I have always loved his absurd humor, his digging deep into the human soul to find out there is levity in there, to an extent that other people can’t seem to find. No matter which of his movies you go to, you’ll see something magic happen, usually something pleasant and pleasing.
My first Tim Burton was Beetlejuice. I saw it, marveled at the accuracy of the shots, realized how grossly dramatic the whole thing was, and all of a sudden it reeked of what theater should have evolved into when it became movies. Then there were so many other movies, each of them a gem (more or less). And there was Johnny Depp, who starred Burton’s Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow.
So you get a quirky director, a quirky actor and arguably one of the quirkiest stories ever written. What’s going to come out? You betcha, something megaquirky. And that’s exactly what Charlie and the Chocolate Factory turned into.
There is one unfortunate side effect: this is not the first time that the novel by Roald Dahl has been made into a movie. The first one, with Gene Wilder in the role of Willi Wonka, was a moderate success at first, but then turned into a huge cult hit with children of all ages. Which is where the subtitle above comes from.
That Willi Wonka was a tale of cynicism and despair, where this one is of drama and hope. Gene Wilder’s Willi Wonka was wise; Johnny Depp’s is childish and impatient. So many things are different in the two movies, those who loved the first one are likely to be put off by this one.
Still, I loved it. The first scene in which Willy Wonka appears is almost absurdly comic, with a high-pitched Depp looking so scarily similar to Michael Jackson that you almost think there is a tragic mistake; the scene ends up having the same creepiness that any interview with Michael Jackson has, when he refers to the innocence of his sleeping with little boys in one bed.
I was particularly interested in how the movie would go about the Oompa Loompas – little people in the first incarnation, a huge political correctness blunder. Well, Burton came up with a solution, and had one average sized actor play ALL of them, and then digitally shrank him into the movie. Well done!
What else? This movie has much better special effects, of course. More importantly, it is much more interested in the person Willy Wonka than the other movie, which is quite amusing considering the older title referenced him and not the child.
Please, go and see it. And if you don’t appreciate the musical numbers in this one, I don’t know if you deserve going to a movie.