Image Courtesy of Amazon.com
Johnny Depp……….Willy Wonka
Freddie Highmore……….Charlie Bucket
David Kelly……….Grandpa Joe
Helena Bonham Carter……….Mrs. Bucket
Noah Taylor……….Mr. Bucket
Missi Pyle……….Mrs. Beauregarde
James Fox……….Mr. Salt
Deep Roy……….Oompa Loompa
Christopher Lee……….Dr. Wonka
Adam Godley……….Mr. Teavee
Franziska Troegner……….Mrs. Gloop
Annasophia Robb……….Violet Beauregarde
Julia Winter……….Veruca Salt
Jordon Fry……….Mike Teavee
Philip Wiegratz……….Augustus Gloop
If you’re going to remake a movie held in high regard by the masses, it’s hard to think that anyone would try to redo Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It has been crowned with legendary status from constant replays over the years. It is a classic movie with a classic portrayal from Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka; if anyone would be up for the task it’d be Tim Burton and his favorite actor, Johnny Depp.
Depp stars and Burton directs in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the remake of Wonka. Entitled after the book in which both are based off, Depp steps into Wilder’s role as the enigmatic Willy Wonka; Depp’s strength as an actor has always been to embrace a sort of man-child persona. Wonka is the sort of character almost custom-built for an actor like Depp; Wonka is the proprietor of a chocolate factory that none have been allowed to visit. One day he devises a genius marketing strategy: he hides five golden tickets inside five randomly chosen candy bars, letting the recipient gain an all-access tour of the factory. With millions of bars being sold and devoured for this once in a lifetime tour, five rather different children wind up with golden tickets.
Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), the poster child for Chocoholics Anonymous, finds the first ticket. Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), the most spoiled girl in England, gets the second. Violet Beauregarde (Annasophia Robb) gets the third ticket and wants to win at everything. Mike Teavee (Jordon Fry), a video game junkie gets the fourth. Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), a poor kid who gets one bar of Wonka chocolate per year, wins the very last ticket and entrance into Wonka’s realm. Highmore brings a fantastic depth and quality to Charlie; Charlie is an underdog and Highmore is fantastic.
The factory itself is fantastically rendered, as well. Burton and crew really went all out in creating their own version of the factory. It is absolutely breath-taking as Wonka and company make their way through the tour; the factory is child-like wonderland that is just magnificent. Burton has created a masterpiece of architecture and imagination in his chocolate factory; as the movie progresses the level of creativity and marvel increases with each new place to visit.
While Burton doesn’t stray too far from his source material, the way he crafts the story is a very entertaining and well-paced. With some well-placed distractions, from the Oompa-Loompas (Deep Roy, CGI cloned), what is most off-setting is its lead actor.
Long counted on to be the strength of many a movie, Depp’s performance is rather lackluster as the chocolate king. His version of Wonka is more creepy than creative. Burton’s Wonka is a dark character and given the sort of depth, as Burton gives the character much more in terms of depth then it previously had. Depp seems out of his league; seemingly imitating Michael Jackson, his Willy Wonka comes could be mistaken for a pedophile as opposed to a business tycoon.
Score : 7.5 / 10
Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Charlie looks great. This is a movie that thrives upon fantastic visuals and the DVD transfer delivers. On the small screen the film is still as breathtakingly good as it was in the theatre.
Presented in a Dolby 5.1 EX audio format, the film’s score and the dance numbers sound amazing. The audio really pushes the envelope, as the film sounds as good as it looks.
With a second disc included with extras, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is swamped with extra features.
Becoming Oompa-Loompa focuses on Deep Roy and the inherent demands of being the entire cast of Oompa-Loompas. From nearly 60 takes of some scenes to the sort of animatronics used to further help make the impression of hundreds of identical Oompa-Loompas, it’s a seven minute look at Deep Roy and his digital selves.
Making the Mix are a series of featurettes featuring Burton, Depp and other people talking about aspects of the film. From how the film was created to Depp’s role in the film, as well as the inherent goofiness of the film, it’s a broad overview of the films meshed with a “making of” feel. It contains a certain amount of fluff, for sure, but there are certain insights from the cast and crew as everyone involved in the movie talks about everything related to the movie with a real love of it.
Attack of the Squirrels is a featurette based on how they trained the squirrels used in the nut-cracking scene to do what they do. Running around 10 minutes, it’s incredibly fascinating to see just how they trained the squirrels as this wasn’t a CGI effect. While they did use some puppets and some CGI to fill out the remaining 160 squirrels from the 40 real ones they used, it’s impressive to see how they created the whole thing.
Fantastic Mr. Dahl profiles the creator of the book series that the film is based on. Featuring archival interviews and some stories told by his children, his widow and his grandchildren, the featurette profiles the sort of man it took to create the children’s book series he did. From a glimpse into his writing hut as well as some of his drawings, it’s an 18 minute look that gives the viewer an interesting insight into the man behind the books.
The Bad Nut is a video game that allows you to try and get good nuts to the squirrels to thaw. Easy to learn, it’s fun in spurts but not designed for anyone over the age of 10.
Oompa-Loompa Dance doubles as an informational extra and interactive game. One can learn how to do either or the large dance numbers featured in the film as well as play a video game where you can keep Deep Roy dancing. It’s harmless fun.
The Inventing Machine allows you to concoct new flavors of candy for the Oompa-Loompas to taste. More harmless fun, as it gets old pretty quick if you’re over the age of 10.
Search for the Golden Ticket is the last interactive game. You get to play the five children and find the golden ticket. Still harmless fun, it is a pretty engaging and interesting game to play for a bit. More harmless children’s fodder, though.
Trading Cards are included with each release.
Score : 10 / 10