August 07, 2005

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Tim Burton, 2005

8.0
a little puff pastry (easy but true). disclaimer - i've never seen the original Willy Wonka movie. i was actually adamant about it seeing it because a friend of mine who sat it came back with some so-so thoughts on it this week. but - if i had to see it it would be in a theater, so off i went. the film is classic Tim Burton. loads of primary colors, grandiose set designs, and a child's heart hanging in the balance. right off the bat, i was actually quite surprised by how much i was taken by the characters and their story. Burton has such an ease with characterization (while never ever falling into pandering). the film took off and i'd forgotten how that felt, to have a film working so smoothly like that. it'd been a while since i'd seen a modern film do this so effortlessly. so we meet Willy Wonka (loved the Edward Scissorhands silhouette) - Johnny Depp's reclusive, flaky creature. (of course, i wouldn't also be too far off saying this was Edward Scissorhands on a sugar rush. it would actually be kind of perfect.) but the main character is Charlie, played by Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland), an utterly charming poor boy looking for one-day visit inside isolated Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. the story, thanks to Charlie's characterization, is never insipid or weepy. it is always squarely based in quiet emotions (again, think Edward Scissorhands). the other kids get more caricatured versions of children but that somehow fits into the Tim Burton world and it's never used to make Charlie look better. it's always done to entertain. btw, entertain it does. in spades. my friend wasn't too fond of the musical sequences - i actually loved them!! Deep Roy, the man responsible for playing all the Oompa Loompa's (what a job that must've been), was outstanding! we couldn't get enough of him singing and dancing around! spectacularly funny. i had fun. it was definitely an entertaining film. thinking back on it, though, you're not left with much after you walk out of the theater. and you feel Depp's Willy Wonka is more of an amusing creation than a full character; which isn't bad per se - it actually works for Burton and the film. i don't know if it was his intent, but Burton has crafted a weird concoction here - a low-content film (although there is a story, and it is quite genuine) that is actually entertaining, and a ride you gleefully go along with anyway. surprising.

Posted by Sam | 11:17 AM |