The Chocolate Factories

8:09 am PHT

Delightfully weird is what I would call Tim Burton’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve also had the serendipitous experience of watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory way back in grade school. The two films are really nothing like each other. I haven’t read the book so I’ll base my post on these two films alone.

I hardly remember the original film. It was one of the movies that were shown to us students in grade school for reasons that I don’t recall. Other movies that we were forced to see included D.A.R.Y.L. and the outrageously long The Ten Commandments.

Anyway, I remembered the original film as being sugar-candy-coated goodness, and having no point at all, just like candy. And of course that memorable song, “Pure Imagination,” sung by Gene Wilder, the original Willy Wonka, which was the inspiration for the Wonka candy logo (though at that time I thought that the film Wonka was based on the candy Wonka, not the other way around as it really is).

And so I wanted to see this year’s adaptation if only to compare it with my recollection of the original film. I also wanted to watch it because of the Burton-Depp collaboration (whenever these two make a film, something magical always happens).

And magical it was.

Johnny Depp still plays as eccentric as ever and is really a perfect match to play the also eccentric Willy Wonka. I loved this film’s Willy Wonka more than the fatherly Wonka of the 70s.

But what really stole the show were the Ooompa Loompas, all portrayed by Deep Roy. I can’t believe he played all of them and that he acted out his movements hundreds of times. And I also loved the genre-bending songs that follows the elimination of each of the children. Classic.

The film, while being rated as GP, is, I believe, not really for children. It’s a little too dark and creepy, like Tim Burton only does it. I’m guessing some children might get freaked out with the method of elimination of the kids and how everything is not quite what it seems.

I’m also rather put-off with the whole “family” plot thing inserted into the movie that I’ve never encountered in the old film and that I’ve subsequently read was also never in the book. Oh, Charlie’s family (especially the grandparents) were actually nice and funny and all, but I found the backstory of Willy Wonka a bit too intrusive (though it made for a great Christopher Lee cameo).

The first film ended with an elevator ride up in the sky and so I found the extra scenes in the new movie a bit too dragging. I know it’s a bit unfair since, while I found the family plot element a bit out of place, the movie’s resolution was actually done quite well.

Now I’m looking forward this year’s second Burton-Depp collaboration, The Corpse Bride, set in the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I loved. Interestingly, we again have Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee in The Corpse Bride; Carter played Charlie’s mom in the Factory. Now I realize it’s unsurprising since I’ve learned that Carter is Burton’s fiancée*.

* Something new I’ve learned: “fiancé” refers to a man while “fiancée” refers to a woman. Hmmmm…

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