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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)

Posted by Nade on Wed, 17 Aug 2005.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Christopher Lee and Deep Roy.

So, here we go. The latest offering from the Depp/Burton partnership, this time in the form of Roald Dahl’s classic about a boy who’s lucky to be there.

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about going to see the film, after all, I’ve grown up with the 1971 version, complete with orange skinned, green haired, all singing, all dancing Oompa Loompas. So how can this film compare?

The answer? It doesn’t.

“Charlie” blows the original out of the water and settles in comfortably for the ride. So let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Charlie Bucket (Highmore) is just a poor little boy, struggling to get by day to day in the over-crowded shack he shares with his mother, father, and four elderly grandparents. His life seems to run together into one continuous day, until, by some stroke of luck, he finds one of the five Golden Tickets, admitting the child who finds it, plus one adult into the magical world of Willy Wonka’s factory for the day.

He joins up with the other four winners, television addict Mike Teevee, spoilt brat Veruca Salt, greedy Augustus Gloop and ‘winner’ Violet Beauregarde. All of who seem unimpressed with the factory, and more focused on what they might win at the end of it.

And enter Willy Wonka, stage left. Yet again, Johnny Depp knows no limits in the portrayal of his characters, a sign of he clear trust that Burton has for his lead actor in allowing him free reign.

Off we go, on a magical journey through the factory where just about anything is possible. Everything you see can be eaten, oompa loompas are everywhere you look, complete with luridly coloured jumpsuits, and yes, just as in the original film, the songs are there too.

One by one, as you most likely know, if you’ve seen the original (and to be honest, who hasn’t?), the four other children fall ill to their own greed, and are escorted off to be ‘fixed’ accompanied by strains of the songs from the original book, Loompa-stylee.

The plot pretty much follows the original film, with the exception of Wonka’s constant flashbacks to his family life, and his father’s (Lee) refusal to ever let him have any candy.

However, the main difference being the ending. In the original version, the film ends on the glass elevator scene, leaving the audience with a feeling similar to that of searching the packet for the last rolo, and being unable to find it.

Burton carries the film on, and (as is expected) creates his own ending for the film. I’m not going to say what it is, but you come out of the film with a full stomach, slightly disappointed that it’s come to an end. But all good things must come to an end, and as films go, this isn’t a bad one.

The only thing I could nitpick at would be Depp’s portrayal of Wonka, in the way that there’s an undercurrent of Michael Jackson in the character, and the childlike element to Wonka.

And one thing that I found interesting was the Oompa Loompas. Every ‘Loompa you see on screen was filmed separately by Deep Roy, as opposed to just filming the movements for one general scene and using CG to put them all together. The voices of the Loompas themselves were actually layers of the composer’s (Danny Elfman) own voice, put onto the music.

So, final verdict?

Well worth a watch either for veterans of the original, or for first time viewers. And keep an eye out for those golden tickets….