Unfortunately, this movie experience started off on a bad note because in a nearly empty theater, this huge teenager and his girlfriend plop down right in front me and my daughter. “Nice” I said rather loudly, “sit right in front of the 4 year old”. Isn’t there an unwritten rule that when you go to a movie and there are open seats, you “stagger” until you absolutely must sit directly in front of someone? My husband says it’s equivalent to choosing the urinal right next to someone already peeing.
Anyway, on with the review.
I keep hearing about how this is not a remake but a totally different Charlie (truer to the book, blah blah blah). Seriously, how different can you make a story about a crazy guy who opens his chocolate factory to 5 kids most of whom are damaged in one way or another? Well, this movie explains why the original strayed a bit from the book ~ because it needed to.
I thought this movie dragged especially the first part of the movie where everyone is looking for a golden ticket. They didn’t show the frenzy and excitement of the search. I’ve been trying not to make comparisons to the original but am finding it impossible, so bear with me. I miss the trippy vibe of the original, and it was so pure. The computer graphics seemed overdone in Charlie. Maybe because I’m an artist who still likes to pick up a pencil and feel it in my hand rather than use the computer, I think too often the computer is used in lieu of coming up with a real creative solution that is tangible and “real” and therefore reads real on the big screen. The oompa loompa is the perfect example. Having one man play all the oompa loompas really disturbed me, I kept wondering how they procreated. At one point you do see him dressed as a woman and I guess it’s supposed to be funny but it creeped me out quite honestly. Those scenes just screamed “HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT HOW GREAT WE ARE AT COMPUTER GRAPHICS, ISN’T IT AWESOME THAT WE CAN DO THIS!! I just didn’t think it was necessary is all. Plus I hated the song and dance numbers mostly because I couldn’t understand the lyrics. I need the psychedelic words flying across the screen telling me why Veruca’s a brat and who made her that way.
Now, on to Johnny Depp’s performance and this does hurt because I love Johnny Depp and think he is a fantastic actor (not to mention hot as Hell) but I kept seeing his other characters on the screen of this movie. At one point he is walking through the jungle of Loompaland and all of sudden ~ he is Hunter S. Thompson from Fear & Loathing. Of course with the Tim Burton connection you see Edward Scissorhands all throughout this film (one scene in particular is so obvious it has to be deliberate) and I found it to be distracting. On the plus side, the guys will probably enjoy bringing their girlfriends to see this Depp movie because they (the girlfriends) certainly won’t be going away talking about how hot and sexy he is. Overall I felt his version of another certain childlike adult who no one can seem to believe isn’t molesting young boys.) All throughout this version, you see Willy’s memories and learn why he loves chocolate as much as he does and I think it’s supposed to give some idea as to why he is such a nut case. I think it takes away from the character because now I think he’s just crazy because of child neglect but I’m wondering where the genius part comes in. Gene Wilder didn’t have this problem. His portrayal of Willy Wonka was more mature and instead of blaming his “craziness” on his tyrant father, we get the idea that he is a bit crazy because of his genius (There is no great genius without some touch of madness ~ Seneca). Somehow Gene Wilder managed to make his Wonka seem childlike in his ideas and visions but he maintained his maturity in a way that Depp’s portrayal did not.
So the tour is over and then the movie drags out. Blah blah blah. Totally predictable and totally not necessary little reunion and then everyone lives happily ever after. Do I recommend this movie? Well, okay if you must but if you adore the Gene Wilder version be prepared for a let down. And take a few coats so you can throw them on the seats in front of you, in case rude movie goers don’t know the rules of choosing a seat.You're welcome to give your opinion about this movie but if you think Johnny Depp made a better Wonka than Gene Wilder I'll just think you were high when you watched it.