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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I've also seen some movies lately, which I have been meaning to talk about. The Boyfriend and I finally got arond to watching the re-make of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and as much as I wish I could say I liked it...I can't. It's not that it was necessarily bad, or that I think there was anything special wrong with it. I simply think the original film was so unique that a re-make can't begin to hold a candle to it. The Boyfriend found it particularly upsetting because he is a big fan of the original. He spent the whole movie comparing this version to the original and pointing out the differences. I personally try not to that when watching re-makes--I like to try and keep in mind that this is a new movie, with a new director, new cast, and new direction. Unfortunately, I wasn't especially thrilled with the new direction. There were parts that I enjoyed. While I wasn't entirely enamored with Johnny Depp's portrayal of Wonka, he had his totally hilarious moments. Some of his clipped one-liners or throw-aways had me giggling aloud as I watched. (My favorite scene, in fact, involved a throw-away joke that tied back to the beginning of the film. When the children arrive, there is a dancing, singing, audio-animatronic puppet display, similar to the 'It's a Small World' ride at Disneyworld. As the intro show comes to the end, the dancing dolls catch fire, and the whole thing grinds to a draggy, creepy, flaming halt, and is all but forgotten. However, later on, as they're touring the factory, Wonka takes them through a hospital looking room, and says "This is the Wonka Doll and Puppet Burn Hospital. It was added very recently." and then they walk out. I laughed my ass off--I love details like that.) I was also very impressed by the special effects; obviously, there are things that can be done today with special effects that hadn't even been thought of when the original film was made. Violet's en-blueberry-ment, the trained squirrels in the nut room, the lovely chocolate room, the functions of the great glass elevator--all these things looked stunning. The downside was that some of the changes were not for the better. The whole subplot with Wonka's childhood was just kind of annoying. And the Oompa-Loompas all being the same guy was lame. The biggest issue I had with it, though (and I'm pretty sure The Boyfriend agreed) was the overall outlook of the film. In the original, Gene Wilder plays Willy Wonka as a genius who remains a hermit because he is so busy creating that people just get in his way and slow him down--he can deal with people, he just doesn't want to. On the other hand, there's Tim Burton's version of Willy Wonka (as played by Johnny Depp.) Burton's Wonka is UNABLE to interact with people--he isn't locking everyone else out...he's locked himself IN. I suppose this was to be expected, since every single Tim Burton movie ever is basically the same. The lonely and misundestood hero existing in his beautiful, intricate inner world is Burton's calling card, and while I guess technically it works here, it just doesn't resonate with me in this particular circumstance. The difference in point of view of the main character colors how the entire rest of the film plays out, and for me, this particular interpretation didn't work. I'm not saying you shouldn't see it, but I'm saying you really shouldn't expect too much.


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