Monday, July 18

POP - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Caught a Sunday evening showing of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

A wild and trippy ride - yes
A great movie - no...
A good movie - Eh...

Some may argue...the original 1971 version "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is a darker version than this new 2005 version. I would vote for the 2005 as darker. First off..I heard Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Nicolas Cage and Michael Keaton were all considered for the roll of Strange fellow - Willy Wonka. Not one of those fine actors would've been able to save this madness (maybe a younger Christopher Walken) Whatever amount of money Mr. Johnny Depp and his agent and lawyers and yadda, yadda negotiated for.....was not enough. Half the budget should've gone to Johnny Depp.....the other half should have gone to less CGI(computer generated image) and more grit...
I tried to pretend I had never seen my beloved 1971 Willy Wonka with the great Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka...a hard act to Faye Dunaway will forever be Joan Crawford because of "Mommie Dearest", Gene Wilder will forever be Willy Wonka.....when I see Gene Wilder in other's Willy Wonka in his new career as actor....Willy Wonka in Young Frankenstein, Stir Crazy, Silver Streak, Blazing Saddles and even The Woman in Red (love each of these movies)'s not Gene's Willy Wonka. So my admitting how I accept and mostly enjoyed Johnny Depp as the new Willy Wonka (in a creepy kind of way) is a major accomplishment. Johnny Depp's look in this movie has been compared to Michael Jackson and Marilyn I guess if those two got together to have a kid.....Willy Wonka 2005 is what it would look like.... I see the comparison but I refuse to acknowledge...

I walked in....a big fan of the original Willy Wonka so I was ready to go on another wild chocolate factory ride....That it was.....but it almost felt like a bad someone had slipped me a mind altering shroom' to see how I might respond to this strange adaptation...I read how the man who wrote the screenplay had never seen the 1971 version. He watched it after he had written the screenplay...the lack of respect shows....maybe it would've turned out more pleasurable for the Willy Wonka fans had he watched the original before the re-write.

Things I appreciated..... Johnny Depp and the back story on Willy Wonka's life(though sometimes less is more.) Charlie was cute enough. Kids we're a perfect fit for the roles they played (though their performances get washed out by trippiness of the film)

The main thing I didn't appreciate.....the ridiculous oompa loompas....they made me wish they had been eaten up by the monsters Willy Wonka saved them from.


Back to "Charlie and the Charlie Factory"
Things happened too fast and then some things didn't happen fast enough...their were parts of the movie where I was checking my watch to see if it was time for the movie to get to the point.

The overall feel I got from this movie was the movie industry moving into an era where the audience is considered less and less and it becomes more about showing your fellow Directors or Producers what you can do with special effects and how crazy you can go before the audience violently rejects your self-serving movie making antics. Though it does stay in line with the feel of Tim Burton movies...I was hoping for something different.

At times, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" felt like a music video....with the audience being bombarded with a chain of photos. Overall....a wild and trippy ride....would I take my (yet to be conceived) children to see it....not without showing them the 1971 version...I don't know I feel like this movie might spark my child to experiment with drugs. The lesson for children is far less obvious in the 2005 version. In the original it was made very clear how honesty pays and brattiness doesn't. In this new one, I walked out feeling like drugs might pay and being clear-headed and drug free doesn't.

Because of my love for the original and my stubborn streak in appreciating the new, maybe I'll perform a test on kids ages 8-15. Show them the 2005 version first and then the 1971 version....put them to the test.. Will I add "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to my dvd collection...Yes...would I recommend seeing it....yes (but try to get a two for one deal) Sneak into another movie before or after you see this one.

If "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is lucky it'll grab cult movie status and possibly grow on me.