Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (DVD) (WS)
Take an unforgettable, uniquely magical journey through director Tim Burton's deliciously delightful, whimsically wonderful world of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. When eccentric candy man Willy Wonka promises a lifetime supply of sweets and a tour of his chocolate factory to five lucky kids, penniless Charlie Bucket seeks the priceless golden ticket that will make him a winner. Thanks to his Grandpa Joe, Charlie gets the prize of his dreams! But a far more wonderful surprise than Charlie ever imagined awaits him. In a land of chocolate waterfalls, giant lollipops, edible flowers and, of course, Oompa Loompas, it's nonstop, mouth-watering fun in the timeless fantasy Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
Mixed reviews and creepy comparisons to Michael Jackson notwithstanding, Tim Burton's splendidly imaginative adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
would almost surely meet with Roald Dahl's approval. The celebrated author of darkly offbeat children's books vehemently disapproved of 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
(hence the change in title), so it's only fitting that Burton and his frequent star/collaborator, Johnny Depp, should have another go, infusing the enigmatic candyman's tale with their own unique brand of imaginative oddity. Depp's pale, androgynous Wonka led some to suspect a partial riff on that most controversial of eternal children, Michael Jackson, but Burton's film is too expansively magnificent to be so narrowly defined. While preserving Dahl's morality tale on the hazards of indulgent excess, Burton's riotous explosion of color provides a wondrous setting for the lessons learned by Charlie Bucket (played by Freddie Highmore, Depp's delightful costar in Finding Neverland
), as he and other, less admirable children enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Wonka's confectionary wonderland. Elaborate visual effects make this an eye-candy overdose (including digitally multiplied Oompa-Loompas, all played by diminutive actor Deep Roy), and the film's underlying weirdness is exaggerated by Depp's admirably risky but ultimately off-putting performance. Of course, none of this stops Burton's Charlie
from being the must-own family DVD of 2005's holiday season, perhaps even for those who staunchly defend Gene Wilder's portrayal of Wonka from 34 years earlier. --Jeff Shannon