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211 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On it's own merits...
I didn't want the movie to be bad. I love Tim Burton and think Johnny Depp is the riskiest actor we have an screen. I also loved the original movie for it's own merits, and at it's first viewing thought Gene Wilder was a genius. Can these two movies exist on their own merits...certainly I think they should. The origina; had it's flaws...the musical numbers had high...
Published on July 18, 2005 by David G. Smith

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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It all hinged on who played Wonka, and YIKES was it bad...
Everyone says this, but I gotta say it too: loved the original and the book. It was wonderful to see things from the book in the film, like the squirrels, musical numbers, and even little things like having charlie's father actually alive.

But to me, the big thing that could make or break the movie was the casting of Wonka, and there are dozens of actors I...
Published on May 23, 2006 by WhatTalent?


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211 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On it's own merits..., July 18, 2005
By 
David G. Smith (Fairfax, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I didn't want the movie to be bad. I love Tim Burton and think Johnny Depp is the riskiest actor we have an screen. I also loved the original movie for it's own merits, and at it's first viewing thought Gene Wilder was a genius. Can these two movies exist on their own merits...certainly I think they should. The origina; had it's flaws...the musical numbers had high points(Candy Man, my Imagination...and the oompa loompa songs) and low points(Cheer up Charlie)...the look is pretty dated. The new version has it's weirdnesses as well.

But is it a watchable movie on it's own merits??? Absolutely. If you want Wilder, rent it. No one is taking away your nostalgia by putting another slant on it. I feel the movie was very funny, certainly no more sick and twisted than the source it was created from. In fact, the tone of the movie, especially at the beginning, is very Dahlish.

There are diversions, Dahl himself wrote the first screenplay and managed to divert it as well, such as the Wonka father subplot...but I feel like the movie creates a world and joyously romps around in it.

As for Depp...he is fearless. Only he would delve into such an iconic role with such quirkiness. Michael Jackson...I don't see it. I feel like that is cheap. He is funny, a little demented, and there are hints at him being premeditated...but he does a fantastic job..

The other actors are well suited, Highmore is great and David Kelly is especially good in the first half.

It is a very well done film...and worth a view....But not if you're going to hate it right off the bat....why spend your money to hate something.
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89 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very sweet treat, August 22, 2005
The new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory represents exactly what the audience should expect from a Tim Burton film: exuberant sets that challenge all possible camera angles and show a kitsch quality; weird supporting characters that prove to be a critic and piercing look at the American suburban world, Danny Elfman's exquisite music and as a cherry top, the presence of Johnny Depp, in his fifth collaboration with Burton.

The original 1971 film had a clear anchor in the pop visual look of the times; Burton's film evokes some 60's pictures in his art direction, photography and in the sweet innocence quality that all movies lack in the present. Without a doubt, the production design, art direction, costumes and sets are worthy of an Oscar; as well as Elfman's score, who added music to the verses written by Ronald Dahl, the author of the book.

Likewise, we should speak of Johnny Depp's performance for his extraordinary creation of Wonka. Compared to Gene Wilder's character in the 71' film, Depp's Wonka is more repressed, more peculiar and far more apt to this version, because it looks real and nostalgia-free.

The casting was terrific, from my point of view, and no one dissapointed in that department. A special mention to the man who played the Oompa Loompas...he was just superb and hilarious, in a freaky way, but terrific!!

In conclusion, I think Burton's version is superior, its ending more wholesome and its sensibility definitely more contemporary. This movie has updated all the elements that became somewhat obsolete in the 1971 film. All these aspects have enriched the story, and this makes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a very sweet treat.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weirdly entertaining & ultimately satisfying, September 3, 2005
By 
chefdevergue (Spokane, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Taken strictly on its own merits, this film is extremely entertaining. While Burton clearly revels in special effects & Danny Elfman enjoys flexing his versatile musical muscles, neither of these things gets in the way of a story well-rendered and well-told. The movie moves briskly to its climax, so much so that the viewer may be surprised at how quickly the time has passed.

For those who absolutely ripped this movie because it was not a carbon copy of the 1971 Gene Wilder version --- it isn't a remake, anymore than the assorted versions of "Romeo & Juliet" could be considered remakes of earlier film versions. It is a reinterpretation of what was already a classic work of fiction, and for my money, it is far superior in staying true to Dahl's vision. So you miss the Oompa-Loompa song, plus all of the other ditties from 1971? Too bad --- watch the original if it means that much to you. Burton's version contains none of these songs, but instead takes the novel approach of relying on Dahl's original lyrics (always crucial in any of his books), so conspicuously absent from the 1971 version. For those critical of Burton's inclusion of a storyline not in the original, it pales in comparison to the numerous 1971 deviations.

Certainly Burton's production values absolutely blow the earlier version out of the water, yet they don't seem to get in the way of telling the story. Too many movies get caught up in the special effects to the point that they tend to bog down a movie that they were intended to enhance. Burton is able to avoid this trap.

Johnny Depp, true to form, nails his performance of an eccentric man-child whose weirdness is obvious yet difficult to pinpoint. Depp's Wonka makes the adults uncomfortable without being off-putting, yet for all of his innate childishness, is also unable to relate to the assorted brats that cross his path during the tour of the factory. Depp's Wonka seems to be an interesting amalgam of Ed Wood, JM Barrie & Edward Scissorhands, but remains a strikingly original character despite hints of these earlier roles.

Deep Roy absolutely cracked me up in ways that the barely mobile 1971 Oompah-Loompahs never could. Obviously the advances in technology made it possible for the Oompa-Loompas to be much more versatile in their songs & rountines, and I found them to be consistently entertaining.

The various children, in particular those playing Charlie and Veruca Salt, were utterly convincing in their roles. The boy playing an updated (but all too relevant) version of Mike Teavee makes his character simultaneously fascinating & frightening. Not enough can be said in praise of the delightful David Kelly (best known from his role in "Waking Ned Devine), who steals virtually every scene in which he appears.

It should be noted that this is by no means a childrens' film. The screening I attended featured an approximately 3-year-old child whimpering in terror as the squirrels dragged Veruca Salt to the garbage chute. Other children in the audience that were under the age of 10 seemed to respond only to the occasional moments of slapstick involving Willie Wonka and the glass elevator. Significant portions of the movie will be completely over the heads of most children, no matter what their ages. Of course, for the adults, there are endless moments of wry humor to appreciate.

All in all, this was a very entertaining and enjoyable movie. In time I suspect that the 1971 version will be relegated to the shadows, and Burton's vision will stand alone, unchallenged.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It all hinged on who played Wonka, and YIKES was it bad..., May 23, 2006
Everyone says this, but I gotta say it too: loved the original and the book. It was wonderful to see things from the book in the film, like the squirrels, musical numbers, and even little things like having charlie's father actually alive.

But to me, the big thing that could make or break the movie was the casting of Wonka, and there are dozens of actors I would have chosen over Depp, and it is painfully obvious that this was just an excuse to cash in on depp's popularity. FOR GOD'S SAKE, ITS LIKE HE'S A STRANGER IN HIS OWN FACTORY! It's like he was visiting there for the first time, and just happened to the be the tourist of the group carrying the map, wandering around aimlessly.

Neither Depp nor Wilder hit the character right on, but Wilder had that spring in his step, that twinkle in his eye that showed that he knew what was going on, and was in control at all times. The kids were horrendous compared to the eccentric, wonderfully terrible brats of the original. Charlie wasn't bad, and I'm happy to say he was very well cast, and I enjoyed him.

The badly placed backstory and inclusion of Christopher Lee (whom I love) was pointless, and changed the message of the story from "good things work out for those who are good" to "family is most important". WHICH DONT GET ME WRONG, IS A GOOD MESSAGE, but not what I wanted from a story I loved. It ruined the point of them being in the factory and everything, and only worked to make Depp more pedophile-like. As another reviewer said, Burton wanted to be more faithful to the source material? Well, way to add in an entirely usless subplot that changed the entire message, Tim!

Visually, it was stunning, as all Burton films are, and the score was creepy and marvelous, brought to us once again by the peerless Danny Elfman. Depp lost his appeal to me a while ago, and this was just salt on the wound, to watch him try to tackle a role that I loved and cherished. I keep saying it, they should've had Mr. 'more cowbell' himself Christopher Walken. Come on! 'Willy Walken and the Chocolate Factory'! Think about it: "Children...Welcome...to my factory?"
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It hasn't GOT a point - that's why it's CANDY, July 20, 2005
By 
You just need to get the old version of the movie out of your head before you see this, and approach it with an open mind. It's not really a musical, and it's not exclusively a kid's movie. But to my mind it's the best movie Tim Burton ever made, and considerably increased my assessment of Johnny Depp, whom you will find weird if you were hoping for Gene Wilder and wonderful if you were hoping for the actual Willy Wonka as written by the original author, Roald Dahl.

I had the strange experience of seeing Johnny Depp in "Finding Neverland" and two days later in "Chocolate Factory." Johnny's turn as Willy Wonka is the strangest, weirdest, and most engaging performance of any kind I've seen in years. It's what Jim Carrey in "Unfortunate Events" couldn't be: interesting, complex, and subtle. It makes the new "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" not only the best movie of the summer but one that will be worth owning and rewatching time and again.

More importantly, Depp's and director Tim Burton's vision of the Roald Dahl novel seems much closer to Dahl's own way of thinking: in Dahl novels, adults are incomprehensibly self-involved, ignoring their malevolent influence on the kids in their lives (which is ironic when you come to think of it; as in real life it often feels like the reverse). It's up to a few right-thinking kids to teach the grownups how to live. This inside-out dynamic registers on every close-up of Willy Wonka's twitchy face: staring at the wrong moments, scarcely in control of his limbs, you can see the effects of Wonka's own unsympathetic upbringing.

Director Tim Burton's incredible visual imagination seems to have melded with his own recent status as a dad here. The cinematography features acid-trippy colors; the chocolate-factory sets have an overwhelming amount to look at. There are subtle funny visual references to other Burton films: when we first see Wonka, he is carrying a HUGE pair of shears (shades of Edward Scissorhands); when a team of bike-riding messengers streams out of the factory to post announcements, they are riding bright-red wacky PeeWee Herman-style bikes.

Best of all are the Oompa Loompas (or, I should say, THE Oompa-Loompa), all played by a single actor (Deep Roy), who gamely dances through the Oompa-Loompa song in its various forms, including disco-style, Beatles-style, and a most delicious Queen parody.

If you don't quite "get" all this, and were hoping for a more straightforward Disneyfied version of the tale (or miss the "Candy Man" song, which was certainly not Dahl's), you may not like this. But my advice is don't press for explanations, just go and enjoy it - as Wonka himself says, "Candy doesn't have to have a point - that's why it's CANDY."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the original, April 3, 2006
A Kid's Review
Lots of people say that the original is better because it is more heartwarming and light. I say this is one of the few remakes that wins over the original.

If have seen the 1971 musical, you will discover that this film is darker and wackier than the original, and it contains some family history of Willy Wonka. But I think the best thing about this film is that it sticks closer to Roald Dahl's book. Like when Veruca falls down the garbage chute because she 'has to have a squrrel' was changed to golden geese in the 1971 version, but was kept in this remake. Another example is that when they take the boat down the chocolate river to the Inventing Room was rewritten as a trip with the Wonka Wash in the original, but was also kept in this film.

The acting in this movie is fantastic, especially by Johnny Depp and the girls (Veruca and Violet). Freddie Highmore fits perfectly as Charlie, andI loved the goofiness of Augustus Gloop. The ending though, will seem to be negative a first, but the rewriting of the ending is better than I thought it would be.

Overall, great film to watch anytime. 5/5 for sure!
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40 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deluxe edition, Soul Brother... ****1/2, November 8, 2005
By 
JWK "jwk" (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
I once made the comment that most of the entertainment today is in very bad shape. The industries are trying to relive past glories, especially music and movies. Most of the money being made in the music industry is reissues, HDCD releases of well-known titles, delux reissues, legacy reissues, offical releases of bootlegs, greatest hits, and any and all repackaging of classic albums. And they all use well known, classic, big name artists, because they know people will buy it. Because the majority of new CDs, and new artists aren't of any real quality, they have to rely on the old stuff to make money. The same can be said of the movies. It's all sequels, prequels, remakes, and remodels.

Accordingly, I was not thrilled when I heard a new version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was coming out. When I learned it was a Tim Burton/Danny Elfman/Johnny Depp production, I was less skeptical. When I saw a trailer, I was interested. When I heard Danny Elfman was writing/composing the music AND doing the vocals, I was excited. The collaboration is great, almost to the point of excusing all their pretensiousness and self-absorbtion... enough quibbling. On to the movie!

It holds many of Tim Burton's staples; it is dark, stark, eerie, and filled with the regular unnamable props, but he has allowed joy into the equation. The movie is much better for it. There is rich color, specifically in the factory, to match the rich imagery and funny comparisons of Willy Wonka. Depp is cast perfectly in this role, which is not really apparent unless you see the movie. He is funny, quirky, confused, and innocent; much different than the brilliant, strong character played by Gene Wilder in the original. The children who find the golden tickets and their parents do a great job too. Perhaps my favorite part is the wild card, Danny Elfman. If you don't know WHO Elfman is, you're sure to have heard his music whether in any number of cult classic 80's films (Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman 1 & 2), his TV themes (The Simpsons), his musical-esque movies featuring his vocals (Nightmare Before Christmas-- an absolute classic soundtrack), or his 15-plus years of work as the vocalist/writer/guitarist for 80's heavyweight Oingo Boingo. "Charlie" is the 11th time Tim Burton has used Elfman as his composer, and this is arguably their greatest work together (though I prefer "Nightmare Before Christmas").

The movie itself is quite interesting, moving into parts of the Willy Wonka story the orignal movie didn't, relying more on the Ron Dahl book. Note: even the lyrics to the four Oompa-Loompa songs are the lyrics from the novel. We learn that Willy became a chocolateer to spite his father and is forever haunted by this falling out. An eventual redemtion of their relationship serves as a very positive pro-family element. Best of all, it's clean. Nothing negative, offensive, or disturbing is presented, meaning a green light for families and kids; a HUGE plus. The problem of lacking special features is corrected here, but you can save a few dollars if you don't mind a slimmer package. A great, big, fun movie.

Overall: 9 out of 10.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to this classic?, March 21, 2006
By 
As a fan of not only Johnny Depp, but Tim Burton as well, I could not wait to see what they had done for this classic that I remember from my childhood. If you are like me, thirty-something and have kids, DO NOT purchase this DVD. Purchase the original from 1971. This version is dark, extremely weird and seems to be the movie that should never have been made. I cannot fathom what Tim Burton was thinking. Did his head get so big that he had to ruin this? Johnny Depp plays a weird, dark and almost child molester-type character. He reminds me of the exact way that perhaps Michael Jackson would play this role. No history, no soul.... just an empty, scary and weird attempt to capture money from an unsuspecting public. The EXACT opposite of the feeling that the original gave you. The 1971 version gave you hope, smiles and tears. This new version just gave me a weird feeling and made me wonder about Wonka's intentions with children. Really! It was that horrible! I am guessing that both Depp and Burton had never seen the original as a child. Any six or seven year old would just be scared of these characters, not delighted as they would be with Gene Wilder! Stay away, stay far away!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not Dahl 's story it is Burton's, March 10, 2006
By 
Anne (Ocean Grove, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
I never read the book but seeing this movie made me run out the next day to get it. I am a Burton fan and was disappointed in his interpretation.

I admit I am a fan of the original but more for nostalgia than the quality of the movie. If you revisit the old you may find it not exactly what you remember as a kid. The tunnel scene is a bit acid trippy. Other elements well it is just plain dated.

There are some parts in both movies that are exactly like the book. Hard to say why each interpreter chose what they chose, but they are positive in both. It is the creative license that is always questioned.The newer version took too much for my taste.

The new. Well.... it was fairly well cast. It was pretty good in the visual department with modern technology being able to give us a better fantasy world, but the Depp/Burton portrayal of Wonka is just wierd and creepy. The father-son candy dentist thing I found just disconcerting. Creative license? This is why I ran out and read the book. As I expected, nothing about the Depp/Burton Wonka resembled anything that I interpretted from reading the book. From that demented scene of the burning dolls fireworks dislay to the freakish flashback and that stupid baby voice. Burton turned it into a story about father and sons.(and not with any continuity) I interpret Dahls story as being about about the consequences of obnoxious children and over indulgent parents. The ultimate moral: being good will bring rewards. The first movie atleast attempts this with the Slugworth honesty plot.

Wonka should be a witty, prankster sort of fun character. I see more of a Martin Short type playing him. Gene wilder was not quite the book either but he captured that "twinkle in his eye" of being in on the joke, that I found to be Dahl's truer intent. Also Oompa loompas should be leprechuan-ish and funny. That character looks like he was from Gilligans Island.

My advice RENT this movie before you by it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Book Brought to the Big Screen, July 25, 2005
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a fantasy film based on the popular children's novel written by Roald Dahl. This movie stars Johnny Depp in the lead role, joined by a cast that includes some old and new names in Hollywood.

What I enjoyed most about this movie was the visual effects. The scene with the squirrels checking the nuts; the scene with the young girl transforming into a blueberry; etc. are creative and fun. In addition to the visuals, there is plenty of music to keep viewers entertained, with a full soundtrack of songs written by Danny Elfman.

Depp is great as the eccentric yet friendly Willy Wonka, and he exhibits a certain degree of charm that makes his character intriguing. The kids are also very good, and each one of the five children (the ones who win the right to tour the factory) has his/her own unique personality that is brought to his/her respective roles. The older people in the movie are ok, but not necessarily anything spectacular. Depp and the five children command most of the screen throughout the film, so you don't really notice the older people very much.

This film is similar to the plot taken by the novel it is based on, but there are a few changes, like one would expect. One change that I didn't particularly care for was the subplot where Mr. Wonka has flashbacks to his childhood and later tries to patch up his relationship with his dad. I think the film would have been better if this was left out.

Most people will think of this as an immature movie, but I liked it more and more as I watched. The fast pace, the cast, the music, and, most importantly, the visual effects make this a movie for everyone to see.
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