Sunday, July 17, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (**1/2)

This latest remake/reimagining/redo from Tim Burton is at times a marked improved over the original film, and at others maddeningly uneven and redundant. The direction, the production design, and Danny Elfman's score are all wondrous and fantastically realized. This is a winning team, and one would think that the addition of Johnny Depp would knock this one out of the park. When Depp and Burton have combined in the past, the result has been magic. Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood are the obvious standouts. Here, however, Depp all but sinks the movie with his hammy, unlikeable, and way too self aware performance. Maybe it's the inevitable comparisons to Gene Wilder that do him in. I don't know. It didn't work for me at all. It wasn't in keeping with the rest of the film, especially when Freddy Highmore gives such a sweet, good-natured performance in the title role of Charlie. It's a shame the character of Willy Wonka was so misconstrued here. It's also unfortunate that the movie seems to be obsessed with him, all but forgetting about Charlie along the way. On the plus side, Elfman contributes some nifty, though unintelligible, tunes for the Oompa-loompas, and Burton keeps things wickedly dark and demented at times. Damn you Depp.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Yeah, the Oompa-loompa sequences were really cool. However, I'm surprised the sound people couldn't pull off more clarity in the vocals. I wanted to know what they were saying. DVD subtitle option should clear up the confusion.


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