Happy 4th of July, everykitty! This Friday I am completing my two-part reader's request from Diamond Emerald-Eyes by reviewing Tim Burton's version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Roald Dahl (book)
John August (screenplay)
As I mentioned last week, the original version with Gene Wilder will always be my favorite. So I have to admit some bias in the following review.
Mommy and Grandmama were super excited when they announced that this movie was being filmed, and that Tim Burton was directing it and Johnny Depp was starring in it. It just seemed far too good to be true. They were prepared to be dazzled by it and love it. Knowing how much mommy loves Tim Burton, Roald Dahl, and Johnny Depp, I was also prepared to be dazzled by it.
We were all disappointed.
It's not all bad, kitties. Tim Burton does his usual amazing job with the visuals. The color and lines and cinematography are just as unusual and incredible as always with a Burton creation. The use of light and dark, the camera angles, the choice of color - they are all wonderful. And Danny Elfman wrote the score, which is always a big winner with my mommy and me. We love his work. There is a suitable creepy and slightly off ambiance about the whole film that screams Burton, and usually makes my mommy happy. I mean, just look at the use of light and color in the screenshot below! Look at the shape and lines! It's great.
However, no matter how much I tried, I could not separate this movie as a work of art on its own. Inevitably I kept comparing it to the original, and I found it lacking. Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka was more subtle - he seems at first just an eccentric man, but as the film goes on you begin to wonder if he is really a sweet and innocent chocolatier, or if there is something more sinister about him. You try and give him the benefit of the doubt as the children one-by-one become eliminated by seemingly incredible mishaps, but soon you begin to suspect that Wonka had planned it out that way all along. In this version, Depp's Wonka is seen right away to be strange. He is obviously inept in social situations. His pale skin, too-perfect teeth, and squeaky purple latex gloves scream "CREEP!" at you as soon as he arrives on the scene. There is no question in the viewer's mind that Wonka has planned all of the mishaps in advance, and that he has absolutely no sympathy for the children or their parents. Depp and Burton's Wonka is clearly disturbed, whereas Wilder's Wonka was much more mysterious and harder to figure out.
However, there is hope for the movie. For example, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" sheds a light on the true nature of squirrels! As many of you know, the twins and I are constantly taunted by Timmy the Squirrel and his various family members and friends from our very own front porch. I had hoped that after mommy saw this scene with a mob of squirrels attacking a little girl, she would find them less adorable and know why the twins and I want to rid ourselves of the sneaky menaces once and for all.
It didn't work. Mommy still thinks they are cute.
And, after all, this movie does have Johnny Depp in it, and Johnny Depp seems to be a reason for mommy to watch movies quite often. From several comments made during my movie reviews before, it seems my mommy is not alone in this opinion.
However, even mommy had to admit that Johnny didn't do anything for her in this movie. She had thought that Wonka would be done by Depp in such a way that she would just ooze all over the floor after watching it from the hotness of it. (Mommy is strange. She thinks Gene Wilder makes a melt-worthy Wonka.) Instead, mommy was just kind of creeped out by him. She never thought she'd live to see the day when Depp could be anything other than, in her words, eye candy. Maybe it's the wig.
I have to give "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" just one paw up instead of my usual happy two paws up. It is just as artistically filmed as you would expect of a Burton movie, but it does not meet the expectations or standards that I expected in comparing it to the original version. Don't get me wrong, kitties, it is worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of Burton. Just don't expect to fall in love with it or to get blown away.