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Overall Rating
3.59

Awesome: 23.11%
Worth A Look37.33%
Just Average: 22.67%
Pretty Crappy: 9.33%
Sucks: 7.56%

15 reviews, 135 user ratings


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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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by Erik Childress

"Gene Wilder May Be The Only One Left Complaining"
4 stars

The number of people who have a delectable soft spot for the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are so countless that its surprising there hasn’t been the usual outrage of “why are they doing this” that is so prevalent with each remake announcement. Or maybe there has been and I haven’t been listening. Or maybe my initial assumption is correct because it’s hard for purists to bat an eyelash at the hiring of master visualist Tim Burton and the chameleonic Johnny Depp as the bizarre candyman. Skepticism immediately turns to curiosity and shortly into anticipation and after you see what they’ve done with it, comparisons become a moot point cause expectations have been exceeded.

It’s been years since I read the book, but immediately you can sense a respect by Burton to the quirky, downtrodden view of Roald Dahl’s world. Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) and his family are not just poor but seem to have inherited Helena Bonham Carter’s slanted home from Burton’s Big Fish. (Carter is also on hand as Charlie’s mom and Noah Taylor is the father summarily excised from the 1971 version.) We are re-introduced to the legend of Willy Wonka (Depp), this time on-screen, with flashbacks to Grandpa Joe’s (David Kelly) time as a worker at the factory, a spectacular trip to an Indian kingdom that further indicts the stupidity of this year’s House of Wax finale and the events which led to Wonka’s Garbo-esque flee from the outside world.

The world turns into a feeding frenzy once Wonka announces his Golden Ticket contest, inviting the lucky five who find them to tour his legendary factory. The erstwhile Charlie is destined to receive the final ticket (otherwise we wouldn’t have much of a title, let alone a story), but it’s the horrible other four who get the funniest introductory scenes since the gang of the Coen’s Ladykillers. The gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), spoiled Veruca Salt (Julia Winter, almost a dead ringer for the original Julie Dawn Cole), competitive overachiever Violet Beauregarde (Annasophia Robb) and violence-lovin’ genius Mike Teavee (Jordon Fry) will all get their just desserts and the young actors have succeeded royally in making us relish in their comeuppance.

Which brings us to the two key performances in the film. Can you think of any other modern-day actor who has exhibited more range and more fearless experimentation with his characters than Johnny Depp? Since the American public finally discovered what film aficionados have known for years, Depp has been a pirate, a deranged FBI agent, a schizophrenic writer and the creator of Peter Pan. Despite the comparisons people are making to Michael Jackson, Depp’s Willy Wonka is precisely the nutball visionary that Dahl delighted in creating. Gene Wilder may have owned this role for 30 years, but like the impetus behind Wonka’s contest, its time to turn over the reigns. The other is Freddie Highmore, Depp’s Finding Neverland counterpart, whose instant sincerity wins us over even in scenes where we doubt we would be as earnest.

Dahl’s mix of moralizing and vindictiveness towards children finds a perfect home in Burton’s adaptation. Wonka’s limping introduction from 1971, a great way to tease our senses, looks even limper compared to the sinister implications of how the guests are greeted now. Each of the children’s fates won’t come as much of a surprise to those only versed in the Wilder version, but Veruca Salt’s moment-in-the-chute retains Dahl’s madness and creates a sequence so mortifyingly funny that animals the world over will be wondering how all of them were upstaged by a group of squirrels, no longer “rats with better PR”

Whatever dour memories fans have from Mel Stuart’s take are usually associated with Anthony Newley’s unnecessary musical interludes. Roald Dahl’s Oompa-Loompa lyrics were all you needed, but it’s in these revamped numbers where Burton’s film occasionally stumbles. The songs are appropriate, but their performances (all with their own musical stylings) not only become tiresome but borderline inaudible. Only Veruca Salt’s misbehavin’ diddy gets us tappin’ (particularly since it comes after the film’s funniest scene); the rest, much like the set pieces, become tiresome and should have gone more solo and less chorus.

The chorus of attendees will be fighting their tendency to protect the memories of their childhood favorite, but if they pop-in the ’71 DVD after getting home, they’ll find more sweetness when there should be cavities. Burton’s version has them, but takes the sweet tooth a little further than expected with a backstory provided to Wonka that has a nice payoff, but does go against the reasoning Burton has for criticizing the original’s “sappiness.” At least he backs it up with a superior adaptation, an absolutely hilarious fable that seeks to ache your stomach with laughter instead of saccharine. Parents worried that too many people may be (unnecessarily) tossing the word “dark” around with Burton’s vision, rest assured that there’s nothing on hand to frighten them and certainly nothing to produce boredom; just colorful imagery, huge laughs and enough respect to their burgeoning imaginations. Thirty years from now, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be the film today’s children will be telling their children about when they want to introduce them to the great Willy Wonka.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12582&reviewer=198
originally posted: 07/15/05 00:00:45
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User Comments

1/29/17 stephen a giant pos 1 stars
6/21/15 David Hollingsworth gives remakes a bad name 2 stars
1/02/15 Catherine H zzzzz ... worthless remake, stick to Wilder version 1 stars
12/23/13 Michelle O any excuse for Depp to don COPIOUS amounts of makeup= he's no Wilder! 3 stars
9/08/11 Robin Awful adaptation that bastardizes the book while wrapping itself in a flag of faithfulness 1 stars
7/14/11 art an Adequate remake of the 1971 classic. 3 stars
6/05/11 Jeff Wilder Good for what it is. The Gene Wilder one is still the best though. 4 stars
1/29/11 Linda J A great remake of Willy Wonka. But then, what movie isn't great with Johnny Depp? 5 stars
6/30/09 orion Good for kids but overall farily blah 2 stars
6/06/09 Pokejedservo Not bad but I admit I too preferred the first film. 3 stars
3/27/09 Stevo Um... why, in England, are people paying in American dollars? 1 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. another freakish performance by depp :D 4 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner Depp is so funny!! 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT FINE ART DIRECTION, NICE SPECIAL EFFECTS, GOOD PERFORMANCES AND OVERALL A DECENT FILM 3 stars
5/10/08 drydock54321 why does johnny depp always play such strange dark characters 4 stars
4/23/08 art A GRIM REHASH OF THE 1971 VERISON 3 stars
2/17/08 SamanthaP the 1st time it was creepy and the 2nd time i loved it! sooo funny! 4 stars
6/08/07 Danielle Ophelia Lets the sugar speak for itself and concentrates on the tale's underlying menace. 4 stars
6/04/07 katy great filim 4 stars
5/03/07 johnnyfog The first one sucked ass, and so does this one. Why do people like either? 2 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK ''Willy Wanker and the sack of shit''. Is that a better title? 1 stars
4/02/07 jo sing it boring for some part 4 stars
3/16/07 cleofus jones can't stand the songs..but love burton//depp//movie 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Burton is the Willy Wonka of Hollywood. 4 stars
12/04/06 Stanley Thai A feast for the eyes, this film is filled with great sets and visuals! Great film! 4 stars
11/09/06 becky very good the chocolate was so yummy 5 stars
9/03/06 David Pollastrini Darker than original. 4 stars
8/31/06 kate tasker it sucked 1 stars
7/25/06 Mrs. Robinson sorry, but it just cant compare to the old one 1 stars
7/17/06 David Cohen Who would have thought Burton and Depp could make an unappealing combo 3 stars
7/05/06 Tom Groholski Sticks closely to the book and entertaining 4 stars
6/14/06 Poopsy Fartworthy I love the new Charlie and the chocolate Fcatory film! 5 stars
5/14/06 Diane P love johnny depp but unfortunately for me this remake didn't compare to the first. 3 stars
4/30/06 dinesh kumar Dahl, Depp and Burton, all my favorites and what an amazing movie. 5 stars
4/26/06 lala depp looked freay, hated the songs, but it was ok but the original was WAY WAY better 3 stars
4/16/06 JoJo betta than da original, but I agree w/ emily, he looked like Michael Jackson. 2 stars
4/02/06 Quigley better the 2nd time. Johnny Depp was great, and the look of the movie is visually stunning 5 stars
3/23/06 jesika wtf? total ripoff of the original- i almost shot someone after i cn this pos movie 1 stars
3/20/06 Rebecca I loved the movie, it's great for kids and enjoyable for everyone. 5 stars
3/18/06 Elizabeth An entertaining movie but it can't beat the original. 3 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar Too short. Songs irritating rather than entertaining. 2 stars
2/04/06 Shawn Gadberry Interesting, different, but the original is the better movie by FAR! 3 stars
2/03/06 Michele why do people like this story? 2 stars
1/29/06 the laughing man Not better than the original, but it is a more faithful adapation of Dahl's classic. 4 stars
1/19/06 emily thought Depp looked like a creepy version of Michael Jackson, but overall it was very good 4 stars
1/18/06 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Just when you thought Johnny Depp couldn't get any gayer 3 stars
1/16/06 terry Liked johnny depp - didnt like the movie over all - I was disappointed with this movie 3 stars
1/15/06 Alexis Edgy, dark and closer to the original story than the Wilder version. Depp is wonderful. 4 stars
1/12/06 sammy BIG PIECE OF UGLY, BORING CRAP 1 stars
1/09/06 Indrid Cold Depp tries to command the screen a la Jim Carrey, but he just isn't that great of an actor. 4 stars
12/23/05 Quigley the movie has great acting and incredible visuals, computer and set design. hail, Burton! 4 stars
12/23/05 S Gray Freddie Highmore is excellent but this movie was garbage. 1 stars
12/21/05 Ethan M. A classical film remade, but Depp could not live up to the standards of Wilder. 3 stars
12/21/05 tina mateer first won was better,yet this was good and did you see all the chocolate? heaven 4 stars
12/18/05 Bree Can't be compared to original. So dont! Excellent film. Good fun. Very close to the book! 5 stars
12/05/05 Sean D. Sheridan Not as good as original with Gene Wilder!! The Oompa-Loompas in current movie disappoint! 3 stars
12/04/05 stickman Silly movie, avoid it. 3 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. Very enjoyable remake of a classic. 4 stars
12/01/05 George Depp was great as usual,but I hated this remake. 2 stars
11/26/05 ods Funny and weird 5 stars
11/24/05 Idiot_for_LMP pass on this film. ruined a great classic 2 stars
11/23/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Deep Roy should have won best supporting actor. 3 stars
11/13/05 Del Pretty crappy remake of an all-time classic, the oompa-loompas just sucked ass 1 stars
11/12/05 Quigley johnny depp looks gay and pale, but his performance was as superb as the set design and CG 4 stars
11/10/05 Steve A great disappointment. Both from Burton and Depp 2 stars
11/09/05 natalie one of the best movies that tim burton has directed and johnny depp was awsome in it 5 stars
10/31/05 missjie86 Endearing, annoying, creepy and bizarre, but a Depp portrayal is always interesting. 4 stars
10/13/05 BoB A bit wierd and strange- but its meant 2 b, right? 3 stars
10/07/05 brittany boring and had no differences than the original movie 1 stars
9/22/05 Sugar Depp's performance, outstanding. Elfman's music, inpiring. Overall movie, I am in awe of. 5 stars
9/04/05 Green Gremlin Makes the original version look like an episode of "HR Puf'stuff" !!! 5 stars
9/04/05 Daryl Walker This flim was very funny at times. Johnny Depp was fantastic and it was just a fun time. 5 stars
9/03/05 littlefishy pretty good (not!) suked shit.......... 2 stars
9/01/05 Danielle I thought it was funny and I like the charecters in the movie 5 stars
8/31/05 WWW.FALLOUTWEAR.TRIPOD.COM/ great skate t-shirts and funny t-shirts. 5 stars
8/27/05 LittlePenguin FUCKING BLOWS, AND BURTON/ DEPP ARE MY ALL TIME FAVES, SORRY 1 stars
8/27/05 Tom Burns I loved this movie. Johnny Depp is hilarious. 5 stars
8/25/05 Nick Better then the original. REAL lessons to learn here. 5 stars
8/24/05 Eden Suffers from crap musical numbers and a tacked-on back story 3 stars
8/17/05 Littlepurch Not a patch on the original but still great.Music was great, kids were funny. Depp just ok. 4 stars
8/14/05 Snickerdoodle Really good, Johnny Depp is a riot and the songs are catchy 5 stars
8/12/05 Lynn Taylor cracking film loved it so much went bk to see it. Johnny depp is just brill 5 stars
8/09/05 bigfish reviewed by a cultural moron 1 stars
8/08/05 joy best movie ever! 5 stars
8/08/05 jada ok family movie 3 stars
8/08/05 joeysquids the original rrules-this is the best "remake" of all time 5 stars
8/06/05 tammi i is worth taking the family out 4 stars
8/06/05 ellziopscilly super! 5 stars
8/06/05 G Rosenberg Inventive, non-pandering fun 5 stars
8/05/05 Zack A million times better than the SHITTY Mel Stuart film from 1971! 5 stars
8/04/05 ron abrams just okay. looked great. not wild about deep. 3 stars
8/03/05 Christian The original was darker, and the "musical' features were just horrible. Still, enjoyable. 4 stars
8/03/05 Me Better than the original! 5 stars
8/01/05 C Vega More Loyal to the Book than Gene Wilders version and Perhaps dare I say it..... even better 5 stars
8/01/05 Wolfwhisper I seen it 4 times, Johnny Depp put a new edge on Willy Wonka! 5 stars
8/01/05 michaelb14 Depp was great as usual but Wilder still has the #1 in my book 4 stars
7/31/05 Beth Kerrick Good for kids; it wasn't as sinister as the original and obviously had better effects. 4 stars
7/31/05 R maybe sometimes taking liberties with a story is okay.. 2 stars
7/31/05 Matt Weak on nearly every single level. A failure for Burton and Depp. 2 stars
7/29/05 PK Charlie and the Chocolate Fatory proves what a genious Gene Wilder was in Willie Wonka... 3 stars
7/28/05 StuBot Burton lays a fools' golden egg. This movie, like his other recent attempts, fall far short 2 stars
7/28/05 sbpat21 very funny and exhilarating (***** 1/2 stars ) 5 stars
7/26/05 pym excellent movie, great adaptation of Dahl's book, very fine acting . I'll see it again 5 stars
7/26/05 John Our kids loved the movie!! 4 stars
7/26/05 Mike Olson Somewhat tedious. 2 stars
7/26/05 Mahogany Dear Hollywood, Stop remaking movies and just let them rest in peace! PLEASE!! 1 stars
7/26/05 Ty Spiceland Great movie, one of the best I've seen this summer 5 stars
7/24/05 Farrah I love Tim Burton films and Johnny Depp. This film was great and I can't wait to buy th DVD 5 stars
7/22/05 sully oompa loompa creepy,creepy,creepy,creepy, creepy 4 stars
7/22/05 Dan Just doesn't capture the essence of the original. 2 stars
7/22/05 Lily TERRIBLE TERRIBLE ACTING 3 stars
7/21/05 Kankasaur if you're a teenager with headgear, this entire movie will make you want to kill yourself 5 stars
7/21/05 WilderFan71 Will not be remebered for decades! Depp's "Wonka" = "WackoJacko" 1 stars
7/21/05 Artic i loved this movie, but i love any movie with johnny depp in it 5 stars
7/21/05 TROGDOR the entire movie made me want to fucking kill myself 1 stars
7/21/05 RockyS Depp's performance is perfectly smart and creepy 4 stars
7/21/05 Nessus More fun than I thought it would be, fantastic visuals, quirky 5 stars
7/20/05 Ken Great update (the original is one of my all-time favorites). Depp is perfectly creepy. 5 stars
7/20/05 William Vollmer not quite as good as '71 version 4 stars
7/19/05 Danny Burton-esque through and through, but missing the "magic" or the '71 film adaptation. 4 stars
7/19/05 Ole Man Bourbon Lots of good stuff 4 stars
7/19/05 orpament weirdly enjoyable except for the oompah loompahs 4 stars
7/19/05 jcjs easily as wow as the original, better even...Depp great, clever, fun, wonderful 5 stars
7/19/05 SmackDown Depp was terrible as Wonka, Jim Carry please! It felt rushed out, painfull to watch. Sorry! 3 stars
7/18/05 darkone silly makes no real sense 3 stars
7/18/05 Rick Burton creates a GREAT world...however, justifying Willy's candy obsession...odd 4 stars
7/17/05 Jeff Wilder Great film with a weak ending 4 stars
7/17/05 Charlie Not as good as the original. Watch Big Fish, directed by Burton as well, and is better. 3 stars
7/17/05 Nicole Creepier/darker feel than the 70's version and slightly altered story 4 stars
7/17/05 cpbjr extremely interesting. lagged in parts, with some poor execution. 4 stars
7/16/05 ReboValence This is how the last adaptation of the book should have gone. 5 stars
7/16/05 KingNeutron 3 1/2 *s; good in-jokes and music. Depp's Wonka doesnt compare to Wilder tho 3 stars
7/16/05 Jim The Movie Freak The boat ride was scarier in the original. Oompa Loompa songs lame! Still very entertainin 3 stars
7/16/05 Titus Soo o . . . cool. 5 stars
7/15/05 Body odor. Finally a guy in makeup,who has a kid styled home, that doesn't molest children. Brillant. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Jul-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Sep-2005




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