Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Reviews

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Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2009
Because so much in Tim Burton's films stems from his vivid imagination, his films are highly personal, love-hate affairs. If you love one first time round, you'll want to see it again along with everything else he's made. If you hate it, or are simply bored by it, you'll resist seeing the film a second time. But in the case of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a second viewing could just be the key to appreciating it, and - perhaps more importantly - understanding what makes Burton so magical.

Comparisons were obviously going to be drawn between this and the 1971 adaptation, starring Gene Wilder. The first version made several changes from the book (like making the Oompa Loompas orange rather than pygmies) and was famously disowned by Roald Dahl himself. This version remained in development hell for over a decade while various directors, screenplays and leading men were presented to the Dahl estate, and all of them were refused.

It's therefore a given that, with the Dahl estate on board, this adaptation is the closest possible to the original story. Fans of the book will revel in the casting of the child actors, and Freddie Highmore in particular, who are well-accomplished and seem born to play their characters. Some liberties are taken of course, but unlike the earlier version, they by and large compliment the narrative. The dark back-story, with Willy Wonka's father being a dentist who forbids him from eating chocolate, works because it broadens out the character of Wonka. It prevents him from being just another English eccentric, and with the new denouement of the film, we actually start to sympathise with him rather than simply finding him a little freaky.

When it comes to Wonka himself, there is no-one better to play him than Johnny Depp. For all of Wilder's charm and comic ability, Depp manages to tap into the nub of Wonka's demons, vocalising them in that voice which is alternately jittery and flamboyant, and in a physical manner which is both creepy and charming. Comparisons with Michael Jackson, however, are barking up the wrong tree; Depp's portrayal is by his own admission closer in character to that of Howard Hughes. His Wonka, like Hughes, is a man with a singular love, a love to which he has dedicated his life and which threatens to consume him now he is ageing.

There are fine performances through the rest of the adult cast. Noah Taylor, still most famous for his cameo in Vanilla Sky, is convincing as Charlie's father, while Helena Bonham Carter is reigned in by her fiancée to give a subtle turn as the mother. David Kelly and Liz Smith are entertaining as two of the grandparents, and Missi Pyle is the most interesting (and appealing) of the spoilt children's parents. And of course, one must not overlook the deadpan Deep Roy as every single one of the Oompa-Loompas.

If there is a flaw with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it is that there is so much visual delight, so much going on on the surface, that the viewer may start to grow suspicious that there is nothing underneath. The rich and camp colour scheme - which make the factory look like the Joker's lair - is so overpowering that it threatens to obscure the moral points of the film. Burton is therefore wise to include enough scenes and snippets of dialogue to bolster the film's warnings against excess and selfishness. Whether in the invasion of the stores to find the golden tickets, or the piquant one-liners emanating from the children, this film has its eyes on the prize - so much so that we even forgive Burton for the highly sentimental last line.

The only other flaw with this film is the songs. Burton's close relationship with Danny Elfman has led some critics to believe that all of his films are essentially musicals. Sure enough, Elfman serves up another captivating score over the excellent opening credits. But the puppet scene upon entering the factory grounds manages to be downright toe-curling. And while the Oompa-Loompas sing lyrics written by Dahl himself, they are produced and processed in such a way that we cannot understand them. It's like dressing the Teletubbies in bondage gear and watching them through a kaleidoscope.

For all these little flaws, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remains one of Burton's best films. Like Batman Returns and Sleepy Hollow before it, the niggling little flaws in either the script or the execution of certain scenes are more than compensated for by the overall quality. The result is a visual delight with a deep moral root, a charming children's story which marries the darkness of Dahl's original to the gothic majesty that Burton has been honing since Beetlejuice. On first viewing, the visuals and altered ending may throw you off. But by persevering, and revisiting, disappointment can be avoided.
Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2014
Tim Burton's version of Roald Dahl's classic work is pretty a copy of the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder, and it just doesn't deliver. In fact, I found this to be among the worst of Tim Burton's films. In the lead role of Willy Wonka is Johnny Depp, who is always great in very off the wall eccentric characters, but here he is out of place, and just doesn't cut. I found this be a dull, boring film, one that tried too hard at putting new life into a classic story. The end result is a train wreck of a film, one that just doesn't offer anything new or exciting. I guess you can say that this is a remake, and in that regards, it's a horrible one, and it joining countless other movies that have been butchered by remakes. Burton has made some great films, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ranks among his worst with Planet of the Apes. I thought that this film relied more on visuals and effects to try and entertain, while the original grabbed your attention with memorable performances, well executed storytelling and charm. This tries too hard at delivering an entertaining ride by cramming way too much into the film, and overdoing everything. The finished film just doesn't deliver anything memorable and it ends up being a waste of time. Don't expect anything good with this film. Stick with the 1971 film, it is a far superior picture and it has a much better cast and it doesn't overdo anything like this one did. This one just has nothing to really grab your attention. Tim Burton is talented, but he just doesn't pull off anything fun, entertaining and ultimately memorable with his version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2007
Good re-make of the movie about children who win golden tickets to visit the chocolate factory. The special effects are great and Johnny puts on an excellent performance. I love the chocolate river.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2012
The visions of Dahl and Burton perfectly complement each other (please see Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox as a point of direct contrast here) and the film is therefore faithful to the book in a modern transposition (for instance the updating of Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teevee are prefect, and fully faithful to Dahl's characters). It is acerbic, funny, unsettling, with a good fondant centre, immeasurably superior to the Gene Wilde version I grew up with.
However, the British accents referring to 'candy' grates massively: please choose one or the other.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2012
There are very few films that are so recognised that they cannot be remade. This remake is full of flaws and doesn't even hit the standards of the orignal classic. The visuals on certain characters is unbelieveably poor,its completely obvious. The songs are not very clever and are no way near as iconic as the original. The biggest problem was Johnny Depp, unfortunately, he just didn't fit the role of Willy Wonka, espescially compared to Gene Wilder. People keep claiming that this remake has a darker atmosphere. This I completely disagree with, the original's nightmare tunnel scene is more iconic and terrifying than anything this film could come up with.
Super Reviewer
½ August 22, 2008
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are at it again. "Charlie" was a darker and more eerie take on Roald Dahl's famous novel. Though it takes a different direction it still comes out as entertaining with Depp's classic and hysterical performance. 3.5/5
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2012
I'm not very surprised that only 52% of the "people" enjoyed this movie. This movie is good, it was good to me at least. I don't know if you'll like it, but I thought it was a very good and inspiring movie.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2012
Every director (Except Christopher Nolan) is going to make at least one bad movie. This is Tim Burton's. It's a remake of the classic children's film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based off the book by Roald Dahl. Tim Burton likes to put focus on characters considered outcasts to society. The thing is , Willy Wonka isn't an outcast, just a secretive and mysterious man. So I knew Burton would find a way to screw up the character one way or another, and he did by casting Johnny Depp. I don't hate Depp, he's ok, but he's overrated. My first complaint is the potrayal of Willy Wonka. The original with Gene wilder as Wonka, I believe, was better. There's more mystery behind him and his unassuming manner is what makes him likable and funny. Wonka in this version though, is potrayed as if he just escaped from an asylum. Another problem this movie has is the other characters. For one thing, Charlie in this movie is incredibly bland. The way he reads his lines just doesn't have any flow. They could've casted someone better. Another thing with this Charlie is he's always saying a bunch of preachy lines. He's like the second coming of Christ. Seriously, when he was breaking up the chocolate to share with his family, I was waiting for him to say something like, "Eat this in rememberance of me." The other children I feel that their personalities were stretched out too far, but that's something you have to watch the movie for to understand. This version is more faithful to the book so I was impressed with that. Also, the songs sung by the Oompa loompa's were really catchy and not as redundant as the ones in the original. The art direction of this movie was also really neat to look at. It was almost all eye-candy. (Literally.) This version was also darker in tone, I didn't like that, especially when you try to read the book with the same darkness surrounding the environment. My biggest complaint, however, is the added backstory to the estrangement between Wonka and his father. Seriously, that was totally unnecessary.I know Tim Burton is trying to be original, but he hasn't had a unique idea since 1988's "Beetlejuice." It was cool seeing Christopher Lee with a cameo, though. (He played a real vampire, not the sparkly, vegetarian one Stephenie Meyer pulled from her ass.) Making this movie could've gone differently; they could've added a lighter tone, better comedic timing and casted better actors. Instead, we got an ok, average film (I guess it's ok.)
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ December 19, 2011
The film deserves praise for being closer and more faithful to the classic children's novel. But it's too dark for it's own good considering the audience its aiming at and it's just plain creepy and this ruins its chance at being something magical.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2010
I've admitted that "Willy wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is one of my top 20 favorite films, so when I heard they were going to remake it, I got a bit skeptic, but I still saw it anyway, and overall, it was okay, its nowhere near classic, and Tim Burton has made much better films than this, but its a decent film overall. The acting is okay, the songs are catchy as hell and very creative, and the plot follows the book a bit closer.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2011
Tim Burton always takes risks and he took another one here, to challenge the classic first Willy Wonka film. He tackled it and did a very good job in my opinion, he kept it original but added his own twist and flavor to it.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2011
Willy Wonka: Don't lose your heads. Don't get overexcited. Just keep very calm.

There is a lot of hate for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and really for no reason, except that to quote every adult over the age of 35. "It is nowhere near the original. This should never have been made. Cry me a river. Who cares that Burton remade a classic? We act like if someone remakes a classic, it somehow takes something away from the original. Like Gus Van Sant's Psycho, which isn't a good movie. But people act like Van Sant should be hung for remaking Psycho. Who cares? If you don't like the idea of a remake of Chocolate Factory, go watch the original and shut the fuck up. No one wants to hear you cry about the original being better because in reality it's not. Tim Burton's is better. I like the original too, but Burton did a great job with the remake. He made it creepier, more funny and the art direction is out of this world.

Johnny Depp kills it as Willy Wonka. Freddie Highmore is less annoying then then the kid from the original. The other four kids are done way better here. The backstory is awesome. The factory looks better. The dialogue is better. The direction is better. So the movie is superior to the first. The people who don't think it is remember going and watching it when they were 6 years old and think somehow this is cheating their childhood. Burton made a better movie, so get over it.

This isn't Burton's best movie, but it is really good. I hate to see people criticize this film because it is so good. Judge it as a single movie. Forget about the original while you are watching and you will love it. Thank you Burton and Depp for having the balls to remake a family classic.

Mike Teavee: Who wants a beard? 
Willy Wonka: Well, beatniks for one, folk singers, and motorbike riders. Y'know. All those hip, jazzy, super cool, neat, keen, and groovy cats. It's in the fridge, daddy-o! Are you hip to the jive? Can you dig what I'm layin' down? I knew that you could. Slide me some skin, soul brother! 
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2008
10/10 mainly for the fact that Johnny Depp is an excellent Willy Wonka. Much, much better than the original.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2009
Quite frankly, people can hat Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all they want; I still love it and think it's practically flawless. Not only is this much more of an accurate adaption of the book, but it's just visually amazing. The fact that it's so childlike and eerily bonkers is what makes all the slight jokes and offhand comments by the characters even more funny and effective. Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka is all kinds of crazy and makes for a believable candy inventor with the brain of a ten-year-old boy. What I like is that he's almost nothing like Gene Wilder's interpretation; so there's no sense in comparing the two. Johnny Depp's performance takes everything you'd expect from the character and completely levels it. It's one of the strangest attempts at a human being ever put on screen. I think all of the back story they give for Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas is a wise decision; honestly it's pretty hilarious when you know more about the two. I think the child actors in this are next to perfect. They're exaggerations of reality for sure, but at not one point does anyone seem fake or overacted. The music is the final straw in making this a bon-a-fide classic; it channels madness into song and dance. In the end, there's no reason anyone should find Tim Burton's version bad in any way. He's a visionary director that never seems to disappoint in terms of giving a visual landscape that is totally original and something out of a dream.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2006
I like this remake movie, more funny as such as Johnny Depp's character. Director Tim Burton expertly juggles mild scares and laughs, as with the factory workers, the Oompa Loompas. The much-criticised addition of a back-story involving Christopher Lee as Wonka Snr actually works very well. The factory sets are scrumptious. Yes, even for nostalgic adults, this is better than the popular 1971 version with Gene Wilder.
The ending scene is the best.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2011
It was nothing like the original but is still an okay movie with great effects and bad acting, a worthy remake though.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2008
The original, based off the children's book by Roald Dahl, had famous quotations taken from literature, the creepy ambiance of Gene Wilder, and those orange Oompa Loompas. This seemed like a Johnny Depp/Tim Burton coalition to derail a classic that defined my childhood and make a point about their own abilities as a collaborative team.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2010
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2010
I love this movie, it's entertaining. If you just let it be its own thing, it's wonderful. Tim Burton does an amazing job at putting his twist on a classic. It's creepy, visual, clever. I hate the Oompa Loompas more in this film, but Charlie is better than that pouty mess from the first one. This movie is easy to watch over and over again.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2010
Blasphemous to the original.
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