With this film you constantly hear people comparing it to the previous film version starring Gene Wilder. Well not here, because although I think I’ve seen it at some stage, I don’t really remember it all that well. So obviously it didn’t make a great impression on me.
For the few who don’t know this is based on the book of the same title by Roald Dahl. The plot is centered on the chocolate factory of the title, its owner (Willy Wonka) and Charlie Bucket. Charlie, played by Freddie Highmore from Finding Neverland, comes from a family so poor that all they seem to eat is cabbage soup. His four grandparents share the one bed, and never leave it. Every year for his birthday Charlie gets a bar of chocolate, the only one he’ll have all year. He always gets a bar of Wonka’s chocolate and loves the stories his grandpa Joe tells about the factory, and its mysterious owner Willy Wonka.
When a competition to allow five children to enter the factory is announced the chances are slim that Charlie will get a golden ticket…
Now my memory might be faulty here, but wasn’t Charlie supposed to be English? So why did he find a dollar bill? Why does he use the term candy?
But those are just minor quibbles. All in all I really enjoyed this film. Depp’s Wonka is wonderfully weird and, well, just plain wacky. His disdain for the children is perfect for the film, as are the Oompa Loompa’s crazy routines. Certain reviews have compared Depp’s Wonka to Michael Jackson, but I have to say I don’t see the similarities. Yes both are unnaturally white, but Wonka is not interested in the children at all, he doesn’t care about them, all he cares about is chocolate and sweets and inventing.
From the outset it is obvious that this is a Burton film, there are all those weird but great visuals, not to mention Depp’s take on Willy Wonka. Although I did think that the music wasn’t especially Burtonesque, and in most places didn’t really stand out. Having said that I did enjoy the Oompa Loompa’s songs.
The children are all well-cast, Highmore especially is perfect as the scrawny underfed Charlie. But my favourite was the spoiled-rotten “Veruca Salt, the little brute, Has just gone down the garbage chute”.