Friday, August 5, 2005

Film Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Today I had one of the most magnificent time enjoying this new Tim Burton film based on Roadl Dahl's book. I have to admit that I have never watched the first Chocolate Factory film so I won't be making comparisons. I do however have a slight understanding of the plot as it has been the subject of homage before (eg. Futurama: Fry and the Slurm Factory). And yes, I read the book.

Before I continue the first trailer of Corpse Bride, the sixth Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration, aired before the film started. Unlike Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was filmed in stop motion technique, Corpse Bride seems to be fully CG. No matter, it will be much like Nightmare in the sense of style although the plot will be very much different. Can't wait! Hehe.

** may contain spoilers **

And now onto Chocolate Factory. A little plot summary first to fill you in: Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) the founder and owner of the amazing Chocolate Factory announces a contest where five children would win the chance to visit the factory by obtaining one of five gold tickets hidden in Wonka Chocolate bars. Charlie (Freddie Highmore who stared opposite Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland) founds one and along with him, four other (plotting villains) kids obtains the special privilege of being the first to visit Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

Tim Burton's visual feast of extravagant and gothic infused architecture is all here. I was also glad Christopher Lee was in, playing a character created especially to provide Willy Wonka a family history. Freddie Highmore, while pretty darn good whenever screen time is given, is shut to the background for much of the film when most of the spotlights focus on Willy Wonka's characterisation.

Deep Roy was excellent as the multiple Oompa Loompas in which CGI trick cloned him tens of times. With numerous musical sequence (Bollywood number, rock n' roll etc.) it does get tiring by the end though. But the best part were the squirrels. Rumours had it that fourty squirrels were trained for the attack scene with Veruca Salt (BTW, that scene was pretty 'scary' initially - I really thought the squirrels were going to eat her).

And finally Willy Wonka. Johnny Depp probably deserves another Oscar nomination for his excellent portrayal of the psychological challenged Willy Wonka. Yes, the 'flashback' sequences strayed out of the book and probably gave his creepiness a slight run. Oh well. I mean it did pave way for Christopher Lee in the film didn't it? And he is one of my favourite actors.

After the dud that was Planet of the Apes, it was lucky for Tim Burton to pull this off. I knew even without watching the so called classic version that this is the definite Willy Wonka film. A classic this will be as a children's film. Now where is that damn chocolate bar!

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