on 27 November 2005
"Charlie & The Chocolate Factory" has an ominous opening, a sort of Chocolate Citizen Kane analogy of the relentless success of Wonka's chocolate empire, the creation of a multinational with tentacles that reach round the globe and a factory in which the workers labour away like the oppressed employees in "Modern Times". The chocolate factory dominates the town like a dark satanic mill. Chocolate hasn't been this dark since Monty Python's crunchy frogs. And you appreciate that this may be a film which children will enjoy, but there's an adult subtext.
In a ramshackle hovel, Charlie Bucket and his family eke out an existence on cabbage soup, the bane of British school meals. The reclusive Wonka has withdrawn from the world for fifteen years but now returns with five golden tickets on offer, each ticket a passport to chocolate paradise. While kids around the world compete, connive, and manipulate their parents to ensure they secure one of the golden tickets, Charlie has to rely on luck.
It's a fascinating film, moving from the bleak grey and brown tones of Charlie's world to the wonderland which is Wonka's. The chocolate factory is garish, a full palette of bright colours, its confectionary an extraordinary adventure in the miraculous. It is a wonderland which will enrapture children. But there are decidedly dark undercurrents. Roald Dahl's 1964 novel has a sadistic quality to it, and director Tim Burton doesn't miss this. Children are no angels, and bad children deserve their comeuppance.
Johnny Depp plays the master of ceremonies, an unnaturally pale, reclusive man who has turned a factory into a circus, a playground for a bunch of cloned dwarves. You wonder who he could possibly have modelled the character on? You certainly wouldn't trust him with your children. As the film progresses we understand why Wonka has such an obsession with chocolate … and why he has such poor social skills.
This is a roller-coaster of a film - at its high points it is very funny, at its low points, you cringe. Burton certainly takes liberties with it's entertainment value. The musical sections are not necessarily memorable, but in places the dance routines remind you of someone. It's never saccharine, but at times it'll set your teeth on edge.
It's a good film, not a great film, but a good one. How much you enjoy it may well depend on how big a fan you are of Johnny Depp. He deliberately goes over the top in this role. He's an astonishingly good actor … but whether you want to believe him in this role is really a matter of choice, not acting technique. In part, I'm still undecided, which may indicate that this is a film you can watch more than once. Whether it will have the same compulsive charm for children that Gene Wilder's 1971 "Willy Wonka" had, well, there's a question.
The DVD picture and sound quality is excellent, but note there is a choice of a single disc version and a double disc one - the latter offering some interesting extras and some games which probably will keep young kids entertained for a while, but which will almost certainly drive adults demented.
on 26 April 2015
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY  [10th Anniversary Special Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] A Feast For The Eyes And Imagination!
What wonders await you in Willy Wonka’s factory? Sail along the Chocolate River in a pink sugar boat. Experiment with Everlasting Gobstoppers in the Inventing Room. Observe talented squirrels in the Nut Room, and travel to the Television Room via glass elevator. You’ll find a lot that’s funny, a little that’s mysterious and an adventure as sweet and satisfying as a Wonka Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight bar. This dazzling film of Roald Dahl’s classic children novel. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp [Willy Wonka] and Freddie Highmore [Charlie Bucket], is your Golden Ticket to a world so inventive and amazing, you won’t want to miss a delicious moment!
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Costume designer Gabriella Pescucci received an Academy Award® nomination. More nominations followed from the British Academy Film Awards for Visual Effects, Costume Design for Gabriella Pescucci, Makeup and Hair for Peter Owen and Ivana Primorac and Production Design for Alex McDowell. ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was also nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, as well as Performance by a Younger Actor for Freddie Highmore, Music for Danny Elfman and Costume Design for Gabriella Pescucci. Danny Elfman Composer and Screenwriter John August were nominated for a Grammy Award with "Wonka's Welcome Song."
Cast: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Deep Roy, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Franziska Troegner, AnnaSophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz, Blair Dunlop, Liz Smith, Eileen Essell, David Morris and Geoffrey Holder (Narrator)
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Brad Grey, Michael Siegel and Richard D. Zanuck
Screenplay: John August
Composer: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color By Deluxe / Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital [Dubbed in Quebec], Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and French [Quebec]
Running Time: 115 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Tim Burton’s magical version of Roald Dahl’s classic is as weird and twisted as you might expect, but it still far surpasses the original film in every sense. Deliciously dark and packed with candy-coloured visuals, Tim Burton's adaptation of Roald Dahl's “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is an intoxicating endorphin rush. Freddie Highmore is engagingly winsome as one of five children who find a ticket to the world's most magnificent chocolate factory. But it's his ‘Finding Neverland’ co-star Johnny Depp who steals the show as the oddball chocolatier. While the story is a little soft in the centre, his take on Willy Wonka is a richly layered treat.
Screenwriter John August embellishes Roald Dahl's story with carefully pitched flashbacks to Willy Wonka's traumatic childhood and gives Johnny Depp a slight edge over Gene Wilder's 1971 portrayal, but despite this I still love and cherish the Gene Wilder version. The backstory lends a darker tone, but strangely for Burton, the idea of the four "rotten children" who disappear one by one on the factory tour lacks a palpable sense of menace. His greatest strength is in creating a seductive but slightly off-kilter wonderland rippled with chocolate rivers and where marshmallows grow on shrubs harvested by pygmy-like Oompa-Loompas (all played by Deep Roy). With some awesome garnish of zingy dialogues, especially like "Don't touch that squirrel's nuts, it makes him crazy!" It is a return to form for Tim Burton, this is a delight from start to finish, it’s a hugely enjoyable, brightly coloured children’s fantasy, with a terrific central performance from Johnny Depp. In a word, delicious!
It’s safe to say that Tim Burton’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” book is one of the most much loved films of the year of its release in 2005. It’s generally accepted that the director’s collaborations with Johnny Depp are his best films and this delightful confection is thankfully no exception, it’s easily Tim Burton’s best film since ‘Ed Wood’ and a sure-fire contender that should have been awarded one of the best films of 2005.
Young Charlie Bucket [Freddie Highmore] that lives with his loving parents [Helena Bonham Carter and Noah Taylor] and grandparents, in a ramshackle house in the shadow of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
After years of secrecy, the mysterious Willy Wonka [Johnny Depp] announces that he will open the gates of his famous factory to five lucky children, who will be randomly selected by finding a Golden Ticket inside one of Wonka’s chocolate bars. The children include: chocoholic Augustus Gloop [Philip Wiegratz], overachieving Violet Beauregarde [AnnaSophia Robb], spoiled brat Veruca Salt [Julia Winter], videogame addict Mike Teevee [Jordan Fry] and, to his wide-eyed amazement, Charlie Bucket [Freddie Highmore] himself. But what he finds in the factory exceeds even his wildest dreams . . .
The actors are really wonderful and full of charachter. Freddie Highmore is perfect as Charlie, there's an impressive naturalism and maturity to his performance, which contrasts well with the madness around him. David Kelly is good value as Grandpa Joe and the child actors are all superb. There’s also strong support from the likes of James Fox and Missi Pyle as the children’s’ parents and an astonishing range of performances from digitally-reduced actor Deep Roy, who plays all the Oompa-Loompas and recorded separate movements for each one.
However, the film unquestionably belongs to Johnny Depp. He makes the most out of every line and gets several laughs just from the looks he shoots people. It's an extremely mannered performance but Tim Burton and Johnny Depp make it clear that Willy Wonka himself (who hasn't been seen in public for 15 years) is nervously playing a part for his audience, to the point where he frequently reads his own lines off his personal cue cards.
There are some wonderful throwaway lines, "You're really weird" (to James Fox being a particular highlight), some literal throwaway gags, especially tossing James Fox's card over his shoulder and a great running gag where he keeps accusing Mike Teavee of mumbling.
The sets, many of them actually built rather than CGI, are terrific and wonderfully colourful, in stark contrast to the snowy landscapes that characterise Charlie's "real" world. The factory sets are breathtakingly beautiful, but there's wonderful colour and detail in the other sets too, e.g. the toothpaste factory that Charlie Bucket's dad works in and the Wonka Shop from Grandpa Joe's flashback.
Danny Elfman’s score is extremely good and the songs are all very imaginatively staged, although the lyrics are occasionally difficult to hear. On a similar note, purists may complain about the Americanisation of the film, as well as the amusing flashbacks Tim Burton gives Willy Wonka (involving a perfectly cast Christopher Lee, who has sadly passed away, as Willy Wonka’s strict dentist father, presumably the nearest Tim Burton could come to casting Vincent Price, who of course has also now sadly passed away).
The film is frequently hilarious and can sometimes be slightly funnier than the previous filmed version with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, which again is also a great favourite of mine. It’s also brimming with lots of inventions, especially there are tons of fabulous sight gags and Tim Burton makes terrific use of Stanley Kubrick's ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and Alfred Hitchcock's ‘Psycho’ during the Mike Teavee sequence.
To sum up, this is utterly fantastic in every sense of the word. The sets and music are great, it’s perfectly cast and it’s thoroughly entertaining. But sadly Tim Burton was robbed of not getting the Best Director Oscar nomination in 2005 and there is no justice. This is a totally unmissable film for all generations.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is presented with a brilliant 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a stunning 1080p high-definition transfer is colourful affair. There are some artificial moments in the softening of faces and effects, yet they all add to the Wonka’s stage. Details are crisp and the colours looking bolder and deeper than ever seen before are wonderfully imaginative. The palette of colours is finally perceived with the VC-1 encode provided by Warner Bros. There is a marvellous depth to the picture that was never there before; witness the garden of chocolate delights if you ever need proof of HD power. Even the coolness of the “most important room in the factory” looks stunningly new and layered with marvellous colours and strong black levels.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Similarly, the disc has a robust 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround audio track as well as a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Music-Only Track, which showcase Danny Elfman’s score as well as good dialogue levels and is an all-around dynamic track with good and impressive depth. I will mention, as with the old Warner discs, the main audio track is the 5.1 Dolby Digital Master Audio, so you will have to select via the menu with the audio options button on your remote control to select the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD surround audio track. Yet, again trying to steal the picture’s marvellous thunder is the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD sound mixes that carries Danny Elfman’s score and songs. It is a wonderful testament to surround sound and makes the lyrics, which were sometimes lost in previous mixes, are loud and clear.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Tim Burton: Here we get to hear Tim Burton extol why he wanted to film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ because he respected the author Roald Dahl and it was one of Tim Burton’s first book he ever read, that galvanised his imagination to make this fantastic film, and Roald Dahl’s books can be read by all ages. Tim Burton was so pleased to have Danny Elfman as the composer, as he brings the film to the right pitch in bringing Roald Dahl imagination to fruition and spectacular ambience, and Tim Burton feels he has really brought the book to life and that Roald Dahl would have been pleased with the results, which is also stated by Roald Dahl’s family. But when it came to showing the chocolate palace in India, he used a lot of CGI effects, but with the close up images, they actually tried to find the right constitution to make the actual set look like a real chocolate palace, and Tim Burton felt it was much more fun to shoot and have the actors enjoy the experience of actually being in a real Chocolate Palace. With the actual filming, 95% of it was filmed in the Pinewood Studios, which made for a really satisfying experience, especially to keep everything contained and especially mention his enjoyable and fond memories of filming the Batman movie in the same studios and especially travelling around in his golf cart. Tim Burton felt he wanted to be true to the book, regarding the family unit, which was very important to portray in this film. Tim Burton reflected the fact that he always enjoys model building and the sets, as he feels the CGI effects would not look realistic. Tim Burton informs us that the young female actress who plays Veruca Salt was one of his favourite characters, and was totally fresh, but also had the look of a character out of the horror film ‘Village of the Damned.’ Tim Burton said that when James Fox came onto the set, he knew it would give some gravitas to the film and also gave some humour to the film. But Tim Burton also tells us he was worried that the Dahl Family would reject his view of the book to film, but the whole Dahl Family gave it the thumbs up and said that Roald Dhal would have loved his interpretation of the book. So to sum up, the whole audio commentary experience was a well worth experience, with total satisfaction. But of course I have only given you a sample of the audio commentary, but please give it a whirl, as it is well worth it, as it will give you a great insight into the filming. Happy viewing!
Special Feature: IN-MOVIE EXPERIENCE! Tim Burton takes you through the mouth-watering creative process that brought this elaborate production to the big screen, as you watch the film! Here you get now and again little video screens appear either side of the TV screen with extra behind-the-scene extolling fantastic information relating to the making of the film. Also now again the actor Deep Roy, who served as all the 165 Oompa-Loompas pops up on the screen to give some interesting information of certain scenes you view while viewing the film. This is presented in Television Chocolate and what is also marvellous about this particular extra, is you also get lots of funny sound effects and lots of silly anecdotes, which are very amusing and is a most enjoyable viewing experience.
Special Feature: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams  [480i] [4:3] [6:56] Discover Tim Burton’s vision for the film, plus the process of adapting the story with Screenwriter John August. Here we get to see clips from the film, as well as in-depth behind-the-scene filming. But as a bonus we also get a lot of contributions from people like Tim Burton [Director]; Felicity Dahl [Executive Producer]; Johnny Depp [Willy Wonka]; Richard. D. Zanuck [Producer]; Helena Bonham Carter [Mrs. Bucket]; Brad Grey [Producer] and John August [Screenwriter].
Special Feature: Different Faces, Different Flavors  [480i] [4:3] [10:38] Learn about the actors who played each pf the film’s principle characters, especially from Willy Wonka to Augustus Gloop. With this particular extra, we get an intimate and informative chats with the likes of actors as follows: AnnaSophia Robb [Violet Beauregarde]; Christopher Lee [Dr. Wonka]; Deep Roy [Oompa-Loompa]; Felicity Dahl [Executive Producer]; Johnny Depp [Willy Wonka]; Adam Godley [Mr. Teavee]; Liz Smith [Grandma Georgina]; Richard D. Zaznuck [Producer]; Tim Burton [Director]; David Kelly [Grandpa Joe]; Brad Grey [Producer]; Freddie Highmore [Charlie Bucket]; Noah Taylor [Mr. Bucket]; Eileen Essell [Grandma Joesphine]; David Morris [Grandpa George]; Philip Wiegratz [August Gloop with English Subtitles]; Jordon Fry [Mike Teavee]; Missi Pyle [Mrs. Beauregard]; Julie Winter [Veruca Salt]; James Fox [Mr. Salt] and Helena Bonham Carter [Mrs. Bucket]. We also get a nice bonus with seeing lots of clips from the film, plus extra behind-the-scene filming, which is a very nice extra bonus.
Special Feature: Designer Chocolate  [480i] [4:3] [9:36] Explore the movie’s ambitious and colourful production design. Once again we get an intimate behind-the-scene of the film and especially seeing all the beautiful set designs. We also get to view some of Tim Burton’s personal drawings, plus lots of contributions by the following people like Alex McDowell [Production Designer]; Tim Burton [Director]; Richard D. Zanuck [Producer]; Brad Grey [Producer]; Felicity Dahl [Executive Producer]; José Granell [Model Unit Supervisor]; Liz Smith [Grandma Georgina]; Leslie Tomkins [Supervising Art Director]; Helen Bonham Carter [Mrs. Bucket]; Peter Young [Set Decorator]; Gabrielle Pescucci [Costume Designer with English Subtitles]; Lindsay Pugh [Costume Supervisor]; Philippe Rousselot [Director of Photography]; Jordon fry [Mike Teavee]; Julie Winter [Veruca Salt]; Freddie Highmore [Charlie Bucket]; AnnaSophie Robb [Violet Beauregarde] and Johnny Depp [Willy Wonka].
Special Feature: Under the Wrapper  [480i] [4:3] [6:58] Discover the fascinating array of special and visual effects used to bring Wonka’s factory to life on screen. Here we go on a journey to see all the talented people who brings all the fantastic array of special effects and especially the extensive use of the CGI effects to the finished film and it also shows you the tricks of the trade. On this fascinating look behind-the-scene, we get to meet the following contributors like Joss Williams [Special Effects Supervisor]; Nick Davis [Visual Effects Supervisor]; Tim Burton [Director]; Leslie Tomkins [Supervising Art Director]; Joss Williams [Special Effects Supervisor]; Alex McDowell [Production Designer]; Johnny Depp [Willy Wonka]; Nikki Penny [Visual Effects Producer]; AnnaSophie Robb [Violet Beauregarde] and Neal Scanlan [Animatronic & Prosthetics Creative Supervisor].
Special Feature: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds  [480i] [4:3] [7:16] Learn how Composer Danny Elfman created each of the Oompa-Loompa songs. As soon as this extra starts, we get to see actor Deep Roy [Oompa-Loompa] in different scenes, with the combination of funny sound effects. But the bonus is we get to see Danny Elfman [Composer] talking about all the difficulties he encountered. But we also get contributions from the likes of Tim Burton [Director]; Deep Roy [Oompa-Loompa] and Francesca Jaynes [Choreographer]. But what is also very nice about this particular extra is how Danny Elfman shows off the process he went through in bringing all the songs together, plus we get loads of extra behind-the-scenes of mainly all the dancers going through their routines and of course you also get lots of clips from the film.
Special Feature: Becoming Oompa-Loompa  [480i] [4:3] [7:16] How did they ever turn one man into hundreds of Oompa-Loompas. In this particular extra, we get contributions from the likes of Julia Winter [Veruca Salt]; Tim Burton [Director]; Jane Karen [Lip Sync & Vocal Coach]; Nick Davis [Visual Effects Supervisor]; Danny Elfman [ Composer]; Francesca Jaynes [Choreographer]; Deep Roy [Oompa-Loompa]; Nikki Penny [Visual Effects Producer] and Neal Scanlan [Animatronic & Prosthetics Creative Supervisor]. But what is really fascinating about this extra, is all the technical wizardry that went into making Deep Roy into the hundreds of Oompa-Loompas and how Deep Roy had to learn many new skills and how he enjoyed the whole experience.
Special Feature: Attack of the Squirrels  [480i] [4:3] [9:48] A Look at the how squirrels were trained. Here we go straight into this extra with a clip from the film and we get to see behind-the-scene with the trainers and some of the real cute squirrels who originally came from England at a Squirrels Rescue Centre and all of them have individual names. We also get to see the monumental task of trying to get the squirrels to do their stuff on command, as they don’t like to be touched. But it is totally fascinating to see the trainers go through a pains taking job to get the squirrels to do what they are told. But we also get contributions from people like Tim Burton [Director]; Michael Alexander [Head-Animal Trainer]; Oliver Hodge [Supervising Prop Modeller]; Julie Winter [Verruca Salt]; Neal Scanlan [Animatronic & Prosthetics Creative Supervisor]. But what I really like with this extra, as when you get up close-ups with the grey squirrels, they make you smile and it was also fascinating all the hard work the trainers put in to get the grey squirrels to see the finished effects in the film.
Special Feature: Fantastic Mr. Dahl  [480i] [4:3] [17:42] Learn more about the life of the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is an actual British Television Documentary entitled ‘Imagine...Fantastic Mr Dahl’ , that was originally shown on BBC One and presented by Alan Yentob, and it goes behind-the-scene on the life and times of Mr. Roald Dahl, and as we journey into the prolific authors contributions to children’s fantasy books and we get to see interviewed with people like Valerie Eaton-Griffith [Neighbour]; Sophie Dahl [Granddaughter]; Roald Dahl [Author]; Luke Kelly [Grandson]; Tessa Dahl [Daughter]; Amanda Conguy [Neighbour]; Theo Dahl [Son]; Felicity Dahl [Widow]; Quentin Blake [Illustrator]; Stephen Roxburgh [Dahl’s Publisher]; Brough Girling [Friend]; Murray Pollinger [Dahl’s Literary Agent]; Liz Attenborough [Dahl’s Publisher]; Ophelia Dahl [Daughter] and Sir David Weatherall [Dahl’s Doctor]. Despite not seeing the full 60 minute documentary, you do get to see lots of personal Home Cine Film and Ronald Dahl with his family and also in his private shed.
Special Feature: Pre-visualisations Augustus Gloop Dance  [480i] [4:3] [1:32] This is a compilation of rough computer images, plus live behind-the-scene rehearsal filming. But why you view this you get the full music soundtrack of the Augustus Gloop Dance.
Special Feature: Pre-visualisations Mike Teavee Dance  [1080p] [16:9] [2:54] This is basically a Promotional Music Video, where you get to see Deep Roy in a big white room, watching a small TV screen with scenes from the film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’ But suddenly you get fantastic colourful images coming out of the TV screen to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio of your TV screen with colourful explosions, plus the Mike Yeavee Dance Music track from the film, which has been remixed and is certainly a totally brilliant fun promotional music video. I bet the technical bods had a fantastic time putting this brilliant video together, as they have certainly have gone over the top with a wild kaleidoscope of amazing colours and images. Happy viewing!
Special Feature: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Music-Only Track: Showcasing Danny Elfman's Score and Songs.
Special Feature: Fun + Games  [1080p] [16:9] [2:54] Club Reel as seen in clubs across Europe. This is most confusing, as all you get in this extra is a repeat of the Promotional Music Video.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [4:3] [2:25] This is one of the worst film trailer I have seen in a very long time for ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ as the quality is really bad and with this 10th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray release, you would of thought they could of found a much more pristine print.
BONUS: New to this release are the print materials. In the stunning Blu-ray case, is housed in a beautiful printed new slipcase. You get included a beautiful stunning colourful exclusive Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Photo Book that has an amazing 34 pages of all the main characters from the film, which you will treasure forever. Another nice extra bonus included is a really nice special single sheet of the Director’s personal message, where he gets to tell you that it is hard to believe how much time has passed since he filmed ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at the renowned Pinewood Studios near London, but if you want to read the rest of this really nice special leaflet, you are going to have to purchase this 10th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray disc release. It’s too bad there aren’t any new special features to mark the decade anniversary, but this edition does offer ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ in a somewhat fancier package.
Finally, overall, this 10th Anniversary release of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is merely a repackaging with commemorative Exclusive Photo Book and the Director’s Letter. It is about time that Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ got an extra special edition release on Blu-ray with some real special features. Many wrote the film off because it was so different from the original. While the differences are obvious they are intentional. ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is not a remake of ‘Willy Wonka’, but a new, possibly truer, interpretation of Roald Dahl’s great book. The new special edition offers again the chance for audiences to embrace this distinction and see the film for what it is and not for what some think it is or wished it should be. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom