13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining … and it's not fattening,
This review is from: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2 Disc Edition) [DVD]  (DVD)
"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 The reclusive Wonka has withdrawn from the world for fifteen years but now returns with five golden tickets on offer, each ticket a passport to chocolate paradise.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.
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Initial post: 30 Dec 2010 20:51:54 GMT
I saw this for the first time the other night, there is about five line's of dialogue in the whole film.It's also horribly antiseptic and Americanized, has none of the charm of the book.I couldn't work out where it was supposed to be set England ? America? or perhaps a combination of the two.Foul rubbish!!!
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