Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Golden Ticket!

Duration: 115min
Category: family
Available: On DVD
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I was worried as the lights went down before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory started. Sure I had been eagerly anticipating this movie since I heard it was being made, in fact I had been eagerly anticipating a decent screen version from the first moment I read the novel as a child, but now that it was finally happening I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my dream. I am very happy to say that it easily lived up to all my dreams and more.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in many ways, a purist’s dream come true. Most scenes are ripped directly from the book and the augmentations flesh out the story and characters in a way that is welcome and not gratuitous. However, you don’t have to be a fan of the novel to love this film. It’s the kind of film that just grabs you and shakes you senseless until you can’t help but love it, yourself and the world.

Burton has done some of his best work in his adaptation of Dahl’s book. He has lovingly brought each chapter to life while furnishing the story with extras that truly enhance the experience.

Much of this credit it due his amazing cast lead by the most talented man in Hollywood right now Johnny Depp. Depp’s Willy Wonka is even more fully realised than his Jack Sparrow. Wonka is at once a child and a man, terrifying and lovable, creepy and… well just creepy. He has created a truly unique performance that is complete, a feat that has not been done before with this character. Watching him is watching a master at his craft. It would be so easy for this performance to fall into caricature but Depp never allows it. He believes in this guy from the beginning and therefore Wonka is alive, in all his eccentricities.

The rest of the cast is excellent too. Certainly the children are each a delight in their own nasty way and Freddie Highmore manages to be the sweet and innocent Charlie without being sickeningly annoying. He, like his cast mates, truly embodies his role. Missi Pyle is especially hysterical as the mother of Violet Beauregard. I could have watched her and her eyes all day.

This is the real treat of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it is a completely realized world with every corner filled. There is no cheaping out here on story, character or detail. The look of the film is amazing, like a Technicolor classic, and the music is the kind that makes you want to run out to the store and buy the soundtrack immediately. Just when Danny Elfman seemed to have run his course, he proves he still has some life left in him. This is the work of film makers who love what they are doing.

Most importantly, the film is damn funny. I giggled through most of the film and laughed out loud repeatedly. Much of the humour stems directly from the source material, but even more comes from the nuance with which the story is told. The film makers aren’t falling back on old clichés or tired retreads. This is a truly original piece, an amazing feat for a “re-make” adaptation. The work of all involved makes this a truly unique experience.

I can’t recommend this film strongly enough. I can’t imagine someone not enjoying themselves at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Go, take your kids and buy everyone a big bar of chocolate. Dreams really can come true.

Review By: Collin Smith

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