Everyone watches as Augustus Gloop goes up the chocolate chute.
Remakes have been a staple in Hollywood for as long as movies have been in color. Anna Karenina has been made seven times, Around the World in 80 Days five times, A Star Is Born five times, The Great Gatsby five times, and so many more. When Hollywood finds a good idea, they stick with it. So it’s no surprise then that a second adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was greenlit in the 1990’s. After spending a decade in development, the film was released in 2005 and was directed by Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, AnnaSophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz, and Christopher Lee, the film was sold as a more faithful adaptation of Dahl’s original book than the 1971 classic starring Gene Wilder.
The children and their chaperones line up to meet the man called Wonka.
Charlie Bucket (Highmore) and his family live in poverty in a run down shack in a small snowy town. The house is occupied by his parents, and four grandparents, with the four grandparents sharing a bed. The town is overshadowed by the large, ominous Wonka Chocolate Factory. The company's owner, Willy Wonka (Depp), is a mysterious recluse after closing his factory due to problems concerning industrial espionage from competitors. However, one day Wonka announces a contest in which five Golden Tickets have been placed in random Wonka Bars across the world. Those who find the tickets will win a full tour of the factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate, with one guest receiving an additional special prize at the end of the tour.
Fun size Mike Teavee will not be a candy that Wonka will be selling anytime soon.
The world goes into a frenzy trying to find the tickets, and the first four are found fairly quickly. The recipients are Augustus Gloop (Wiegratz), a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), a spoiled wealthy English girl; Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb), a competitive gum chewer; and Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry), an angry TV and video game junkie. Charlie, being a huge fan of Willy Wonka, tries twice to find a ticket, but both times comes up empty. After overhearing that the final ticket was found, Charlie finds a ten-dollar bill in the gutter and buys a Wonka Bar at a store. The news breaks that the fifth ticket was actually a fake, and Charlie opens his bar to find that he has indeed found the real, fifth, and final ticket. The five winners and their chaperones are greeted outside the factory by Wonka, who then leads them into his wondrous world of chocolate making, where accidents, tests, and a lot of candy await them all.
“Dad,” he said, “Enjoy!”
This film is a lot more faithful to Dahl’s original work than the 1971 film starting with the title itself. However, while it’s called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, this film is considerably more focused on Willy Wonka than the original. This film gives him a backstory and parental issues that really weren’t necessary to a story about kids visiting a chocolate factory. This added backstory was given to Wonka by Burton so he would come off less “creepy”, but it wouldn’t be necessary if Depp’s performance as Wonka wasn’t creepy to begin with. While Wilder portrayed Wonka as whimsical, eccentric, and kind, Depp goes for a far more creepy, arrested development kind of vibe. Outside of the differences from the original film, this movie suffers from an incredibly slow pace that kills the momentum before the factory hijinks can even begin. Where this film does shine however, is in the sets, effects and overall aesthetic of the world it takes place in. Wonka’s factory is a sight to behold, full of bright colorful candies so good looking you’ll want to eat them yourself, while the magnificent chocolate river actually looks like luxurious, dark chocolate rather than brown water as it did in the 1971 film. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory does enough to stand on its own as a faithful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s original book, but suffers from choices and pacing that keep it from reaching the heights of 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Mike’s chucks actually have the iconic All Star patch whited out in the film, but a chuck is a chuck.
Mike’s chucks slowly lift off the ground as he is lifted into the teleporter.
Every child in this film is dressed to hammer home their defining character traits. Charlie is dressed in raggedy, brown hand me downs, Violet has a plush violet sweat suit, Veruca wears fancy white furs, and Augustus is dressed in stretched out lederhosen. This brings us to Mike Teavee, who is dressed in all black to show how much of a “punk” he is. His black skull t-shirt and black jeans are paired with a pair of classic black high top chucks, which have always had their associations with rebellious souls and punk attitudes. The best chucks scene comes when Mike is put to the moral test in the Television Room. He of course fails because he is a terrible child, and is levitated, teleported, and rematerialized in a TV, leaving him the size of a very small toy. He’s taken by the Oompa Loompas to the taffy puller to be stretched back out, and they sing their song for him. This scene lets Mike finally go off the rails, as for most of the film he had just been rolling his eyes in the background. Now, the anger-filled boy from Denver who rages at his TV all day finally gets to go off on the “idiot” in charge of this factory, and he causes havoc in his black chucks.
“Beam me up, Willy.”
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