Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore and David Kelly

Directed by: Tim Burton

Willy Wonka, a master chocolatier, runs a competition where 5 lucky people who find his golden tickets will be invited to explore his chocolate factory.

As a child I used to really love the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as any Roald Dahl book at that time was more or less a winner. As well as the book I used to love the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie which starred the magnificent Gene Wilder, it was so entertaining to me as I watched it as a child that lived in hope of visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I was a little gutted when I grew older and realised that it was merely an unachievable aspiration. I can’t remember any of the specific details included in the book having not read it for at least 20 years so I couldn’t tell you whether this new adaptation of the story follows the book closely or not but I do remember the general gist of the story as well as most of the characters names and minor details about them.

Once more Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter both reunite with Tim Burton for another visually stimulating ride of dark adventure. Unfortunately the visuals were one of only a few things that I enjoyed in this movie. I felt that this movie really didn’t do my memory of both the book and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory justice as I found myself increasingly bored as the movie played out as there were very few redeemable features. With the chocolate factory being very well put together with the imagination running wild in the waterfall chocolate making area and some of the characters such as Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop and Grandpa Joe were very well portrayed by the actors who played them. Outside of these select characters there wasn’t a great deal that impressed me. Johnny Depp was almost unrecognisable as he played the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka but was rather lousy nonetheless as he fails to capture the magic of the character.

The greatest failure for me in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were the Oompa Loompa’s. In the previous movie they were fun, the songs they sang were catchy and their appearance was outlandish but here they were dull and looked extremely plain and basic despite being from a mysterious place that doesn’t exist. Also the songs were incredibly long winded and boring and as the movie progressed and the Oompa Loompa’s became more heavily involved I began tuning out more and more. The talent and skill set of Helena Bonham Carter was vastly wasted as she played Charlie’s mum who barely featured in the movie which was a little disappointing. Christopher Lee however made a cameo appearance as Willy Wonka’s father and while he only featured in a handful of scenes I felt he did very well with his role although I feel he may have been better suited as the narrator as he just has one of those kind of voices, much like Morgan Freeman.

Overall, I was disappointed at Tim Burton’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as it was largely poor with only a small handful of redeemable qualities. For a movie where children are a large portion of its demographic it simply wasn’t fun enough.


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