CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Good hearted by Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) lives with his poverty stricken parents, and their parents, in a shack in the shadow of the tantalizing and ginormous Wonka Chocolate Factory, where his grandpa Joe (David Kelly) once worked. But the factory has had no staff for 15 years and the secretive, eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) has not been seen. Now, however, he proclaims that five gold tickets have been included at random in the millions of chocolate bars sold around the world. The five lucky finders will be invited for a full day tour through the amazing chocolate factory, its many secrets revealed, guided by Willy Wonka himself. Charlie desperately wants to see inside the magic castle of his chocolate dreams, but his only chance seems to ride on the one chocolate bar he gets for his birthday.
Review by Louise Keller:
Like a confectionery version of The Land of Oz, Willie Wonka's chocolate factory offers a fantasy-land of delicious delectables on which one could dream-out. A river of thickly flowing chocolate whose consistency is made just right by the gushing waterfall, a lolly-pink sugar-cane boat shaped like a seahorse manned by midget Oompa-Loompas, a black and white cow that produces cream by whipping.... Welcome to the magical land of Roald Dahl, courtesy Tim Burton.
Visually scrumptious and peppered with liberal doses of humour, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a magical wonderland for all. It's a sparkling fantasy bursting with quirky ideas and wondrous notions. It's no surprise that Johnny Depp makes a full meal of his role as the eccentric Willie Wonka, whose obsession with chocolate began as a youngster when his overly strict dentist father (Christopher Lee) forbade him to eat candy. The result is a set of perfect white teeth of course, and parental paranoia. Young Freddie Highmore excels as everyboy Charlie, who has no claim to fame except that he is a really nice kid who loves his family. Of course, the importance of family is the moral of the story, and some warning bells toll for parents who allow the monster to peek from their little darling through misguided parenting.
There's much about the film that is remarkable, not the least being that Deep Roy plays 20 roles as the midget Oompas, who break out in song in choreographed routines. The teeniest little door ('to keep the chocolate flavour inside') leads us into Willie Wonka's world with its lush colours and stark stylised designs. The look of the film is sheer Burton-esque. Starting with Charlie's crooked house, where his parents (Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor) and Grandparents live, it's bright and colourful with a myriad of Burton-esque concepts.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Wondrously imaginative and endearingly bizarre as only Roald Dahl could be in the hands of Tim Burton, this is a spectacular yet droll adaptation of a book whose power lies in its ability to fire the young reader's imagination. There, that's twice in one sentence that imagination is used ... A visual carnival of colour and fantasy, dripping with quirk and seriously eccentric, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is more entertaining even - or perhaps especially - for adults than most adult films.
The story, filled with morals and potentially schmalzy virtues, is lightened by its dark side, if you'll pardon the contradiction. There in amongst the rustic Bucket home, where family is the most precious and valued possession, is also a good dose of phlegmatic adult comment and that's before we meet the tantalising grown up, Willy Wonka. In his childhood, the poor boy was turned off parents by his stern dentist of a father (Christopher Lee) who forbade him sweets and chocolates, until he ran away from home.
And now, in all his twisted glory as the king of chocolatiers, Willy Wonka rules over the most magical factory in the world of chocolate. Within its majestic walls are fountains, rivers and nearly everything else all made of liquid chocolate, and a few surprises as well. (You may never see whipped cream in the same light again!)
Johnny Depp is enigmatically weird as Wonka, a beautifully balanced yet daringly provocative performance which gives the film its cool, hard edged tone. Freddie Highmore is his usually credible boy self, here made to be a naturally warm hearted lad who knows perfectly well that loving family is more important and valuable to him than the key to the entire chocolate factory.
It's a robust fairy tale with none too subtle swipes at greed and wilfulness, glorifying and rewarding the generous of heart, all the while having naughty fun.
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CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (PG)
CAST: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, David Kelly, Missie Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Franziska Troegner, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz, Blair Dunlop, Liz Smith, Eileen Essell, David Morris
PRODUCER: Brad Greyu, Richard D. Zanuck
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton
SCRIPT: John August (novel by Roald Dahl)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phillippe Rousselot
EDITOR: Chris Lebenzon
MUSIC: Danny Elfman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alex McDowell
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 1, 2005