Urban Cinefile
"I knew that this experience was not going to come around again"  -Jonathan Pryce on his role in Evita
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday July 19, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Good hearted boy Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) lives with his poverty stricken parents, and their parents, in a shack in the shadow of the tantalizing and gi-normous 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.

There are more sweet things on the two-disc Deluxe DVD with five making-of featurettes, menu challenges and limited edition trading cards. We meet the actors, go behind the scenes, see how the special effects were created and even see how the squirrels were trained to perform.

Published January 19, 2006

Email this article

(US, 2005)

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


RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 1, 2005


SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of Featurettes - chocolate dreams; different faces, different flavours, designer chocolate, under the wrapper, sweet sounds, Oompa-Loompa dance, The Inventing Machine, The Bad Nut

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: January 19, 2006

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018