Director: Tim Burton
Original Release: 2005
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is on a very short list of my favorite books, all-time. I read it not long ago as part of my 12 Books in 12 Months project: see post here. As I noted in that post, I prefer this version to the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. In my opinion, this later movie is far more faithful to the original story. The Dahl estate had much broader artistic control this time.
Even beyond the strong adaptation, Burton's movie is a great piece of work in its own right. Major selling points for me:
- I love Johnny Depp's interpretation of Willy Wonka - so much more than merely zany. Depp brings a detachment that lends a darker edge to the proceedings. The back story, entirely new, is vintage Burton.
- The casting of Deep Roy as all of the Oompa-Loompas is a stroke of genius.
- The squirrels in the nut room are very satisfying. I can appreciate how the same scene would have been difficult to accomplish with 1971 technology but the golden egg in the Wilder version is a wholly inadequate substitute.
- All of the children are well-cast - no small feat in the film industry. All but Charlie are delightfully wretched. Pressed to pick a favorite, I'd go with AnnaSophia Robb as Violet Bearegarde. I'm half-convinced that Dahl wrote the book just for the sake of the "Violet, you're turning violet" line.
- We watched with My Mother during our Thanksgiving visit to Washington, DC. I was amazed to learn that she'd never even read the book before, let alone seen either of the film adaptations. Published in 1964, the book missed her own childhood. By the time it came into my life and my sister's, we were old enough to read it by ourselves. She has read some of Dahl's works for adults, though.
My Rating System:
5 = The best of the best. These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films. They're fine. Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it. It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film. An insult to the art form.