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Thread: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  1. #16
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    Notes

    I wasnít sure what to expect from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In other words, I was unclear whether it featured the Tim Burton who made gripping and visually stunning films during the Ď90ís (Edward Scissorhands [1990], Ed Wood [1994], Sleepy Hollow [1999]), or the one whoís directed bland Hollywood "products" so far this decade (Planet of the Apes [2001], Big Fish [2003]). While it doesnít compare well with his best work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a competent effort from Burton, along with being a minor-improvement over Mel Stuartís Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), the original adaptation of Roald Dahlís classic book. However, since the new version is surrounded by many better films intended for children, it wonít be granted the status given to the old one.

    *The early sequences between Charlie and his family were interesting and well done (no cheesy musical numbers this time around). Charlieís residence looked like one of the dilapidated sheds from Sleepy Hollow, but it was just as impressive as any of the CGI work in the film.

    *Like Tabuno, I also found the initial puppet-show a bit awkward (but Burton more or less made up for it by taking us to the "hospital" later on where the "victims" were being treated.) And then, it was difficult NOT to think of Michael Jackson when Wonka first appeared; more disturbingly, I also thought of Prince. (Perhaps Iím the one who needs help.)

    *If I remember correctly, Stuartís film wasnít very crisp moving from one set-piece to another. Burtonís doesnít waste much time in-between. Wonkaís backstory, an addition by screenwriter John August, is fine, although it couldíve been employed more effectively.

    *Enjoyed the treatment received by the spoiled brat. The squirrels were simply doing their job, so there was nothing malicious about it. However, the following Kubrickian sequence just looked out of place, and thus didnít work as well.

    *Every now and then, the theme music of the original film starts playing in my head. Itís hard to shake it off. Canít say that there was anything special about the score (Danny Elfman) in Burton's effort.

    *The performances were first-rate, and helped accentuate the overall message of the film.


    Grade: B
    ___________________________

    *CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is now available on DVD.

  2. #17
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    montage

    I hardly noticed the montage when Charlie first ran away from home, as he marched from country to country, their flags fluttering in the breeze double exposed with Charlie's image; only to have young Charlie emerge from the "flag exhibit" at the local museum. He hadn't left home at all. It took the viewing I experienced the other night with the family at home watching the DVD to catch it this time. I also caught the comment about the "new hospital wing" for the burnt dolls. The dolls are bandaged, lying in bed. As they leave, a giant red cross on the wall indicates the entrance. There were so many small touches Burton put here and there, too numerous to mention.

    I'd review the DVD, but Chris, Oscar, Johann, Tabuno, Trevor, and Arsaib have all so eloquently expressed the plot far better than I could rehash it. Let's just say the DVD (at least the two disc version) has fun exploring how the film was written, came to the screen, special effects, etc.

  3. #18
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    Thanks, cinemabon. I can imagine how for the true Burton fan the DVD would be indeed lots of fun to watch for the supplementary materials, because the "making of" a movie like this is a very intricate subject with many ingenious solutions to complicated problems.

    To arsaib: Is maybe The Nightmare Before Christmas some of Burton's best work, even though he didn't direct it? That and Corpse Bride seem made of the same cloth. What do you think of that new one? (I haven't seen it.) I personally would question that Sleepy Hollow is among his best; it bored me. The only ones I can say are great, technically superb and truly original, are Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. Certainly Burton has made some commercially viable movies; some brilliant ones; and some clinkers. And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in between, can't we say? It's well done, it did well at the box office, but it doesn't truly sing. You place it really well in your review when you say
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a competent effort from Burton, along with being a minor-improvement over Mel Stuartís Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), the original adaptation of Roald Dahlís classic book. However, since the new version is surrounded by many better films intended for children, it wonít be granted the status given to the old one.

  4. #19
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    The Nightmare Before Charistmas would certainly qualify as one of his better projects. I just limited myself to the worthy films he directed during the 90ís (Batman Returns couldíve also been mentioned). I think very highly of Sleepy Hollow. Its gothic, foreboding milieu is contrasted very well with the presence of an almost-feminine detective played by Depp. I still vividly remember the numerous awe-inspiring sequences with the likes of Christina Ricci and Christopher Walken. (On the other hand, thatís not the case with Irreversible, a film which you just reviewed. I guess time does destroy bad films.)

    Anyway, there's no doubt in my mind that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory won't last as long as the old version did since it faces much tougher competition. As you know, quality children films aren't in short supply nowadays. I also haven't yet seen Corpse Bride, but I certainly will shortly.

  5. #20
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    Maybe I was just tired when I went to Sleepy Hollow. I only remember the opening scenes; after that it is a blank. It seems that Burton isn't credited with the direction of The Nightmare Before Christmas; he just produced it. What does that mean? I don't think Corpse Bride will appeal to me, and since it's no longer new enough to review, I may skip it. I don't like animations. Speaking of no dearth of good children's films, I wonder how the coming series from C.S. Lewis's Narnia books will turn out. With any luck, they may be quite fine. I guess I will forget Irrťversible; there are parts I certainly hope to forget. But I haven't yet.

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