*** 1/2 / ****
Dir: Tim Burton
2005 Color English 115 Min
Rated PG for quirky situations, action and mild language. (and probably that scene with the marionnettes)
There are two things that occurred to me while I was watching this movie. First, why is this movie being made, and second, boy does Johnny Depp look like Michael Jackson. I am glad to say that after 10 minutes or so I stopped thinking about the first item and settled in to really enjoy the movie. I really enjoyed the look and feel of this movie full of Tim Burton’s usual high quality.
I am also glad that this movie followed the book closer and did not feature those unnecessary songs. Granted, they are part of the charm of the first movie, but I was glad to see that they went in a different direction.
What can I say about the acting? From Top to bottom this is a stellar cast that really shines – especially Freddie Highmore as Charlie. He managed to light up the screen every time he was on it and after 15 minutes you just wanted to give him the factory. Even the other four kids were fun to watch – all with slight updating except for Augustus Gloop. And how about Deep Roy? Though it was creepy to see him “hobbitized” and duplicated en masse as the Oompa Loompas, the songs performed by Danny Elfman and the show-stopping numbers that accompanied them were a highlight. One nugget of trivia – the credit for writing on the songs was given to Roland Dahl – so I wonder if they were lifted right from the text.
About the only thing that didn’t work was the extra bit about Willy Wonka growing up with a dentist (Christopher Lee) father. Oh, and that whole Michael Jackson thing. I am not sure if it was intentional or just a result of some bad timing. Normally it would have been an interesting caricature, but unfortunately the comparison is there and well makes things that much creepier.
Certainly was worth the money to see it in the theaters! (Of course now that is two in a row – Really Good Movies just falling short!)