What a visual treat this film was. The only thing I can really compare it to is the Wizard of Oz, the technicolor part. Visually, the costumes, make up, lighting, and set designs were really outstanding. The added special effects and production were nice too. I would imagine that many of the scenes are filmed with a Blue Screen as they are so brillant and involved.
OK - there are many who are slamming this film because it is not "faithful to the Gene Wilder version". Yes, they are correct it is not that film and not just another remake. Director Tim Burton should have been the big tip off that this film would have a darker and more cynical twist.
The basic story line is the same, 5 selected children visit the mysterious Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. The gist is
this version of Willy is a little odd, part Michael Jackson (freakish) part Carol Channing (mannerisims), part Andy Warhol (expressions) part child, part dark overlord, this Willy Wonka is special.
Johnny Depp of course is Willy and it is amazing what make up and fake teeth can do to transform a person's apperance. His pallor is whiteish green and his hair is a perfect page boy with a reddish tint. As I mentioned earlier, the colors in this are vivid, his blue gloves, red hair, red velvet jacket, bright goggle glasses are all bright!
Other changes include the Oompa Loompas - they are now all one person who is morphed into many. Very cute dancing and they act as the Greek chorus and explain why each child has been culled. The kids have been updated a little as well, one ultra violent little boy is from Colorado (inside nod to Columbine?) and the sugary sweet Southerner who is simply over the top (Atlanta Georgia) were funny.
Some have criticized the sound track - mainly performed by Danny Elfman, but again, I disagree. Very funky futuristic and just plain fun. Wizard of Oz comes to mind once again and the Lollipop Kids.
The basic message is that good triumphs over evil, sweet over sour and snotty brats do not win. A very enjoyable movie for kids over 5. There are a few scenes that may be scary for our younger viewers.
The overall impact is a fun 1 hour and 15 minute PG romp through the updated Wonka Chocolate Factory. The characters are well developed and quirky but lovable. The charater of "Charlie" is played by the same little boy who carried "Finding NeverLand" Freddie Highmore.
New addition to the film is the written in character of Dr. Wonka - Willy's overbearing dentist Dad. This explains some of the reason for Willy's aversion to parents, and love of sweets. A nice touch.
The folks in the theater loved this movie and cheered at the end. The movie location was Burbank California.
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