Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

I think there's a reason I haven't watched this since 2005.




I mean, it's not bad. It really isn't, it just didn't do anything for me. Now I watched it a fair bit when I was like 10, though I speak from experience when I say not to watch it when you're sick and you got a fever and your brain feels all mixed and scrambled, but it's good to compare notes on with the Gene Wilder film. Same basic story with a few alterations, imaginings, and some delvings in Wonka's past to make it indeed a film of it's own and not a straight up remake. I feel Tim Burton is a rock solid choice for the film because you know he's a visual director with a distinct style and can give such a wild and weird look once you're in the factory and I feel he somewhat delivers but I also feel it's one of his more "normal" looking films like Edward Scissorhands. Johnny Depp I love you man, you are a very talented performer, and I ain't got a clue why you're here. Not that it's bad writing or a poor performance, I think I fully understand the angle they were working, it's a reclusive guy who's headspace is still very much childlike and immature with a dose of parental trauma I understand that part, but it ain't fully realized. He's just kinda out there, spacey, awkward, very much in his little world, and for lack of a better term alien. There was one moment where I feel he got it, captured a spark of Gene Wilder, when he was trying to unlock the gate so Veruca could be saved, that was rich! Charlie ain't much better, unbelievably categorized in that nice kid mold with barely a lick of personality though I'm happy Freddie kept acting and has gotten good stuff since. The kids are a bit meaner which I rather like cause that's incredibly believable for children, and they still are as one dimensional as the characters in the 70s version so that's a small improvement. Major props to Deep Roy who had to play every single Oompa Loompa on camera, that is commitment and he got paid accordingly as well for all his work. I'm rather split on the musical cues because it's not a musical per se as the previous film, we only get the what I like to call the comeuppnace songs after each kid gets bumped off, it's a neat touch that each song focuses on a decade of music from the 50s to the 80s (not in that particular order) but the songs are kinda ehhh. I rather enjoy Danny Elfman's music, both in cinema and in his band Oingo Boingo, but this is his lowest for me on the ranking of his film scores. It's not all negatives of course, but hey man people have their preferences. The movie did a decent job getting a few really good laughs out of me, the set design goes from mundane to beautifully realized, any screen time with Christopher Lee is a win, the kid actors were good with the material they had, to hear Geoffrey Holden as the narrator was a real treat for me, and I even appreciated the House Of Wax nod that Tim slipped in there. It's okay, I can take it or leave it, but who says it can't work for someone? As for the upcoming Wonka...oh my God I am so perplexed as to how this will go. It seems to be appropriately out there just in the overall movie landscape of 2023. Full blown musical dance numbers and all, the tone feels light and leaning towards ├╝ber cutesy to where you could get the diabeetus from watching it, it is unashamedly different in it's style and tone, all I'm hoping for is a good movie but I have a sneaking suspicion it'll be the bridgehead of quality between Charlie and Willy Wonka. Final scores, 2.5 stars, 5.5/10, and here's hoping for Friday.

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