This is a test review to see how this thing works.
Well, all right, I have two confessions to make.
The first is that I have never been that fond of Tim Burton. The second is that I am fascinated by mass-production machines. "Unwrapped" on the Food Network is one of my favourite shows because they always show you the factory production lines in action.
So right from the start I was sucked into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because of the opening scene, which is an imaginative and fantastical trip through the workings of a Wonkabar machine.
The movie is based on a famous children's book by Roald Dahl, who excels in writing surrealist prose as children's lit. It also has, as its competitor, the musical-movie Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, which starred Gene Wilder and is sacred to the hearts of an entire generation (possibly two) of moviegoers. I didn't really expect to like the movie, because (see above) I'm not a big Tim Burton fan, and as a child I was fascinated by the original movie.
The problem is, I think I have to admit that I am wrong, which is a horrible thing to do. Tim Burton rocked this movie hardcore, and it's time to let my Beetlejuice and Nightmare-created prejudice against him fade away. I have to admit it. Tim Burton is awesome.
In terms of production values, this is an excellent film. Extremely good acting, particularly by the children; excellent costume design (down to the latex gloves), intriguing scenic design, and a very unique take on the Oompa Loompas. There were lots of hidden and not-so-hidden references to the first movie, and the idea to make the Oompa Loompa musical numbers fit certain "genres" was also really fun. The children all had a certain sheen to them, a sense of physical falseness indicated by makeup and costuming, but the actors themselves were very comfortable in their roles.
Scriptwise, I thought it faltered slightly, but it managed to regain itself. The original Wonka movie (and the book) were all about a test Charlie had to undergo; this movie is about a test Wonka himself has to pass before he can take Charlie on as his heir. Charlie refuses to be a carbon copy of Wonka, which is nice. I can't really comment about how close to the book it stays, since the last time I read the book was when I was oh, 12 or so. I'm pretty sure it adheres more closely to the first movie, but it definitely does draw on the book -- and then, near the end, takes off in a totally new flight of fancy which is extremely fun to watch.
The movie is pretty much carried by Johnny Depp as Wonka and the boy who plays Charlie. Charlie pulls off a scruffy charm without being too waiflike or annoying, which is all one can really ask from a twelve year old. Depp owns Wonka heart and soul and plays him as an impatient, eccentric, childish, and very witty man. This is certainly not Gene Wilder's Wonka, for which grace many thanks; I love the original movie but I didn't pay six bucks to see it remade. It was nice to see Depp in the role and he did an exceedingly good job at it.
There were one or two places where I cringed at some potential political incorrectness, but Tim Burton does love to push the envelope when he can. This movie seems...well, cleaner than many of his earlier films, more thorough and less centred around cheap gross-out laughs. There are some really very cheap laughs in Wonka, but they all seem appropriately placed.
So all in all, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, but mileage may vary somewhat. It made me want to write fanfic, and who can say anything better than that?
PREVIEWS I SAW TODAY:
New Pride and Prejudice: Well, it'll be interesting to see a new take on it, but I think that Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle defined Darcy and Elizabeth so thoroughly that anything else looks like it's trying too hard. I am not ashamed to admit I have the A&E miniseries on tape and I watch it. THAT'S RIGHT I DO. So I'll probably try to see this just for the sake of comparison. Also, Judi Dench. She rocks my sandals.
Wallace and Gromit Movie: I'm a sucker for claymation and I would kill to work for Nick Park. Sign me up for opening night.
The new Zorro movie: Ugh. Action flick with horses. I'll pass. It looks like it's going to try to combine family entertainment (Zorro has a kid! OMG!) with action-adventure, and that rarely comes off. You're no Jack Sparrow, Zorro.
March of the Emperor Penguins: A documentary about Emperor Penguin mating habits narrated by Morgan Freeman. The preview gave me goosebumps.
Corpse Bride: Another Tim Burton animated film in the style of Nightmare Before Christmas. I might see this. It features Johnny Depp, who tends to choose good scripts (and what, is he under contract to Burton personally?) and Depp's character looks like him, which is sort of creepy. I'm not a big fan of Burton's take on corpses, however.
Oh, the good way. It looks AWESOME, and there's this one shot of a long line of penguins, all slowly walking onward...just this neverending line of these little people-lookin' birds, going somewhere and not caring how long it takes them to get there...
Dammit, I am a Tim Burton fan. Now I just want to see it more . . . damn September, damn it to hell.
I'm pretty sure it adheres more closely to the first movie, but it definitely does draw on the book
I heard the scriptwriter hadn't seen the first movie when he wrote the script.
The movie is pretty much carried by Johnny Depp as Wonka and the boy who plays Charlie.
Have you seen Neverland?
I heard the scriptwriter hadn't seen the first movie when he wrote the script.
I'd find that surprising. There are direct quotes from and homages to the first movie. Though I suppose the quotes could be drawn from the book.
And duh, what an idiot I am! I'd forgotten that boy was the Neverland boy....
Did you ever read the book? I loathed the first film because it bore no resemblance to the book at all. I think I'm going to like this one, it seems to be much closer to the book, which was dark and strange and WW was not a happy go lucky nice guy at all.
Also, I am dying to see March of the Penguins but I fear it won't play here in the boonies.
Oooh, I LOVE that version of Pride and Prejudice. Have you ever seen the Masterpiece Theatre (well, originally British) version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds? That's my next favorite adaptation of an Austen novel.
My favorite reviewer said March of the Penguins was good, but good in a National Geographic sort of way--it didn't really have the scale to be worth paying $7 or whatever to see in the theatre, unlike some other recent documentaries. FYI. :>
Your spiel about P&P makes me love you. :D I love love love A&E's version. Seriously. What makes a two hour movie think it can beat a six hour miniseries?? But I'll still watch it.
It features Johnny Depp, who tends to choose good scripts (and what, is he under contract to Burton personally?)
What other movies has Depp done with Burton? Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow (yes?), and...that's all I know.
Wallace and Gromit : oh yes.
I also got King Kong and Goblet of Fire trailers. See my most recent post on my sitting-there-in-theater thought during the latter.
I felt as though Depp and the rest of the movie weren't doing the same movie. Like I individually like both parts, but didn't like the way they meshed. Ah, well. I did, in any case, laugh when he cut the ribbon and turned because well hello, Mr. Scissorhands.
I read the book to my class before school got out (knowing the movie was coming, I wanted them to get the real thing first), and then showed them the first movie on the last day of school (Public performance law violation? Just pretend it didn't happen.). So I can tell you that the new one does follow the book more faithfully, minus the dentistry bits.
As far as Tim Burton goes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about Beetlejuice, but Edward Scissorhands more than makes up for that aberration. Please tell me you've seen that one, at least. It has a nice factory assembly line bit at the beginning as well, when Vincent Price is creating Edward.
I was a bit confused by the penguin movie preview at first. With the serious voiceover and full orchestral background music, I kept expecting it to be a joke and turn into an Energizer bunny commercial or something, although by the end I had my own goosebumps and was nearly in tears.
HBP + Charlie and the Chocolate Factory = A Good Weekend to be a Grown-Up Kid.
I loved the preview. I was all OMG BABY PENGUINS YAY and then Bernard told me to stop being such a dork. :D
I saw Edward Scissorhands for the first time when I was slightly too young for it, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I like the concept, but the film jumped around a bit, for my taste.
Bless you for loving the A&E Pride and Prejudice. And admitting it. (My mother and I taped it, wore out the tape. Bought the tape, and then, like a year later, bought each other the DVDs for the same Christmas.)
On a more on-topic note - I might actually go see the movie now. I was excited, saw a trailer and thought it looked too grotesque, but...I'm thinking about it. I'll go to the cheap theater to see it, I think. It is still very nice and clean.
I think a lot of what I like about the miniseries is that it's...quiet. It's mostly talking and classical music, so it's nice to have on as soothing background noise while I work.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's also a superb piece of filmmaking, but the quiet is nice too :D
I've liked Burton's old stuff (except Beetlejuice... it was just weird), and I positively adore Nightmare (I'm a sucker for stop-motion in any shape or form), but I do really like his more recent stuff. Really, really liked Big Fish... *cough* But it's good to know that it's fairly good from a person-resource who's opinions I trust fairly well. :D
And, eee! Wallace and Gromit! *flails* I soo can't wait to watch it... *laaavs it*
And I soo get what you're talking about with the penguins. o_o I watched the preview for it before Howl's Moving Castle (which I liked), and I was like... almost in tears afterwords. Penguins are awesome. D:
I am so glad to see that there are more people that want to see March of the Penguins! I found a preview for it a few weeks ago while searching (*cough* wasting hours *cough*) on imdb. I've been a fan of Wallace and Gromit since the 4th grade, meaning 10 years or more, so I am thrilled to see a new one coming! Zorro is a definite "no thank you", and Corpse Bride looks entertaining, but I like Nightmare Before Christmas. In my theater, we saw the GoF preview, so it was nice to see it on the big screen. Can't wait! ~Libby
The second is that I am fascinated by mass-production machines.
Omigod, me too! There's this show on like CSPAN or some rubber band local channel that walks you through factories. It's SO slow and the narrator sounds like a corpse but I watch it because it's so neato.
And everyone our age says they remember fondly the crayon factory ep of Mr. Rogers. :) He did a lot of factory tours, I always loved them. The CSPAN show has the same toddler-qwelling effect, too, except for grownups. :)