For those of you who were considering checking out the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film, don’t. Yeah, I should have known better. I should have listened to my own advise and never had gone to see a remake of anything. Or I should have at least listened to Jay Sherman’s rant that won him another Pulitzer, “If a movie is a remake of a Classic, rent the Classic”
But how could I resist? Tim Burton & Johnny Depp. Teaming up to tackle a very trippy film that just seemed to be right up Burton’s alley. As I read about this film I was dancing ‘round like an Oompa Loompa with chocolate covered ants in his tiny little pants. And speaking of Oompa Loompa’s, Just how would Tim create his version of these tiny factory workers? Maybe they would be puppets like his Nightmare Before Christmas? Oh the possibilities!
And Depp, whatever he is in you just have to watch. From Scissorhands to Dead Man, from Pirates to Peter Pan he’s brilliant. I love Gene Wilder and loved his Willy Wonka — ”we don’t know where we’re going.. there is no way of knowing…the boat is never slowing…” – but how can Johnny cutting loose as this wacky chocolate maven not be brilliant?
I don’t know, but it wasn’t. The movie sucked. Such a flat and lifeless endeavor. There was no inspiration, no imagination, no vision at all on Burton’s part. The door opens and the camera pans across the interior of the factory and I kept waiting for another door to open showing the real factory. The magic was just not there.
And the Oompa’s? C’mon Tim. Do you really think one, old Indian guy wearing a plastic jumpsuit passes for a slew of Oompa Loompa’s these days? Bring back the orange dwarf’s with human heads!
And Depp, oh Johnny. He was even less inspiring. His pale face echoing the blandness of his acting. Just awful.
The only bright spot was the boy who played Charlie, Noah Taylor. He is great. He is someone to keep your eyes on. If he can keep his head, stay cool, and stay away from Todd Bridges and Macaulay Culkin he can become a great child actor who goes on to brilliance.
The best part of this film was the preview before the movie for another stop-animation film by Burton called Corpse Bride with the voice of Johnny Depp. Halfway through Charlie and Tim & Johnny’s lackadaisical efforts, my mind drifted and I could only imagine that Tim was ‘forced’ to make this film for the easy money so he could finance his second animated film.
I day dreamed away imagining Tim yelling cut during the making of the film and he and Johnny running off to the studio next door to work on their little puppet thingy in earnest.