Saturday, July 23, 2005

He IS the greatest chocolatier

We finally managed to see 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' today. And I have one thing to say:

Johnny Depp IS Willy Wonka.

I got into Roald Dahl's books when my oldest daughter was an infant. As she grew old enough to sit and listen to a story, Charlie became one of her favorites, and we'd read it at bedtime (I'd actually carry on reading it after she fell asleep just because I was enjoying the story so much.) So I'd have to say that I'm pretty up on all things Charlie.

Gene Wilder's version of the character never really appealed to me. None of the characters really seemed to hit the spot, or at least match up to the way I'd envisaged them through countless readings of the story. The bright orange Oompa-Loompas were completely wrong, and yeah, their little ditties were catchy and all, and the bouncing ball was a cute touch, but I much preferred Roald Dahl's original Oompa-Loompa songs - dark and nasty as they were!

I mean, let's face it. Willy Wonka flat out doesn't like children very much. The whole thing's supposed to be a cautionary tale about bad kids coming to a sticky end, and the good kid coming out on top. The original Charlie Bucket was from the 'gee whiz' school of child stars, whose fresh-faced, open-mouthed fake innocence was way too saccharine for my liking. He could have taken lessons from Freddie Highmore, the young lad who plays Charlie in the new version of the movie and manages to say his lines while appearing to be a normal kid.

Grandpa Joe is brilliant. I've been a huge David Kelly fan ever since I used to watch the ancient British TV series, 'Oh Father'. Grandma Georgina? Omigod...Emmerdale Farm lady!! She's a class actress. Noah Taylor and Helena Bonham-Carter are Charlie's mum and dad. I miss Roy Kinnear as Veruca Salt's indulgent daddy, but James Fox plays the character in a completely different way, and it rings perfectly true.

But of course, the absolute star of this movie is Johnny Depp. He truly is one of the best actors of our generation, and plays this role masterfully. I don't know when I've enjoyed a trip to the movies more. I don't remember the last time that I left the theater saying aloud that I can't wait until it comes out on DVD so that we can watch it as many times as we want to.

Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, you've given us a masterpiece. Thanks ever so much!


Blogger 'Lema said...

Yeah.. one question... umm... in the older version, didn't Mike TV have a mum... not a da... go with him to the factory?


12:20 PM  
Blogger Azrael said...

yes, Lema..mike tv had his mum go with him..but both mummsie and daddie were in both movies..(in the old one Mike tvs dad..was a used car salesman..

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Xander said...

Wrong azrael, Mike tvs dad's job wasnt mentioned in the oringinal movie, but the mother was a geography teacher (this was changed in the new movie as Mike tvs dad is now a geography teacher and his mum wasn't mentioned.) It was violet beurigaurd's dad who was the used car salesman in the olde version. Read up on the facts man...poohead!

10:44 PM  
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