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Monday, November 10, 2014

Movie Review:Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Premise:An eccentric candy maker offers to give five children a tour of his factory.

Cast:Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, David Kelly as Grandpa Joe, Deep Roy as the Oompa Loompas, Anna Sophia Robb as Violet Beauregarde, Julia Winter as Veruca Salt, Jordan Fry as Mike Teavee, Philip Wiegratz as Augustus Gloop, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Bucket, Noah Taylor as Mr. Bucket, Missi Pyle as Mrs. Beauregarde, James Fox as Mr. Salt, Christopher Lee as Dr. Wilbur Wonka, Adam Godley as Mr. Teavee, Franziska Troegner as Mrs. Gloop, Liz Smith as Grandma Georgina, Eileen Essell as Grandma Josephine, David Morris as Grandpa George, Geoffrey Holder as Narrator

Director:Tim Burton

MPAA Rating:PG for quirky situations, action, and mild language


Notes:Based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Closer to the book. Good acting. Some good characters.

Cons:Wonka's backstory. Several things don't make sense or could have been left out.

Five tickets. Five children. One wacky candy maker. One great big and unique candy factory.

Odds are you've already seen the seventies movie with Gene Wilder. So how does this one differ? First, it's creepier (with Tim Burton directing, that was to be expected). All the kids are a little more extreme in their defining characteristics. The grandparents have more personality (well, expect Josephine). The Oompa Loompas are disappointing, looking like humans with a bad haircut. They're good singers, though.

The "Wonka has daddy issues" subplot was unnecessary. Not to mention it frequently made no sense. And I'm not sure what was up with the chocolate palace scene. The guy requesting it came off as clueless (who lives in a building made of chocolate in the middle of a blazing hot country?), plus it never comes up again. I don't even remember it being in the book, though I read it only once. Maybe I should read it again. Anyway, there are several small things you'll see that will make you think "Why did he do that?" or "How does that work?"

In spite of his poorly done backstory and late-movie jerkiness, I enjoyed Willy Wonka in this movie. He's the right mix of witty, nutty, and strange. Charlie and his family were also good for the film. The acting as a whole was. The characters all around were worth it.

Overall, while it has its problems, it's underrated and deserves a chance.

Sex:Someone is warned not to touch a squirrel's nuts. Couples kiss. A woman shows cleavage. Wonka notes that chocolate releases endorphins which can make one feel in love, something Mrs. Beauregarde finds quite interesting (if you know what I mean). A mannequin wears lingerie. A woman's naked legs are shown in a homage to the shower scene in Psycho.

Violence:Wonka is chased by a giant bug which he kills with a machete. Plastic puppets catch fire and melt. A boy falls into a river and is sucked up by a giant tube. His mother worries he'll be turned to fudge. A girl grotesquely blows up to gargantuan size. Squirrels swarm a girl. Two people are tossed down a garbage chute, which leads to an incinerator (which turns out to be unlit). A miniature boy is attacked by TV characters and later stretched out. There's a high-speed boat ride. The fan theory that Wonka is really a child killer gets debunked, though.
Mike Teevee plays a violent first-person shooter, complete with lots of firing noise. Violet beats up karate instructors. A chocolate building melts all over its inhabitants. A reference is made to cannibalism. A boy is told not to eat his fingers. Another boy stomps on a pumpkin. Oompa Loompas shoot explosive candy at targets. Wonka warns his guests that light in a particular room could burn their eyes out of their skulls. He himself smacks into a glass elevator twice. Twice, this same elevator goes smashing through a ceiling.

Drugs/Alcohol:A woman drinks while her child throws a tantrum.

Language/Insults:"H*ll" and "r*tard" are each used once. Grandpa George yells "you ungrateful little b-" at the TV before Dad covers Charlie's ears (which also mutes it for the audience so Grandpa can rant). Otherwise, it's just words like "idi*t", "gosh-darn", "jerk", etc.

Gross stuff:After killing a bug with a machete, Wonka licks the blade to see if it would make a good candy flavor (the answer is no). He's forced to eat mashed up caterpillars to please his host. Augustus Gloop is portrayed as a fat slob who's always eating and has no table manners. There's a reference to squeezing pimples. Violet chews with her mouth open and sticks her gum behind her ear to work on it later. A guy smiles to reveal a mouthful of rotting teeth. There's a list of the new "friends" a girl will meet in a garbage chute. A couple of people are covered in trash.

Spiritual:Tribal Oompa Loompas bow before a cocoa bean and do a dance that seems to celebrate it. Kids dress up for Halloween and all the typical stuff (jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, skulls) that goes with it appears. An Indian palace shows a few statues in the background.

So what did you think?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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