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Overall Rating
3.62

Awesome: 23.42%
Worth A Look37.84%
Average: 22.97%
Pretty Bad: 9.01%
Total Crap: 6.76%

15 reviews, 132 user ratings


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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Burton does it better."
5 stars

I'll bet there are many adults today who have queasy memories of 1971's 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.'

Psychedelic yet moralistic, the movie offered Gene Wilder in his full passive-aggressive efflorescence as the mysterious chocolatier Willy Wonka, whose gentle demeanor cloaked what appeared to be a deep contempt for children, his most loyal clientele. It also had ghastly songs (without this movie, Sammy Davis Jr. wouldn't have inflicted "The Candy Man" on telethon viewers year after year), those obnoxious Oompa Loompas, and colorful but indifferent direction by Mel Stuart. If anyone feels any sort of residual fondness for it, it's because that malicious fantasist Roald Dahl, in his original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, devised such a ready-made fantasy concept: five children invited to spend a day in the world's largest choccy emporium.

Remakes generally depress me as much as they do anyone else, but Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is poised to become a new cult classic to replace the old one. Burton understands this story in a way few other directors could (although Danny DeVito, who did a rascally job with Dahl's Matilda, might also have had fun with the project). This director constantly veers from mopiness to flamboyant glee, though Charlie is closer in tone to his Beetlejuice than to his Edward Scissorhands. Once again, Burton has Johnny Depp along for the ride, and though many have said that Depp has based his Willy Wonka on Michael Jackson, I suspect he's really playing the only person he ever plays in Tim Burton films -- Tim Burton. This Wonka is a misfit who enjoys showing off his elaborately designed playpen but isn't much fazed by those who don't appreciate it.

As in all other versions, the hero is Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), who lives in a broken-down house with his poverty-level family. Burton, however, takes the pathos out of Charlie's situation by giving him a house right out of German expressionism -- the entire doorway leans inward, for instance. Charlie is one of the five kids who discover a Golden Ticket inside a Wonka candy bar -- a ticket to a day inside the elusive Wonka's factory. The other kids are brats who each illustrate a childish trait that Dahl hated: gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, cathode-mesmerized Mike Teavee (whose fixation has been updated to videogames), and, worst of all, spoiled rich girl Veruca Salt, whose attitude is so rotten that a rock band named themselves after her. Their punishments, as before, fit their crimes, though one wonders what exactly Roald Dahl had against gum-chewing.

Instead of sappy Anthony Newley songs, this movie has Danny Elfman scoring the original lyrics from Dahl's book; there's no brain-searing "Oompa Loompa doompadee doo" song here. The Oompa Loompas are all played (via digital replication) by the diminutive Indian actor Deep Roy, whose unsmiling and uncute persona here is both refreshing and consistently funny. The sets are, of course, obvious sets, but they always are in Tim Burton's films; the nasty bits (claustrophobes will, as ever, have a hard time with Augustus Gloop's fate) are softened by Burton's jaunty sense of artifice. Gene Wilder can criticize this remake all he wants -- Burton and Depp have simply done it better.

I have mixed feelings about a backstory added by scripter John August, in which the young Wonka's fascination with sweets is neatly tied to his forbidding dentist dad. It adds little to the story except for a lame coda in which Wonka, having learned the power of family, reunites with his dad; however, since the father is played by Christopher Lee -- still going strong at 83, Hammer bless him -- I'll forgive it. This Factory, genuinely beautiful and imaginative, is the movie that admirers of the original Factory (who haven't seen it since they were kids) carry around in their heads. And it adds another lovable freak to the Burton/Depp gallery, perhaps the freakiest of all.

Even without the Jacko undertones some viewers see in it, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is the most truly subversive entertainment for kids since ... well, since Roald Dahl stopped writing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12582&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/10/07 12:47:16
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User Comments

12/24/13 Michelle O any excuse for Depp to don COPIOUS amounts of makeup= he's no Wilder! 3 stars
9/08/11 Robin Awful adaptation that bastardizes the book while wrapping itself in a flag of faithfulness 1 stars
7/15/11 art an Adequate remake of the 1971 classic. 3 stars
6/06/11 Jeff Wilder Good for what it is. The Gene Wilder one is still the best though. 4 stars
1/30/11 Linda J A great remake of Willy Wonka. But then, what movie isn't great with Johnny Depp? 5 stars
7/01/09 orion Good for kids but overall farily blah 2 stars
6/06/09 Pokejedservo Not bad but I admit I too preferred the first film. 3 stars
3/27/09 Stevo Um... why, in England, are people paying in American dollars? 1 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. another freakish performance by depp :D 4 stars
8/15/08 Shaun Wallner Depp is so funny!! 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT FINE ART DIRECTION, NICE SPECIAL EFFECTS, GOOD PERFORMANCES AND OVERALL A DECENT FILM 3 stars
5/11/08 drydock54321 why does johnny depp always play such strange dark characters 4 stars
4/24/08 art A GRIM REHASH OF THE 1971 VERISON 3 stars
2/17/08 SamanthaP the 1st time it was creepy and the 2nd time i loved it! sooo funny! 4 stars
6/09/07 Danielle Ophelia Lets the sugar speak for itself and concentrates on the tale's underlying menace. 4 stars
6/05/07 katy great filim 4 stars
5/04/07 johnnyfog The first one sucked ass, and so does this one. Why do people like either? 2 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK ''Willy Wanker and the sack of shit''. Is that a better title? 1 stars
4/02/07 jo sing it boring for some part 4 stars
3/17/07 cleofus jones can't stand the songs..but love burton//depp//movie 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Burton is the Willy Wonka of Hollywood. 4 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A feast for the eyes, this film is filled with great sets and visuals! Great film! 4 stars
11/09/06 becky very good the chocolate was so yummy 5 stars
9/04/06 David Pollastrini Darker than original. 4 stars
9/01/06 kate tasker it sucked 1 stars
7/26/06 Mrs. Robinson sorry, but it just cant compare to the old one 1 stars
7/18/06 David Cohen Who would have thought Burton and Depp could make an unappealing combo 3 stars
7/06/06 Tom Groholski Sticks closely to the book and entertaining 4 stars
6/14/06 Poopsy Fartworthy I love the new Charlie and the chocolate Fcatory film! 5 stars
5/15/06 Diane P love johnny depp but unfortunately for me this remake didn't compare to the first. 3 stars
5/01/06 dinesh kumar Dahl, Depp and Burton, all my favorites and what an amazing movie. 5 stars
4/27/06 lala depp looked freay, hated the songs, but it was ok but the original was WAY WAY better 3 stars
4/16/06 JoJo betta than da original, but I agree w/ emily, he looked like Michael Jackson. 2 stars
4/03/06 Quigley better the 2nd time. Johnny Depp was great, and the look of the movie is visually stunning 5 stars
3/24/06 jesika wtf? total ripoff of the original- i almost shot someone after i cn this pos movie 1 stars
3/21/06 Rebecca I loved the movie, it's great for kids and enjoyable for everyone. 5 stars
3/18/06 Elizabeth An entertaining movie but it can't beat the original. 3 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar Too short. Songs irritating rather than entertaining. 2 stars
2/05/06 Shawn Gadberry Interesting, different, but the original is the better movie by FAR! 3 stars
2/04/06 Michele why do people like this story? 2 stars
1/30/06 the laughing man Not better than the original, but it is a more faithful adapation of Dahl's classic. 4 stars
1/20/06 emily thought Depp looked like a creepy version of Michael Jackson, but overall it was very good 4 stars
1/18/06 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Just when you thought Johnny Depp couldn't get any gayer 3 stars
1/17/06 terry Liked johnny depp - didnt like the movie over all - I was disappointed with this movie 3 stars
1/16/06 Alexis Edgy, dark and closer to the original story than the Wilder version. Depp is wonderful. 4 stars
1/13/06 sammy BIG PIECE OF UGLY, BORING CRAP 1 stars
1/10/06 Indrid Cold Depp tries to command the screen a la Jim Carrey, but he just isn't that great of an actor. 4 stars
12/24/05 Quigley the movie has great acting and incredible visuals, computer and set design. hail, Burton! 4 stars
12/24/05 S Gray Freddie Highmore is excellent but this movie was garbage. 1 stars
12/22/05 Ethan M. A classical film remade, but Depp could not live up to the standards of Wilder. 3 stars
12/22/05 tina mateer first won was better,yet this was good and did you see all the chocolate? heaven 4 stars
12/19/05 Bree Can't be compared to original. So dont! Excellent film. Good fun. Very close to the book! 5 stars
12/05/05 Sean D. Sheridan Not as good as original with Gene Wilder!! The Oompa-Loompas in current movie disappoint! 3 stars
12/05/05 stickman Silly movie, avoid it. 3 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. Very enjoyable remake of a classic. 4 stars
12/02/05 George Depp was great as usual,but I hated this remake. 2 stars
11/27/05 ods Funny and weird 5 stars
11/25/05 Idiot_for_LMP pass on this film. ruined a great classic 2 stars
11/24/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Deep Roy should have won best supporting actor. 3 stars
11/13/05 Del Pretty crappy remake of an all-time classic, the oompa-loompas just sucked ass 1 stars
11/13/05 Quigley johnny depp looks gay and pale, but his performance was as superb as the set design and CG 4 stars
11/11/05 Steve A great disappointment. Both from Burton and Depp 2 stars
11/10/05 natalie one of the best movies that tim burton has directed and johnny depp was awsome in it 5 stars
11/01/05 missjie86 Endearing, annoying, creepy and bizarre, but a Depp portrayal is always interesting. 4 stars
10/14/05 BoB A bit wierd and strange- but its meant 2 b, right? 3 stars
10/08/05 brittany boring and had no differences than the original movie 1 stars
9/22/05 Sugar Depp's performance, outstanding. Elfman's music, inpiring. Overall movie, I am in awe of. 5 stars
9/05/05 Green Gremlin Makes the original version look like an episode of "HR Puf'stuff" !!! 5 stars
9/05/05 Daryl Walker This flim was very funny at times. Johnny Depp was fantastic and it was just a fun time. 5 stars
9/03/05 littlefishy pretty good (not!) suked shit.......... 2 stars
9/02/05 Danielle I thought it was funny and I like the charecters in the movie 5 stars
9/01/05 WWW.FALLOUTWEAR.TRIPOD.COM/ great skate t-shirts and funny t-shirts. 5 stars
8/28/05 LittlePenguin FUCKING BLOWS, AND BURTON/ DEPP ARE MY ALL TIME FAVES, SORRY 1 stars
8/28/05 Tom Burns I loved this movie. Johnny Depp is hilarious. 5 stars
8/26/05 Nick Better then the original. REAL lessons to learn here. 5 stars
8/25/05 Eden Suffers from crap musical numbers and a tacked-on back story 3 stars
8/18/05 Littlepurch Not a patch on the original but still great.Music was great, kids were funny. Depp just ok. 4 stars
8/15/05 Snickerdoodle Really good, Johnny Depp is a riot and the songs are catchy 5 stars
8/13/05 Lynn Taylor cracking film loved it so much went bk to see it. Johnny depp is just brill 5 stars
8/10/05 bigfish reviewed by a cultural moron 1 stars
8/09/05 joy best movie ever! 5 stars
8/09/05 jada ok family movie 3 stars
8/08/05 joeysquids the original rrules-this is the best "remake" of all time 5 stars
8/07/05 tammi i is worth taking the family out 4 stars
8/06/05 ellziopscilly super! 5 stars
8/06/05 G Rosenberg Inventive, non-pandering fun 5 stars
8/06/05 Zack A million times better than the SHITTY Mel Stuart film from 1971! 5 stars
8/05/05 ron abrams just okay. looked great. not wild about deep. 3 stars
8/04/05 Christian The original was darker, and the "musical' features were just horrible. Still, enjoyable. 4 stars
8/04/05 Me Better than the original! 5 stars
8/02/05 C Vega More Loyal to the Book than Gene Wilders version and Perhaps dare I say it..... even better 5 stars
8/02/05 Wolfwhisper I seen it 4 times, Johnny Depp put a new edge on Willy Wonka! 5 stars
8/01/05 michaelb14 Depp was great as usual but Wilder still has the #1 in my book 4 stars
8/01/05 Beth Kerrick Good for kids; it wasn't as sinister as the original and obviously had better effects. 4 stars
8/01/05 R maybe sometimes taking liberties with a story is okay.. 2 stars
7/31/05 Matt Weak on nearly every single level. A failure for Burton and Depp. 2 stars
7/30/05 PK Charlie and the Chocolate Fatory proves what a genious Gene Wilder was in Willie Wonka... 3 stars
7/29/05 StuBot Burton lays a fools' golden egg. This movie, like his other recent attempts, fall far short 2 stars
7/29/05 sbpat21 very funny and exhilarating (***** 1/2 stars ) 5 stars
7/27/05 pym excellent movie, great adaptation of Dahl's book, very fine acting . I'll see it again 5 stars
7/27/05 John Our kids loved the movie!! 4 stars
7/27/05 Mike Olson Somewhat tedious. 2 stars
7/27/05 Mahogany Dear Hollywood, Stop remaking movies and just let them rest in peace! PLEASE!! 1 stars
7/26/05 Ty Spiceland Great movie, one of the best I've seen this summer 5 stars
7/25/05 Farrah I love Tim Burton films and Johnny Depp. This film was great and I can't wait to buy th DVD 5 stars
7/23/05 sully oompa loompa creepy,creepy,creepy,creepy, creepy 4 stars
7/23/05 Dan Just doesn't capture the essence of the original. 2 stars
7/22/05 Lily TERRIBLE TERRIBLE ACTING 3 stars
7/22/05 Kankasaur if you're a teenager with headgear, this entire movie will make you want to kill yourself 5 stars
7/22/05 WilderFan71 Will not be remebered for decades! Depp's "Wonka" = "WackoJacko" 1 stars
7/22/05 Artic i loved this movie, but i love any movie with johnny depp in it 5 stars
7/22/05 TROGDOR the entire movie made me want to fucking kill myself 1 stars
7/22/05 RockyS Depp's performance is perfectly smart and creepy 4 stars
7/22/05 Nessus More fun than I thought it would be, fantastic visuals, quirky 5 stars
7/21/05 Ken Great update (the original is one of my all-time favorites). Depp is perfectly creepy. 5 stars
7/21/05 William Vollmer not quite as good as '71 version 4 stars
7/20/05 Danny Burton-esque through and through, but missing the "magic" or the '71 film adaptation. 4 stars
7/20/05 Ole Man Bourbon Lots of good stuff 4 stars
7/19/05 orpament weirdly enjoyable except for the oompah loompahs 4 stars
7/19/05 jcjs easily as wow as the original, better even...Depp great, clever, fun, wonderful 5 stars
7/19/05 SmackDown Depp was terrible as Wonka, Jim Carry please! It felt rushed out, painfull to watch. Sorry! 3 stars
7/19/05 darkone silly makes no real sense 3 stars
7/18/05 Rick Burton creates a GREAT world...however, justifying Willy's candy obsession...odd 4 stars
7/18/05 Jeff Wilder Great film with a weak ending 4 stars
7/18/05 Charlie Not as good as the original. Watch Big Fish, directed by Burton as well, and is better. 3 stars
7/18/05 Nicole Creepier/darker feel than the 70's version and slightly altered story 4 stars
7/17/05 cpbjr extremely interesting. lagged in parts, with some poor execution. 4 stars
7/17/05 ReboValence This is how the last adaptation of the book should have gone. 5 stars
7/16/05 KingNeutron 3 1/2 *s; good in-jokes and music. Depp's Wonka doesnt compare to Wilder tho 3 stars
7/16/05 Jim The Movie Freak The boat ride was scarier in the original. Oompa Loompa songs lame! Still very entertainin 3 stars
7/16/05 Titus Soo o . . . cool. 5 stars
7/15/05 Body odor. Finally a guy in makeup,who has a kid styled home, that doesn't molest children. Brillant. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Jul-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Sep-2005




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