Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Reviewed on 2010 December 31
Here we have one of the rare remakes of something that I enjoyed even more than the classic and darkly funny (I love me some Roald Dahl) original. I think a nice 2011 resolution for many movie studios would be to only allow remakes of black comedies, and only allow Tim Burton to touch such a remake. I’ve heard very good things about what the Coens did with True Grit so I could see case-by-case exceptions. This was warped and sick in a good way.
Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) lives with his extended, poor, and loving family in a house that I don’t think even Dickens could dream up. He’s a good kid, and obviously adores his whole family, especially his beloved Grandpa Joe (David Kelly). When the world is amazed to learn eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) is going to re-open his closed factory for a tour for five lucky winners of golden tickets hidden in candy bars, the Buckets have no idea how their lives will change.
I didn’t think they could do it but they actually gave us more-irritating kids in this thing than the 1971 Gene Wilder flick. This Augustus Gloop just made you airsick to look at him, kind of like a Hummel figurine if the Garbage Pail Kid designers had crafted him. Veruca traded her snottiness for more unsettling craftiness in this version and all the other brats (except for Charlie, of course) made me glad Mr. Shukti and I just decided on pets. Deep Roy was a riot as the Oompa Loompa, but the man of the hour here is Wonka, played with a mix of freakiness and frailty by Depp. We learn why as a little guy he became so passionate about candy, and Christopher Lee does a great cameo as his father.
Three chocolate morsels.