Monday, May 26, 2008

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Wow, talk about your useless remakes. Sure, we got a lot of crappy remakes each year, mostly low-budget slasher crap (like the recent Prom Night). But this one was a big money movie with a somewhat big-name director and a big-name top-line star (although no one else other than standard Burton cast member Helena Bonham Carter had a name I recognized). But here, there was almost nothing that was done better than the original movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and a whole lot that was done worse.

Among the changes: a stranger, more childlike Willy Wonka, courtesy of Johnny Depp (with none of the whimsy or menace of Gene Wilder's version); new, more bombastic Oompa-Loompa songs; a new sub-plot showing Wonka's estrangement from and reconciliation with his dentist father (a wasted Christopher Lee); and a few new extended effects sequences not present in the original. None of these changes were for the better. In between, we got pretty much exactly the same plot points as in the original - the same kids doing the same stuff and getting the same just desserts. Oh, except for Charlie's near death at the hands of a rotating fan, which was removed. And the whole sub-plot of Charlie's deciding at the end not to reveal Wonka's secrets was removed, as well.

Which brings up the question - what's the point of all this again?

Not all was a waste. I did like the squirrel attack on Veruca that substituted for the goose scene. And whoever assembled Violet's mother's face did a great job of creating a nightmare version of a cheerleader mom - it hurt just looking at it. But almost everything else here is a misfire. Two stars at best - just stick with the original.

No comments: