The eccentric Willy Wonka opens the doors of his candy factory to five lucky kids who learn the secrets behind his amazing confections.
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, AnnaSophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/70021648
An often-hilarious visual treat that has something to offer for everybody
First off, I would really like to emphasise that this movie is not a remake of the 1970’s film. That’s like saying Peter Jackson remade Ralph Bakshi’s 1970’s version of “Lord of The Rings”. It’s instead a new, darker and more cynical look at Roald Dahl’s novel. Dahl’s work is infamous for being darker than your average kiddy-fare so in that sense Tim Burton was being faithful to the source material. It is most definitely not a movie for very young children (my six year old struggled) with its hidden jokes and bizarre jumping about. What it is, is a magical menagerie of colour and wit with some very dark and eerie elements, this is a refreshing change from the very happy-go-lucky type movie that made up the original. While no one will ever be able to replace the truly amazing Gene Wilder as quirky chocolatier Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp adds new life and oddity to the character. The character of Charlie was wonderfully cast, using young Freddie Highmore to play him. The necessary chemistry required to make a movie actually work was extremely noticeable between Depp and Highmore possibly because they previously worked together in the drama “Finding Neverland”.
The opening scenes with the Bucket family and Grandpa Bucket’s flashbacks to his time working at the factory are wonderfully entertaining. The unusual imagery starts there with the gigantic factory “ten times as big as any other chocolate factory” and Charlie’s weird, funhouse-like shack and eccentric but loving family. I was most impressed with David Kelly as Grandpa Bucket, whose performance was all child-like wonder; Helena Bonham Carter and Noah Taylor were also good as Charlie’s parents.
Once they do get to the factory, though, things really take off. The imagery is amazing and Johnny Depp puts in an excellent performance as Willy Wonka, not an impression of Gene Wilder AT ALL, but as usual, making the character his own. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a Tim Burton-made adaptation of the book; his trademark is all over everything, and the result is stunning. Deep Roy as every one of the Oompa Loompas, Missi Pyle as Violet’s mother, David Kelly as Grandpa Bucket, and James Fox as Veruca Salt’s father. And the kids are great too, However, it is quite disappointing that you never really get to know the other children on the tour which makes their characters feel a little two dimensional. From the start of the tour, the movie starts feeling like an acid trip, and the movie never lets go of that atmosphere. The result is amazing.
The parts of the film which deal with Wonka’s childhood with Christopher Lee as his father, really added to the background story of the film and meant that it stayed truer to Roald Dahl’s work and the Oompa Loompas’ musical numbers, were also very true to the source material using the actual words that are in the book. However, I thought the musical number with the puppets at the beginning of the tour was the best one in the movie, but it has a bit of a sicko slant to it, as a parody of Disney’s “It’s a Small, Small World” display at Disney World melting with dolls seeming to bleed and becoming disfigured along with ghoulish creatures which might frighten younger children. The ending felt just a bit long and drawn out but the whole package is so good that the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. You’ll enjoy this movie, especially if you’re already a fan of Tim Burton’s work, but also, I think, if you’re a fan of the original movie or the book; however, even kids who have never been exposed to any of this will be entertained. It’s often hilarious, always a visual treat, and has something to offer for everybody.
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!