Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
[Pic Courtesy IMDb]
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is wild, wacky and wonderful. I have not seen the original version but this one is a testament to director Tim Burton's wonderful imagination and the film's technical crew's talent in bringing it to life. It is one of those films where almost every scene made me wish I was watching it on the big screen.
Willy Wonka(Johny Depp) is the owner of the world's largest chocolate factory and a recluse. Years ago he fired all his factory workers but still somehow manages to make and ship the world's most popular candy bars. One day he announces that he has hidden golden tickets inside 5 of his candy bars and that the finders of those tickets will get a 1-day tour of his factory. Charlie, a poor but good-hearted boy, lays his hands on one of the tickets and joins a chocolate-glutton Augustus, a spoilt Veruca, an over-competitive Violet and an intelligent but cynical Mike on the tour.
CCF is a visual delight. Burton makes the chocolate factory a futuristic, fantastic place and lets his imagination run wild since he is not restricted by the rules of the real world. Tim Burton's name, atleast for me, usually conjures up visions of dark, atmospheric movies with seriousness oozing out of every frame. But things are the exact opposite here. Every section of the factory is a riot of bright colors with no place for anything dull or plain. Even more incredible are the modes of transport used between those sections, like the glass elevator and the boat.
Burton's imagination is not limited to just the physical aspects of the movie though. The different kinds of candy Wonka thinks of(there's a gum that would serve as an entire meal) and the ways they are produced are all pretty fantastic.
The Oompa Loompas turn out to be the life of the film. They are the tiny workers in the chocolate factory who make sure its wheels are turning smoothly. Played by a single actor Deep Roy, who is cloned using special effects, the sight of them scurrying around and performing their roles in synchronized fashion gives the movie its energy. Their song-and-dance routines, played after each kid gets his or her comeuppance, are the high points of the film and are both catchy and choreographed spectacularly.
The film is not all style and no substance though since it eventually drives home the point that one's family is of paramount importance. This gives the movie its heart and at the end, gives us the feeling that we've seen a film rather than just a collection of some colorful sets and nifty special effects.
Johny Depp has made a career out of playing eccentrics and plain weirdos and so playing Wonka is not much of a stretch for him. His make up, hair and other accessories(like those huge glasses) do more than half the job for him and an wink here and a grin there are all that are required of him. The actor playing Charlie's grandfather is the only one who makes a mark among the supporting cast.