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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Originally written
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Everyone should be familiar with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, if not then you must be lost on Oompa Island, searching for whatit's and humdigs...but that's beside the point. For the 99.9998% of you who have seen the original I won't bother to summarize the story or this remake because it is basically very similar. But I will offer some of my insights, likes and dislikes and maybe throw in a few brash comments here and there.

The original was good and unique but after about the 50th viewing it begins to grow rather annoying at points. My major complaint about the original is it really was a musical, with every main character and side character at some point during the film bursting into song. Frankly I dislike musicals, I go to the movies to be entertained by acting, not by song, otherwise I would go and see a musical production or play, which I never would hence I don't want to see it in film. Although I did love the Oompa Loompa songs from the originals those were very entertaining as well as comedic. This leads me into my first complaint about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...  

The Oompa Loompas, were my favorite part in the original, sadly they were grossly modernized in this edition and not for the better. Now the Oompa Loompas are played by one guy cloned a thousand times, wherein the original each Oompa was a little different, because he was played by a different person. That so much didn't get me as the musical numbers did. In the originals they were very silly and catchy with the same tune, in this remake they tried to spice them up with disco, rock and other styles, it wasn't the same and even more so half the time you can't understand what they are singing because the music drowns them out. On top of that they never once sang "Oompa Loompa, Loompa dee doo!" which is quite frankly a travesty since it's their trademark!

Aside from the Oompa Loompa's being a rather large disappointment I am glad to say I really enjoyed the rest of the characters in comparison to their original counterparts. Charlie and his grandfather for one were rather annoying in the original because they extremely naive, in this version they are much more sensible. I thought the casting of the other children was great as well, they all looked so much like their counterparts in the original. You will also notice a few large changes as Violet Beauregarde is accompanied by her mother and Mike Teavee by his father, where in the original it was the opposite, I think this way worked out for the better.

There are a few noticeable additions and subtractions to the remake, Slugworth is cut down to a quick mention and never confronts Charlie asking him to bring him back some of Wonka's secrets, as in the original. Veruca Salt doesn't want a duck who lays a golden egg; she wants a chipmunk that cracks nuts, which is a scene I found much more entertaining than the original. Charlie and his grandfather never get into trouble as they did in the original, which I think fit much better into the story, and of course there are no random solos by any of the characters, other than the Oompa Loompa's.

What sets this film aside from the original is the fact that it goes into more depth of the history of the Chocolate Factory than the original. In this film we see glimpses of Wonka's childhood, how he began his empire, and how his father played a role in it all. When thinking about Wonka it's kind of hard to decide who was better, the original Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp. Wilder had mystery, Depp had a strange goofy dazed look. Depp reminded me a lot of Michael Jackson, whether it was his pale complexion, girlish hair and high pitched voice, or the fact that he didn't like parents but liked kids, although Depp stated he did not model Wonka after Jackson in anyway. Both Depp and Wilder were at two opposite ends of a spectrum but in my opinion were both well cast for their perspective versions.

In the end, I think the remake built greatly upon the story-line and at times strengthen it more, of course the special effects and graphics are light years ahead of the original, and the musical score was very good, which helped add to the film a darker facade. My one large complaint is the Oompa Loompas, I much more enjoyed the originals and I think they got the short end of the stick in this remake, which is really a shame. People that grew up with the original, actually seeing it when it came out as children, might not like this version as well, where as those my age who weren't alive when it first came out but have seen it growing up might be torn between certain parts as I am. One thing about the original is it's going to give you a larger sense of a fantasy world, because for its time it was pretty top notch and really did a lot with a little. But both films have there highs and lows, you'll have to be the one to decide which you prefer.


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