Charlie And The Chocolate Factory


Reviewed by: Kotleta

Liz Smith as Grandma Georgina with the cast of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
"This is a calorie-free visual treat from start to finish." | Photo: Warner Bros

This is a very different film than the 1971 version, starring a callously weird, yet strangely loveable, Gene Wilder, but as they're both adaptations of a book that's superior to either, let's say no more about it.

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is rich in relatives (mum, dad and a full set of grandparents all under one ramshackle roof), but poor in cold hard cash. Luckily dreaming is free.

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Since local chocolate magnate Willy Wonka closed his factory, everyone's been wondering how the sweeties come out when nobody ever goes in to make them, so when he announces that the five children who find golden tickets in their chocolate wrappers will see inside, the world goes mad for Wonka bars. It's the greatest marketing ploy ever.

The Buckets can only afford one bar a year, but Charlie's faith that he has as much chance of winning as anyone else pays off and, along with Grandpa Joe (David Kelly), four monstrous brats and the equally vile responsible adults who accompany them, he sets off on the tour of a lifetime. You know the story.

This is a calorie-free visual treat from start to finish. Most of the budget went on lavish CGI effects to create a world so vibrantly sugar-coated and temptingly glossy that your teeth itch to taste it. However, money spent on Oompa Loompas might as well have bought magic jelly beans as their musical numbers are overproduced with uncomfortably adult dance moves and inaudible lyrics. Children are obsessed with things being fair (proof can be found wherever you hear the stamp of infant feet and the inward gasp which heralds a shriek of rage) so it's a shame they can't enjoy Dahl's beautifully moralistic little chants.

With Johnny Depp's mask-like white face, girlishly hesitant voice and spray-on gloves, comparisons with Michael Jackson are inevitable, yet lazy. The Wonka voice is an exact replica of a cartoon character from the early 80s, the name of which still eludes me after days of concentrated thinking. Anyone who lived in a factory would naturally be a bit pasty, and gloves are a sensible and hygienic precaution where food preparation is involved. So there.

While claiming to stay true to the original text, Burton adds a schmaltzy backstory to make Wonka more likeable. This doesn't do any harm, but it's not remotely necessary. Rubbish Oompa Loompas aside, this is the Ferrero Rocher of summer blockbusters. Spoil yourself.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2005
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Charlie And The Chocolate Factory packshot
Extravagant remake of the Roald Dahl story about a boy who wins a Golden Ticket visit to an eccentric millionaire's sweet factory.
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Read more Charlie And The Chocolate Factory reviews:

George Williamson ***1/2
Scott Macdonald ***
Amber Wilkinson ***

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: John August, based on the book by Roald Dahl

Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Franziska Troegner, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Wiegratz, Blair Dunlop

Year: 2005

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: USA

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