Friday, July 15, 2005

Review – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I won’t bother comparing this to the original. Standing on its own, this is an exceptionally uneven production. The story works, but many of its elements do not. For example, the children’s characters (except Charlie, of course) were underdeveloped, while far too much time was spent on Willie Wonka. The premise of the tale is that Wonka is a magical creature, sort of an Eyrine for bad little kids and their even-worse parents. Such a figure doesn’t require an extended back story. The flashbacks to Wonka’s youth destroy the mystery that helps make him interesting, not to mention disrupting the flow of the picture. And Burton or Depp or whoever made the decision to play Wonka as Michael Jackson made a bad call, because it served only to make the character creepy – even somewhat disgusting – and drove a wedge between him and the audience who should probably sympathize with him at least a little. On the other hand, the movie had a lot of entertaining highlights as well. I was especially fond of Veruca falling victim to angry squirrels. As a concluding aside, I should note that somehow or another I let myself get talked into going to see this on opening night at the cramped, stuffy, and otherwise generally uncomfortable Southwind theaters in Lawrence, possibly the most unpleasant place and the worst possible time to see this or any other movie. I don’t think the awful surroundings hampered my appreciation of the movie, but viewing conditions didn’t exactly help either. Mildly amusing

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