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July 17, 2005

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Sorry I haven't been blogging this weekend...as usual, there's too much to do on the weekends and not enough time to do it. Most of yesterday was spent rearranging my basement--a finished space that is used as a family room. I had to make enough room for my new treadmill!

Anyway, the big excitement was seeing the new film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. I was more excited about it than the kids! I read numerous reviews, but I usually don't let them sway my opinion until I see a movie myself.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has much to recommend it, but those who enjoyed the friendly demeanor of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka might be disappointed. While it's an inspired performance, Johnny Depp's Wonka is more sinister than happy-go-lucky chocolate maker. I have not quite made my mind up about him yet.

The performances by the children were wonderful. Charlie is angelic, the rest are horrible brats. The parents are also well-cast, as is Charlie's family. And, this being Tim Burton, the sets are elaborate and awe-inspiring.

Danny Elfman is one of my favorite movie composers, and I was a fan of him when he was with Oingo Boingo back in the '80s. The music for this film really reminded me a great deal of Oingo Boingo's stuff. The only thing I found wrong with it is that some of the lyrics to the Oompa Loompa songs (using the lines written by Roald Dahl in the book) were difficult to understand, although that could have simply been the volume in the theater.

There were flashbacks to Wonka's childhood that showed why he became the way he is. My favorite flashback was how Wonka first met the Oompa Loompas.

Oh, and some of the best lines were throw-away lines by minor character Grandpa George (one of the grandparents who shares a bed and never gets out of it).

Basically, if you are a fan of the book and the original movie, you should check it out and make up your own mind. I did enjoy it, though I didn't like everything about it. And this was the most crowded I'd seen a theater in a long time.

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