Growing up, I was quite the fan of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory growing up, mostly watching it when it was shown in school. It didn’t do much to further our education, but we enjoyed it. At least I did.
The remake made me a bit skeptical. I’m a fan of Tim Burton’s works, but I’ve never really been a fan of Johnny Depp.
However, the remake was fantastic and worth the Saturday night admission. Depp’s portrayal of Wonka is quite different from Gene Wilder’s, yet both are quite enjoyable. While Wilder had some memorable songs (“Close your eyes, make a wish, count to three…” will probably forever be in my memory’s vocabulary), Depp made up for the fact his version of Wonka didn’t sing with some pretty clever lines, expertly recited in a quirky way only Depp could.
“Everything in this room is eatable. Even I’m eatable. But that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.” — Wonka
Below are spoilers.
I did have a few minor complaints about the movie, though, mostly involving the remake’s interpretation of the story. In the original movie, Charlie Bucket almost doesn’t win the prize because of the soda he and his grandpa stole, causing them to be lighter than air momentarily. That entire plotpoint is missing from this interpretation, and in fact Charlie’s innocence is emphasized even moreso, particularly in the scene where he made the decision to sell the Golden Ticket in order to get some money for his impoverished family rather than redeeming it himself.
Also missing was the complete and utter weirdness of the boat ride down the chocolate river, not to mention the neat boat washing afterwards. In the new version, we are treated to a special effects laden tour of the factory while on the boat (and while also in the glass elevator later on), but it wasn’t quite as interesting as the tunnel of scary images freaking out the factory guests from the original movie.
What was interesting to see was how certain aspects of the story were fleshed out this time around. Much more time was spent explaining who Wonka was, where he came from, and why he does what he does. Apparently, it takes an overbearing dentist father to produce the world’s greatest candy maker.
All in all, a great family movie, and worth seeing.