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Charlie and the Cholate factoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory
An Emily Blunt Review

Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Deep Roy, Noah Taylor, Helena Bonham Carter, Jordan Fry, AnnaSophia Robb, Julia Winter, Philip Wiegratz, Missi Pyle and David Kelly
Directed by: Tim Burton
Music by: Danny Elfman Soundtrack review & purchase portal->

Play a song from Charlie NOW (click silly click)



Bluntly speaking? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a mind-blowing, uber-crunchy nutty treat - a literal cornucopia of imagination sparkling between, and dancing about, the touching tale, whipped up and frothy as only Mr. Tim Burton (and his usual suspects behind & in the scenes) could have created. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a Wonkaliscious treat of grand eye-popping proportions kids!

Story goes…Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp), who had to close his factory to all due to chocolate-style espionage over fifteen years ago, has decided to grant five lucky children (and their escorts) a tour of his super-secret factory.

Five golden tickets are set forth across the world. It's melee for the youngin' - each hoping to find that golden ticket!

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), a poor child, who is rich in his family's love, is the last to find a golden ticket within a Wonka Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight. (<- tears may well up here as Freddy Highmore exudes the feeling of found happiness so very well).

The day arrives and the lucky children - each more greedy and brattier than the other (excluding dear Charlie) arrive at the factory gates. Let the hoopla begin! After a hilarious introduction to Mr. Wonka, the small group head into the gigantic cavernous factory.

They quickly learn, Wonka's not what you'd call a "people person." He even has cue cards he refers to when one of his guests confuses him with their prying questions (hilarious). Let's call him an eccentric and scuttle forward...

Wonka guides them through his fairyland of cholateering. The edible room with the river of chocolate - complete with a waterfall (natch), the invention room - where the Everlasting Gobbstopper is being developed along with the dinner gum…on to the trained squirrel area; Wonka discovered a squirrel can un-nut a nut nearly completely, and practically every time! Efficient and bizarre - that's Wonka...we also head into the future, that streams past virtual-reality, into tangible T.V. in Wonka's T.V. teleportation's all terribly grand!

But most grand of all, we meet, and learn about the history of, the multitalented Oompa-Loompas! ( <-be still my creativity-loving heart at the cleverness behind their, and Wonka's, backstories - thank you screenwriter John Austin, Mr. Burton, and Danny Elfman…)

When only Charlie is left with Wonka, after a series of misadventures 86 the other more aggressive four spawn, er, children, Wonka's greatest parlor trick has been saved for Charlie! But we will learn, it's really Charlie who is about to give Mr. Wonka the greatest gift of all…(sniff - snort).

Not that I ever feared Mr. Tim Burton and his stratospheric mind (along with a few of his closest friends…) could not have assembled the perfect cast (which he did), or create Wonka's world as Roald Dahl had intended originally (which they did), or that the added bits of Wonka's back story wouldn't delight (which it did), I just was up to my snozgaggle in repugnant remakes and cash-in copies - here, however, my gosh darn I stand corrected, and in awe dear readers. I have begun deconstructing my soapbox, as I am firmly, obliviously, a hypocrite.

The cast assembled for this classic reinvents and brings to vivid life all the characters many of us already loved. Tim Burton was certainly the man-for-the-job (he'd already superbly addressed Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach" after all). And Burton's exquisite eye for fancy. with winks of macabre, work wonderfully with Dahl's delicious dialog, and Wonka's whole nearly mad beneath a hat persona.

The production design by Alex McDowell, in which he uses pretty-much real sets with sprinkles of CG, and the pristine humor-accented costuming by Gabriella Pescucci only emphasize the wondrous work. Danny Elfman, composer extraordinaire, whips up the music, stitching the frames stupendously (score reviewed here). The nasty wee ones, the hellions set amuck among the sweets, each excel; Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry ala pass-the-ortho-novum), Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb) and of course der schwineschnitzelkind Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz - who gets the best song in my humble all-knowing opinion). They are brilliantly perfectly putrid. And Deep Roy, in an additional stroke of smarty-cakes, is CGI'd into every Oompa-Loompa we see cavorting about - very well done indeed.

But, naturally Charlie (Highmore) and Willy Wonka (Depp) steal the show. Freddy is so cute-you-could-just-breed-if-you'd-have-one-of-him; such a tremendous talent in a lad's frame. And Johnny Depp molds Wonka into a bar of man, who is carrying a basket of phobias beneath a well-groomed (albeit a tad askew with his super-mod bob-cut) façade and a way of speaking that's so-out it's-funny. "Willy" has an innocent yet razor-sharp wit, with a heaping helping of spastic shenanigans, that keep you giggling all the way through this world of wonder. Once again, the material is purrfectly suited to the actor - Depp makes it look so easy…being strange, yet likable, quirky yet cute.

Whether you do or don't know the story, I really can't express strongly enough that you must run ala Veruca to the theater to see this (IMAX preferred for a pure Burton fix). If you are a Wonkaphile, rest assured Mr. Dahl is up in the heavens elbowing Tolkien that he can stop bragging about the grandeur of Peter Jackson's portrayal of his tales on celluloid, and winking to C.S. Lewis that he hopes his 'Narnia' fares as well in its studio's hands. Gene I love ya - always will - but this version of Wonka is truly a delectable scrumpdelicious rendition of perfection. The medium has grown into a land where they now have the visual abilty to reflect Dahl's galaxy of imagination a smidge more fancy-ish. Enjoy

Snack recommendation: Wonka Cakes - available now at markets everywhere! They're extra yummy - trust me.




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