Family, friends, stereotypes and chocolate?

Sunday saw us both at the movies. We decided to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

If you're after a fun light hearted look at childhood stereotypes with lots of singing oompaloompas, don't bother. In true Tim Burton fashion this is a dark tale of Willy's demons, with Charlie being the catalyst that turns Willy into the prodigal son.

The opening sequence is an amazing piece of CG, and when you see the credits at the end you realise that there was enormous amounts of energy spent on this aspect of the movie alone. However it doesn't detract from the story in any way shape or form. The story, which I have never read by the way, is at one level about the tour of the factory, and the children who are punished for their misdeeds throughout. It is also about the importance of family. Handled in a relatively non-sacchrine way.

This version however focuses primarily on the character of Willy. Willy's success it seems is because he is driven character, with a demon. Dealing with this demon seems to be the only way for Willy to regain his chocolate/lolly empire. Which in true Hollywood fashion he manages to do. Charlie on the other hand finds success from other areas and only goes back to the factory after Wily has decided to allow his family to come along as well.

The cast are all stellar in my opinion and if anything, the support actors kind of steal the show, which is never a bad thing in my mind. The story line has only minor variations on the 1971 film with Gene Wilder, but a slightly different ending.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but I have issues with several areas, the stereotyping of the children,for one, I felt could have been made more contemporary, i.e. TV Mike could have been sucked into computer game rather than into a TV, although his character was obsesssed with video games. Several parts were direct quotes from the 1971 movie, and having never read the book I'm unclear as to the importance of these quotes to the story. So I'll need to find a copy of the book and find out for myself I guess.

One of my favourite aspects of the movie is that it operates at several levels, have fun looking out for other movie references, I suspect there may even be some TV references in there as well, may need to go back and have another look.

My final verdict at this stage is, if you like Tim Burton's style, you'll like this movie, if you want a bright colourful simple song and dance romp don't bother, this movie is dark, and operates on several levels, some of which I don't think kids should see.

No comments: