CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. 2005. DIRECTED BY TIM BURTON. STARRING JOHNNY DEPP, FREDDIE HIGHMORE, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, NOAH TAYLOR, DAVID KELLY, MISSI PYLE, JAMES FOX, DEEP ROY AND CHRISTOPHER LEE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
The original WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) holds warm Christmas/childhood memories for me, as I suppose it does for most people. I was out for a long post-Crimbo walk with my family one year, walking off the turkey and plum pudding. We arrived home, cold and starving with the hunger, and switched on the TV.
There it was in all its glory, the original WILLY WONKA with Gene Wilder playing the role of the eccentric and twisted chocolate factory owner as if he was born to do it. The film exploded onto our screen in a riotous blaze of glorious colour, music and special effects. We adored it. We were completely and utterly hooked.
We’ve watched it every year since, at Christmas and at Easter. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a nice bit of Willy Wonka and his oompa-loompas, the vertically-challenged, roly-poly factory workers the colour of fat, juicy satsumas.
I wasn’t hugely impressed, therefore, to see that this iconic seasonal treasure- there’s no other word for it- had been remade. What is the point of that, I wondered. I watched the remake and was pleasantly surprised. Though nothing could ever beat the original, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY ain’t half bad. In fact, it’s pretty good fun.
The story hasn’t changed a whole lot. This time around, Johnny Depp plays the wacky entrepreneur who, after a long closure, re-opens his mysterious chocolate factory to five lucky children, winners of the golden tickets. The kids are all well cast, in that they’re all the nasty little horrors they’re meant to be.
We’ve got Augustus Gloop, the greedy, candy-guzzling tubby child; Veruca Salt, the spoiltest brat you could ever meet in a day’s walk; the obnoxious, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde; the TV-obsessed, aptly-named Mike Teavee and, of course, the one good kid, Charlie Bucket, who’s as poor as a church mouse and just grateful for the fantastic opportunity he’s being given.
One by one, the rugrats- bar Charlie- each get a terrible come-uppance, to the accompaniment of a song from the brilliant Deep Roy who plays all the oompa-loompas. Johnny Depp does a terrific job of conveying to us that Willy Wonka has deep-rooted mental problems dating back to his childhood, when he would clash with his stern dentist father, Wilbur Wonka. Daddy Wonka is superbly played by the late Sir Christopher Lee.
Our own David Kelly- Oreilly Men from British sitcom FAWLTY TOWERS- plays Grandpa Joe, the ex-chocolate factory worker who spends two decades in bed being waited on hand and foot. He recovers his health fast enough, though, when there’s a chance of a lifetime supply of chocolate and a good old nosey round his old workplace. The sly old codger…! Someone should grass him up to the Disability people.
So, what happens to the one good child left standing at the end, then? You’ll have to watch the film for yourself to find out. If they had to remake WILLY WONKA, then this film is a good effort. Have a squint and see for yourself. And watch those bad habits, won’t you? You don’t want Deep Roy having to compose a cautionary song about you. And don’t forget to scrub those gnashers. You definitely don’t want to hear Dr. Wilbur Wonka saying the fateful word in those deep, scary tones: ‘Next…!’
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
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4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
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