Director Tim Burton turns this classic children’s story into a spectacular fantasy adventure that may overwhelm the younger set familiar with the original. Set in modern times, young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) lives in a rundown shack on the outskirts of London. No one has seen anyone come in or out of the nearby Wonka Chocolate Factory, but Wonka chocolate bars are everywhere. When eccentric owner Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) announces that five lucky children will win a day in his factory if their chocolate bar has the special gold ticket, sales skyrocket. Sure enough, Charlie wins one. Accompanied by Grandpa Joe (David Kelly), a wide-eyed Charlie embarks on an amazing adventure in the magical world of chocolate rivers, dazzling fireworks, elevators that run in all directions and, of course, Oompa Loompas.
I am very, very surprised with Tim Burton and his wonderful new film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” There haven’t been many Dove family-approved films that Tim Burton has produced, written or directed. The one that comes to mind that did receive the Dove Seal is “Big Fish.” Most of Burton’s films I find to be dark, morose and violent. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is more quirky and fun than anything else. It is also a remake that I found much more enjoyable than the original. Burton had many opportunities to take the low road, but didn’t move in that direction.
I am more and more impressed with Johnny Depp’s versatile acting talents with every one of his films I see. I thought he was wonderful in “Finding Neverland” (2004), “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2003) and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993). Depp has tremendous “deppth” as an actor. He can be crazy, quirky, and serious while not seeming the same in every film. He was so funny and crazy as Willy Wonka that I was captivated by his performance.
The Oompa Loompas are fun to watch and the special effects used with them are impressive. All in all, this film is very well done and extremely enjoyable.