DVD Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Deluxe Edition)

Fantasy Adventure. Acclaimed director Tim Burton brings his vividly imaginative style to the beloved Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, about eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka (Depp) and Charlie, a good-hearted boy from a poor family who lives in the shadow of Wonka’s extraordinary factory. Long isolated from his own family, Wonka launches a worldwide contest to select an heir to his candy empire. Five lucky children, including Charlie, draw golden tickets from Wonka chocolate bars and win a guided tour of the legendary candy-making facility that no outsider has seen in 15 years. Dazzled by one amazing sight after another, Charlie is drawn into Wonka’s fantastic world in this astonishing and enduring story.

Special features include:

The Fantastic Mr. Dahl: Learn about Dahl’s life story and extraordinary body of work,
Challenges: Oompa-Loompa Dance Machine, The Inventing Machine, The Bad Nut, Search for the Golden Ticket,
Attack of the Squirrels: See how they trained live squirrels to perform in the film, Five making-of featurettes, Becoming Oompa-Loompa: See how one actor, Deep Roy, was turned into a multi-talented army of Oompas, and Pack of 5 limited-edition trading cards

When I first heard that Tim Burton was creating an updated movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I had high expectations for the film. Then when I heard Johnny Depp would be portraying Willy Wonka I simply knew the film couldn’t miss. With movies like Edward Scissorhands and Beatlejuice to his credit, I simply couldn’t wait to see Burton’s adaptation of the book. I will admit, however, that I have not read the book. The only basis for comparison is Mel Stuart’s 1971 film adaptation in which Gene Wilder brilliantly portrays Wonka- this being my only worry in respect to Burton’s version. How could Johnny Depp out-Wonka Gene Wilder? I will always maintain that Wonka was Wilder’s finest hour with his dark humor, sarcasm and the fact that you simply never knew what he was going to do next- as a child I think I would have been a bit taken aback and reluctant to be lead through a factory by a man who seemed quite unstable and a bit mad.

After viewing the film I came to the conclusion that what Johnny Depp did for Capt. Jack Sparrow he did for Willy Wonka. Depp still maintained Wonka’s sarcasm and unpredictability, but added a bit of quirkiness to the character which made his performance utterly enjoyable. Through his performance one could also deduce that Wonka spent a little too much time in the factory, isolated from society which seemed to make him a little out of touch with humanity.

Then, of course there’s the Oompa Loompas. All played by Deep Roy, Wonka’s Oompa Loompas are digital clones of Roy which gives a kind of bizarre effect when several tens of identical Oompa Loompas are dancing in unison around Wonka’s factory. As creepy as the Oompa Loompa’s were in the original film, Burton’s, I believe take the cake.

I’m still unsure which version I prefer. Both versions are executed flawlessly, and Wilder and Depp both give enthralling performances. After Wilder’s portrayal of Wonka, I believe that Depp is the only actor today who could have filled the massive shoes left behind by Wilder, and for that I commend him. Burton, of course, in his unique way, stylizes and creates the magical world of Wonka’s factory and freshens up the dated special effects used in the 1971 version- one must keep in mind that the effects used in the original are now some 34 years outdated. My conclusion is that, like the 1971 version, Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the beloved children’s book will be cherished by young people and adults alike for decades to come and will become a classic film staple much in the same respect as the original has.

Review by Emma Loggins

Grade: A+
Official site: http://chocolatefactorymovie.warnerbros.com/
Buy on Amazon: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Deluxe Edition)


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