Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Edward Fox, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry, Philip Weigratz, Christopher Lee and Deep Roy

Tim Burton

Running Time:
115 mins

Out to buy on DVD 21/11/05

"You're Weird"

Willy Wonka

After almost fifteen years since closing its doors to the public and firing his entire workforce, chocolatier Willy Wonka (Depp) has broken his silence and sent out five Golden Tickets. Hidden inside normal Wonka Bars of chocolate, the ticket entitles the finder to visit the Wonka factory and receive a lifetime's supply of chocolate. For one of the lucky five, there will be a special price but Willy Wonka won't reveal that until the end of the tour. As the world clambers to get hold of the winning Wonka bars, Charlie Bucket (Highmore) dreams of being one of the lucky winners but his family are so poor, he only gets one bar a year, on his birthday.

With the 1971 movie starring Gene Wilder considered a classic, can this new version be as sugary sweet or will it leave a sour taste in your mouth?

Tim Burton's adaptation of Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is just as much fun as the first dramatisation, been in parts better and in parts worse but both films have their own merits. The 1971 movie was driven by the performance of Gene Wilder as the chocolatier Willy Wonka and this version is no different, with Johnny Depp stealing the entire show. The films and the book are supposed to be about Charlie but it is Willy Wonka that is the fascinating character and the reason that the tale is so loved.

Chameleon Depp transforms himself into the eccentric confectionary inventor and has some real fun with the character. A man-child, with no comprehension of the real world outside of his factory, Depp creates the larger than life character to have a real dislike of people but longs for some attention. Much of this is brought to the forefront by a new storyline added by Tim Burton and screenwriter John August. Realising that Wonka is by far the most interesting character, he now has a backstory that reveals more about his childhood, he reasons for his chocolate obsession and why he doesn't like people and especially families. This allows Depp to introduce quite a dark edge to the character, as he watches with glee as each of the competition winners become consumed by their own petty fascinations. This again proves that Johnny Depp is one of the best character actors to ever grace the silver screen, as he effortlessly breathes life into another brilliant creation.

Supporting Depp is an excellent mixture of adult and new child stars. Freddie Highmore is cementing himself into the category of one of the best male child actors working in cinema at the present time. As Charlie he conveys all the sense of wonder and magic that you want to see in the character as he tours around the factory. He works well with the more dramatic elements of the script as he realises that his family is more important than any golden ticket. The rest of the child actors and actresses are also good with Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordan Fry and Philip Weigratz bringing Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee and Augustus Gloop to life, each getting their character's vices and obsessions spot on. The adult cast is also good with Noah Taylor and Helena Bonham Carter playing Charlie's parents, David Kelly doing an excellent job as Grandpa Joe and the always-excellent Edward Fox standing out as Mr Salt, the man who just can't say no to his daughter.

Besides Johnny Depp, it is the performance of Deep Roy as the Oompa Loompa's that really stands out. Playing every single Oompa Loompa you see on screen, Deep Roy sings and dances his way through all the songs and still manages time to make the chocolate.

The movie itself sees Burton's visual flare and obsession with the surreal really come to the forefront. The whole film is a feast for the eye, from the dank and dingy look of the outside world, to the colour and splendour of the inside of the factory. This is the world, as Roald Dahl would have imaged it, as it looks good enough to eat.

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is supreme family fun that is only dogged down by the inclusion of the new Wonka backstory. This seems to slow the pace of the movie down and extends it for far too long, as we have to see Wonka face his past and the fears that come with it. Aside from this, Tim Burton has produced a film that will delight all the family but only time will tell if it becomes as loved as the Gene Wilder movie.

Chocolate Dreams: learn about Tim Burton's vision for the film and how he adapted the story
Different Faces, Different Flavours: meet the actors and learn about the characters they play
Designer Chocolate: learn about the film's production design
Under the Wrapper: go behind-the-scenes to see how the film's special effects were created
Sweet Sounds: watch the creation of the 4 Oompa-Loompa songs by composer Danny Elfman
Attack of the Squirrels: see how real squirrels were trained to perform in the film
Fantastic Mr. Dahl: learn about author Roald Dahl's life story and extraordinary body of work
Becoming an Oompa-Loompa: see how one actor, Deep Roy, was turned into a multi talented army of Oompas
DVD-Rom features: PC game demo, web links

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The Usher Home | Hush, Hush... | The Big Story | The Usher Speaks

Stuck @ Home | Coming Soon | Links | Contact the Usher