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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)


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QUOTE Johnny Depp's assault on mainstream popularity continues. His negotiations to star as Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's update of the children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory continue apace, and it looks pretty much like a done deal.{C}

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It's not Alan Cumming, but I think that I'll be pretty happy with this. I guess the casting of Depp also goes to show that he won't just be re-treading the same as Gene Wilder (while I'm not a fan of the original film, I thought Wilder was excellent). Can't wait to see it.

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Willy Wonka was a childhood favorite of mine, and I just re-watched it a couple weeks ago and was amazed at how much I still enjoyed it. But when I watched it, I asked myself, "Could this movie be made today?" I answered, no, due to our current obsession with self-esteem and "tolerance". I just couldn't see a movie that portrays fairly standard kids as such jackasses as being accepted by the public. This is the first I've heard of this remake and the fact that it is being done by Burton and Depp could not make me more thrilled.

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Yeah it does sound wonderful. Man, I wish I had a link, but apparently Dahl was not pleased with the original and really didn't give it his stamp of approval. It may have to do a bit with the way they played with the ending or something. But if that version wasn't even true to Dahl's vision, then I can't wait to see one that is!

I wonder if Burton (and I am a huge fan of his) can tone down some of his conventions and come up with something fresh for this.

So far it seems that all three of his films with Depp have produced characters with quite different nuances. So I wonder if he will do Wonka with the joy of Benny and the carefree rock and rollness of the Pirate.

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I can't say I am the biggest fan of Depp--though I can't say either that I have seen a great many of his performances, I guess--but it is an interesting choice, and I am eager to see how it all turns out.

Re: the first film, although it is rather rough, technically, I thought some of the changes to the narrative were an improvement. Having Charlie fatherless brought out his need for a father and Wonka's need for a son and heir. Inventing the character of Mr Wilson was a disastrous move, which I can't see any reason for Burton to replicate.

Any news on the other characters? The setting? (Please not a badly disguised Bavaria again!! A return to the original English setting would be nice.) Any casting ideas for the other characters?

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Gene Wilder was perfet as Willy Wonka but ever since I heard about a remake my vote has always and only been on none other than Johnny Depp (there are threads to prove it). I do believe Johnny will create an eccentric character with several facets displayed in just one look. Plus the guy can sing so they can still go by way of the musical.

I do wonder if they will try to make this more "politically correct" regarding the attitudes toward the children and their vices. I also wonder if they will make it seem a bit more drug induced as Wilder gave that feeling of not quite having his feet on the ground. I can see them taking this in a different direction than the original.

I also understand the Johnny Depp is trying to get the part of Ozzy Osbourne in an upcoming movie about his life. He actually put on a fake concert as Ozzy, made a live concert video/music video with a real audience, all paid for out of his own pocket - just to get the part. I could see this being portrayed as a heavily drugged version of the "pirate" and I am not an Ozzy fan so maybe not the most exciting thing in Depp's career.

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Yeah it does sound wonderful. Man, I wish I had a link, but apparently Dahl was not pleased with the original and really didn't give it his stamp of approval.

Huh? Whatcha been smoking? Dahl worked on the screenplay ... rent the DVD and watch the documentary that comes with it.

It may have to do a bit with the way they played with the ending or something.

The last scene was written off the cuff, just before it was shot, by a screenwriter other than Dahl, but I don't recall anything about Dahl being unhappy about it.

But if that version wasn't even true to Dahl's vision, then I can't wait to see one that is!

And you trust Tim Burton to be true to Dahl's vision?

I wonder if Burton (and I am a huge fan of his) can tone down some of his conventions and come up with something fresh for this.

I wonder if Burton can come in out of the woods and do something he hasn't done for nine years: create a film that's worth watching.

Those with long memories and a penchant for first editions will recall that the Oompa-Loompas were originally African pygmies -- their description was changed in later editions of the book because Wonka's labor force looked a little too much like slavery. So if the new film is PC-ified, at least it won't be anything new.

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It's not Alan Cumming, but I think that I'll be pretty happy with this.

Cumming would be a brilliant choice! -- but he's not yet well known enough to carry a film at the box office. I guess we can all thank our lucky stars that it isn't Jim Carrey.

Trivia question: Of the 5 child actors in the original film, how many wound up working in the financial-services industry?

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Yeah it does sound wonderful. Man, I wish I had a link, but apparently Dahl was not pleased with the original and really didn't give it his stamp of approval.

Huh? Whatcha been smoking? Dahl worked on the screenplay ... rent the DVD and watch the documentary that comes with it.

I got all that from a recent NPR session on the remake and they were discussing Dahl's disapproval of the film. I think especially because of the end there or something. I will try to find a link or some quotes or something. And watch the DVD, I didn't know they had a good documentary on there, it would be fun to see Dahl in action.

Maybe they should adapt The BFG.

What is it about Burton's films that you don't like?

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Dahl having a hand in the screenplay doesn't necessarily say anything about how happy he was with the final film. Also, the final scene is completely in tune with the book, to my memory--unless we're talking the penultimate scene set in Wonka's study, with the whole Mr Wilson scenario--a definite blunder (along with a few other potentially devastating changes).

Drop by The Grace Pages, a rest-stop for fellow pilgrims.

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What is it about Burton's films that you don't like?

Let's see. Not all of Burton's films, surely ... Nightmare Before Xmas, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Batman 1 are all delightful films. But after that, what went wrong? Batman 2 -- a disturbing, twisted, meandering mess. Mars Attacks -- dead waste of celluloid, possibly the worst film I've ever seen. Represents $60 million that could have been spent to fight AIDS in Africa or feed starving children. Sleepy Hollow -- Nice characterization by Depp. Otherwise nasty, graphic, gratuitously violent, bears only the palest resemblance to Irving's story, boring and repetitive, Burton indulges his preoccupation with his girlfriend's mammaries a few times too often. Planet of the Apes -- on the way up, but the acting is terrible except for Paul Giamatti, who manages to create a believable character even though he's in an ape mask -- a feat that Mark Wahlberg can't match, and he's not wearing an ape mask. Gaping holes in plotline. Burton is tremendous when it comes to production design--the process of creating a look and feel for a film. But films aren't paintings; they must have characters, dialogue, and plot to sustain them, and these elements have by and large eluded Burton ever since the closing credits rolled on Ed Wood.

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Dahl having a hand in the screenplay doesn't necessarily say anything about how happy he was with the final film. Also, the final scene is completely in tune with the book, to my memory--unless we're talking the penultimate scene set in Wonka's study, with the whole Mr Wilson scenario--a definite blunder (along with a few other potentially devastating changes).

The final line: "Do you know what happened to the boy who got everything he'd ever wished for? He lived happily ever after," is the one dashed off the night before it was filmed. You can see Dahl's touch early on in the scenes with the schoolteacher, the computer expert, and the woman whose husband has been kidnapped. I never liked the penultimate scene in the study either, but nothing was said in the documentary about Dahl being unhappy with it. I'd like to see the NPR link too. Side note: Peter Ostrom (Charlie) was given his sides for that penultimate scene, but he did not know what Wilder's lines were. He had to set down the Gobstopper and turn away, not knowing how Wilder was going to react.

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mrmando wrote:

: Nightmare Before Xmas, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Batman 1 are

: all delightful films.

Um, well, Burton himself did not direct Nightmare exactly, and as for the others, Ed Wood is the only one I care for all that much. The original Batman was as much a trashing of its source material as any other remake or adaptation that Burton has done. (I recall thinking that I liked the CHARACTER of Edward Scissorhands, but not the movie itself -- it has always felt like Batman 1.5 to me, what with the conclusion straight out of Batman 1 and the sinister malformed fingers straight out of Batman 2, etc.)

: Mars Attacks -- dead waste of celluloid, possibly the worst film I've ever seen.

I remember liking it, in a shut-off-the-brain sort of way (or an explode-the-brain sort of way!), and I might have seen it twice, even. But yeah, it's little more than a gleeful way to kill time.

: Sleepy Hollow -- Nice characterization by Depp. Otherwise nasty,

: graphic, gratuitously violent, bears only the palest resemblance to

: Irving's story, boring and repetitive, Burton indulges his preoccupation

: with his girlfriend's mammaries a few times too often.

Except for the mammary thing, which of these criticisms does NOT apply to Batman?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
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Except for the mammary thing, which of these criticisms does NOT apply to Batman?

Well, not being much of a comic-book geek, I wouldn't have known about the source-material concerns. In defense of Batman I'd say it is less nasty, gratuitous, meandering and twisted than Batman 2 or Sleepy Hollow -- it manages to be entertaining whereas the other films don't. So I'll agree that the criticisms apply, but they don't apply in equal measure.

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mrmando wrote:

: Well, not being much of a comic-book geek, I wouldn't have known about

: the source-material concerns.

Burton's story there is especially aggravating when you compare it to the story that screenwriter Sam Hamm wrote for issues #598-600 of Detective Comics around that time -- now THAT was a kick-ass story, but the movie barely even had a story, it was so lame.

: In defense of Batman I'd say it is less nasty, gratuitous, meandering and

: twisted than Batman 2 or Sleepy Hollow -- it manages to be entertaining

: whereas the other films don't. So I'll agree that the criticisms apply, but

: they don't apply in equal measure.

I might agree that the criticisms don't apply in equal measure, but I could never agree that Batman was entertaining. Parts of it, sure. But not as a whole.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I wonder: Would I have liked Batman less if I had seen it on the big screen? I never did. I've managed to see every Burton film since Batman 2 on the big screen and the previous ones only on TV, be it broadcast or video. Do I recall Batman as being less creepy because I've only seen it on a much smaller scale than Batman 2? I know part of the discomfort I felt in Sleepy Hollow had to do with the closeups of headless corpses and their (previously) constituent heads, etc. I imagine the mass-murder-by-poison-gas scene in Batman might be considerably more disturbing when writ large.

Anyhow, to steer the discussion back toward its topic: I'm not concerned so much about political correction of Dahl's story as I am about unleashing on the book a director with Burton's predilection for needless graphic violence as a tool for spicing up an otherwise tedious film. There's a scene at the end of the book where Charlie spies the four bad children exiting the factory, somewhat worse for the wear after their various mishaps: Augustus and Mike have both been stretched out to freakish proportions; Veruca and her parents are covered in garbage; Violet has been juiced out but is still blue. The original film dispensed with this scene altogether; I rather suspect Burton will take the opposite tack and glory in the disfigurement of the naughty kids to a degree that is out of proportion to the scene's importance. In the book, Charlie sees the kids from a distance; I bet Burton finds a way to give us extreme closeups.

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  • 7 months later...

I know that is has already been stated that this is a remake and we have yet to find out if it will be a musical remake.

I have been thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to make this a continuation of the story, a movie that picked up on Charlie as an adult several years after inheriting the factory.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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That is definitely a better title but this thread is about to return to the depths from which is rested for so long.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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No quibble was intended. It was more like a thought, a twist on this story without creating another remake. Timothy Burton would be well suited for such an endeavour.

Keep the title changes coming - They keep getting better!

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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Hm. I'd say Wilder wasn't one-fifth as hyper as the character in the book is. Can you think of a character in children's literature who speaks with more exclamation points?

Depp -- I can see it now: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... The Decaf Room. Nothing to get excited about."

Big Fish has come and gone since I posted my earlier comments, ameliorating my feelings about Burton somewhat. But I maintain that there's no need for a remake. The only deficiencies in the original film are the points where it diverges from the book -- Fizzy Lifting Drinks, the Study Scene, the Slugworth character. It's hard to see how "re-imagining" the plot will correct those deficiencies.

What about filming the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? I think out of every President we've had, the current one comes closest to resembling the inimitable Lancelot R. Gilligrass....

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