I learned a few weeks ago from the Top 10 Tuesday topic of Best/Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations that a lot of people don’t like this 2005 movie at all. But I am a proud fan of this movie, and I want you to hear me out!
First off, I do really like the original adaptation, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. I like some of the songs (some others… not so much) and there are a lot of fun elements of it. And of course, it was my introduction to Willy Wonka’s world, since I never have read the book (I think I’ll have to remedy this sometime though). But there are some things I don’t like about it. Mostly, the oopma lommpas. They scare the crud out of me. I mean, seriously, look at them:
And their songs… *Shudder*
And the whole thing with Charlie and the fizzy lifting drinks, where technically he broke the rules like the other kids but didn’t get caught right away and made things right in the end… I just don’t like it. It’s interesting because even Freddie Highmore (who played Charlie in the 2005 adaptation) said, “I think the original film is good, but I think it’s better now because Charlie is kept more pure.” I love the Charlie in the new film so much more. I sympathize with him much more and root for him much more. I know it’s great to have flawed characters, I’m not trying to say it’s not, but Charlie is a good kid who loves his family and works hard to do the right thing, and I think that shows so much more in the 2005 film.
The theme of family is the other big reason why I think this film is great. We get Willy Wonka’s back story of his childhood and with his dad, and Charlie is actually able to help the Wonkas restore their relationship. Tim Burton said of his version of Wonka: “You want a little bit of the flavor of why Wonka is the way he is. Otherwise, what is he? He’s just a weird guy.” I can understand the appeal of the mystery of Willy Wonka, but I like this take too.
I know Johnny’s Depp’s portrayal of Wonka is strange (twisted, you might say), but he’s oh-so-quotable…
And he does have a nice character arc, which I always appreciate in a story.
And I think all the kids were done just as well in this movie as they were in the original, though I was a little sad that I didn’t get to see the new Veruca Salt sing, “I Want it Now.” Fave part of the original movie!
And for my last argument, apparently Ronald Dahl actually disapproved of the original film. And when there was discussion of rebooting the movie before 2005, it stalled out due to producers/directors and the Dahl estate not seeing eye-to-eye on the vision of the film, wanting a movie that better reflected the author’s true intentions for the story. When Burton came around and talked to Dahl’s widow and daughter, he entered Dahl’s writing shack and exclaimed it was the Bucket home, to which Lucy thought, “Thank God, somebody gets it.”
(All quotes taken from the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Wikipedia page)
So give it a chance! Maybe you saw it once and disregarded it, but I like it better now than I did the first time I saw it myself.
Tell me what you do like about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Or why don’t you like it?
Also, on the related note of adaptations, The Book Thief trailer is out! It looks good, but it’s a little sad without the whole Death narrator element. I guess we’ll see…
EDIT*UPDATE: Death will be narrating the movie!: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1460683-death-will-narrate-in-the-movie