Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another look at Tim Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY from the test screening up in Chicago a few days ago. This one goes into more detail than previous one we posted and thus has more spoilers to give your hungry eyes. I like the enthusiasm for the film so far. I'm definitely intrigued. Enjoy the review!
I saw that there was a review up for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and by the looks of the talk-backs I thought ya?ll would like to here some more, maybe another opinion or more info on some things to clear some material up. Since I too was at this screening I decided to write a review as well. Well, first off, how did I get in to see Charlie 2 months early??? Well, one and a half weeks ago I was down in Chicago at the Rivereast 21 to view the sneak of SERENITY (which by the way was gloriously **** material and shall be viewed by me again in another one and a half weeks) and some guy was handing out pieces of paper for sneaks to The Longest Yard for that Monday which I could not attend due to College Exams but also for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for that Saturday which I took off of work to go ahead and see. The paper told you to call and RSVP with names of up to four peeps and bring the paper too.
Well me and the folks went and got in line an hour and a half early and the persons just collected the papers and gave us our tickets. We were about 50th in line and in the next half hour the entire ginormous lobby became filled with more peeps. We were let in about 20-30 minutes prior to the 6:30 showtime and the auditorium held at least 450 people. HUGE. I also saw the guy who was looking for people to be in the focus group but he would not allow me because I work at a movie theatre, they also would not allow any film students. It seemed to me that they wanted only JOE SCHMOES who would most likely like the movie. And after they asked these people what they thought and may have turned away those that did not like it in order to get better ratings is how the guy put it. I also found out that the filmmakers were not there like the guy said, but that he just tape recorded the conversation they had about the film.
Im going to try and not repeat too much of what the first reviewer said so stay with me. The movie opened with the making of the bars, temp graphics, temp music, the whole deal throughout. I think that the first reviewer didn't mention some things because they could seemingly ruin/ or de-virginize the readers eyes from the jokes or possibilities of some jokes in the film A.K.A. SPOILERS. So from here on in, be warned, minor SPOILERS could arise. But since it's a comedy, and a remake(somewhat) at that, don't be too worried. But it is your life, your choice, choose your path wisely young padawan.
*Minor spoilers follow*
So, the film, at the beginning we get Charlie and his family. His Parents are great in this flick. Helen Bonham Carter I believe is the mother, a.k.a. CGI Fight Club sex chick. She did a great job in this flick, and would it maybe a bit weird, but even as this poor, very poor mother, she is still ridiculously hot in this film. But anyways his dad is well done as well. His grandparents are great, all of them contributing one liners that bring about laughter in my heart. His main grandpa is great as well and we get a little backstory on him. 20 years ago flashback and he's working in the WILLY WONKA factory, a joke is that he says that it was when he was much younger, then they cut to the flashback and he looks the same, only he's in a candy-striper outfit. And here they show him go and meet the mystical WONKA. Then they cut to 15 yrs. ago and everyone is laid off because all of Wonkas secrets were stolen by competition. So Wonka is by himself now. Later on they go into the OOMPA LOOMPA backstory in a Vietnam-esque journey as Wonka is searching for new exotic flavors and comes across these dudes. (All of which who yes, are played by the same actor by way of modern technology) these guys love the cocoa bean and Wonka tells them they'll get all they want if they come work with him, so they do.
All of the Wonka bar sales and other aspects are all modernized to the time with shots of neo-Japan and America and some Middle Eastern country I believe. The fake ticket is not as big of a deal in this flick but is mentioned. I really enjoyed the ways that the kids got the tickets in this one. Mike TV is especially cool while playing his Unreal Tournament-type game as he's interviewed and being a genius in knowing how to calculate where the bar would be, he hates chocolate, didn't eat the bar, and only bought one because he knew the ticket would be there. Veruca is not as effective in this one as she was in the old one in my opinion, she just didn't stick out in my mind I guess. Violet is a b-itch though, along with her mother, who actually hits on Wonka, but he plays it like "oh, that's nice" and shoots her down, WONKA = PIMP. Augustus rocked my world with his choco-loving ways and his hilarious foreign accent of chubby delight. We actually are treated to a shot at the end while we're in the glass elevator of these four leaving in their own odd ways. That was new, as well as Mike brings his dad in this one, and Violet brings her mom in this version.
OOMPA LOOMPAS are hilarious in this movie. Their song and dance routines ruled, especially the set-up and the dancing and the fact that Willy Wonka loved them and would clap and cheer while the parents looked on in agony right next to him. HILARIOUS. The Augustus song and dance was my fav, oompas doing synchronized swimming in a choco-river = genius. The guy who played them was great, and played all of them, including Doris from the Corporate branch of the factory. Haha.
Charlie Bucket a.k.a. Freddie Highmore was very enjoyable and made my heart tingle. The overall message of the film with this and with Wonka and his Pops was tear-felt and heart warming. A beautiful message for a family film about the importance of family. The studio guy before the flick told some people by us how those 14 and under kids and folks thought of the movie and mentioned that for a lot of them it was just the deal about trying to get past the Michael Jackson thing. Because he is well represented in this film as a naÃ¯ve, fairy-land living, boyish, glove wearing, white make-up'd man that invites a child to live with him never to see his family again. But it all works out and Family prevails.
Depp is fantittily-astic in this film and spouts one-liners quickly and gestures that create hilarity in my soul. I enjoyed this performance immensely and look forward to seeing it again. Just the way that he deals with them like "I don't give a damn about ya'll, I do my thing, listen to me or get f'd up, don't touch me, and don't try to tell me something in my world isn't right or doesn't make sense" This is especially nice as Mike TV tries to question and correct anything that Depp has in his world or does and Depp tells him to stop mumbling because he can't understand what he is saying, this goes on a couple times in the film. But Depp does the whole schpeel throughout with every character.
On to the kids getting kicked out: Augustus, choco-river is standered same as before. Violet turns violet, standard. Mike gets tiny, standard. All have added jokes though and more hilarity by way of Mr. Depp. So, the best one, the greatest one, one of the funniest things you may see this year in theatres. SQUIRRELS. That's right, squirrels, not geese or whatever they were before with the eggs, but squirrels, trained squirrels that can get the whole nut and can test for bad nuts. Well, imagine my surprise when me, a HUGE squirrel fan (there must be millions at my university campus) see these dozens of squirrels sitting at chairs in a circle around this room testing and opening various nuts. "This is Squirrelicious!!!" I thinks to myelf, and more hilarity ensues as Veruca, who has every other animal on the planet says Daddy, I WANT A SQUIRREL, and Depp says well you Can't Have ONE! She then messes with the squirrels, Depp says don't touch their nuts (I'm totally serious there) and the squirrels gang on her, ala WILLARD, and test her, Veruca = Bad Nut and is thrown out along with pops. The squirrels were amazing and along with the oompas and Depp were the best things in this film.
The screenplay was a nice, fresh update to the classic and generates an enormous amount of laughs, I myself shall soon begin work on one of the stories that a friend of mine and I have come up with and shall co-write into a screenplay(more 25th Hour-ish) this summer. That's right, I am an ambitious film buff with dreams of a future in the industry as well. On a small note, this week especially, Count Dooku a.k.a. Christopher Lee is Willy Wonka's pop. D.D.S. (that means Dentist) there is a great scene (flashback) when Willy comes home from trick or treat and Lee says "lets see the damage" and then throws the candy into the fire. And oh yeah, Willy has massive headgear, even more then the "well the goddamn babysitters an idiot" from in the original Amittyville. Some songs in the flick are lost and not present, (oompa loompa song is not in it, the river "pure imagination" song is not in it) and that's all I can think of
*End minor spoilers*
OVERALL though, Depp is phenomenal and delivers countless laughs, sometimes he's a little too dark and odd though for a PG rating in my opinion. The kids do their jobs, Charlie best of all and Veruca worst of all but her demise is GLORIOUS though. The parents and g-parents are great. Other supports are good and the OOMPAS rocked out totally! Almost everyone there loved the flick, it was wee bit relaxed and could probably cut some time (seconds) off of a bunch of shots and bring the running time down by good chunk from the 1:51 (I was told) cut that we witnessed. Just need to truncate the laughs a bit is all, which is possible and will lead to the creation of a laugh riot. The movie is more of a fun comedy with a great message but I don't think that it is capable of becoming the CLASSIC that the original is. I definitely think this one is funnier though and plays as a great comedy starring Johnny Depp. (oy, he's sooo dreamy!) So I feel the rating might be a bit off as of right now so we'll see what happens, but it's close to being fully family friendly enjoyment. I personally loved it, can't wait to see it again in finished form.
***1/2 out of **** for me for Charlie and the Choco Factory and in theatres July 15, 2005.
Just f.y.i. **** out of **** for Serenity, perfection, and in theatres Sep. 30, 2005.
If you use this, which I pray you will as it took me 90 minutes to complete, with all of "Undercover Brother" playing in the background, call me SQUIRREL MASTER (as I was watching some Half Baked the other day in memory of the long, lost Dave Chappelle and overall, it fits) And I'd like to give a shout-out to PONDSCUM, one-love yo?!
SQUIRREL MASTER *out!*