Charlie and the Fudge-Packing Factory
As the bright and educated woman I am, I did not have any interest in the Michael Jackson trial, though I do believe Michael an interesting character. However, after sitting through this piece of sugarcoated shit, I felt like a member of the Jackson Jury. Gene Wilder was creepy with bouts of warmth as Willy Wonka in the original film, his crazy hair and wilder eyes worked pure madman magic and will never be topped. Unfortunately for open-minded movie-goers like myself, Tim Burton wasted two hours of my life trying to top it.
What was I thinking? I'd seen Tim's Planet of The Apes and had no faith in Tim Burton's remaking abilities. However, someone dear to me, whose opinion I value (let's just call him "My Best Friend Gabe") told me I would love this film. I wanted to love it. I sat braced, hoping to laugh or love for 106 minutes. Instead I didn't even crave chocolate.
As much as Kevin Smith needs to discover the use of flashbacks to show instead of telling us subplots, Tim Burton needs to drop this technique. His overuse of flashbacks in Charlie is not just dull, but pointless. Boo hoo, little Willy Wonka's dad was a dentist who put his boring, candy-craving child in headgear and forbid him from eating sweets. It's just too obvious. When did Tim Burton, the man responsible for Ed Wood, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Pee Wee's Big Adventure start thinking inside the box? I'm guessing when the box contained golden tickets with dollar signs on them.
There are subtle differences but none which justify a remake of what I believe, an already top-notch film. Roald Dahl was a brilliant writer who composed James and the Giant Peach - The book I cried and begged Mom to tell the library we lost. Dahl was not just for children, but twisted and dark enough for adults to enjoy as well - Much like the original version of this film. According to "My Best Friend Gabe" who turned me into a raging Roald Dahl fan in my teens, this film ran closer to the actual book. But there are often reasons for change in adaptation from book to film. Big whoop, Charlie has a skinny, bad-teethy dad in the remake - Just like the book. Charlie wants to sell his golden ticket for money to help his family - Just like the book. I liked the idea of the the Oompa Loompa songs featuring Dahl's original lyrics in this version, but after twenty years of "Oompa loompa, doopity do," popping into my head with each midget sighting, I had no tolerance for Danny Elfman's musical endeavors, especially while missing Willy's song "Pure Imagination" from the original as children eat trees and giant gummy bears (no giant gummy bears in the remake!) And don't even get me started on the sputtering can-of-empty-whipped-cream void I suffered without "I've Got a Golden Ticket."
Veruca Salt looks almost identical to the original, however, there is a great scene in which Veruca tries to squirrel-nap a new pet (as she does in the book) replacing golden geese, but granting me one of the few laughs provided by this everlasting mobstopper of a film. The swarm of squirrels deems Veruca a "bad nut" and discounts her as such. Augustus is boring and fat. Violet and her sex-starved mom are fun in matching sweatsuits and drive for success in form of trophies, but Violet's blueberry transition is overdone. Mike TV is a hardened child genius who cracked the golden ticket code like it was a video game. When we meet Mike he's playing a violent shooting game yet with a joystick controller instead of gun. This film cops out constantly with such lack-ofs and even ends with all the children exiting the factory mildly scathed, covered in garbage, or blue and overly computerized.
"Best Friend Gabe" informs me, "Roald Dahl hated the first one, y'know."
But I don't care. Because Dahl is DEAD. I am very much alive and preferring the first one, craving missing pieces from Snogsworth to Double-Bubble Burp-A-Cola. "Best Friend Gabe" finally comes to the conclusion that it's the simple difference of he hated the original and I love it. Remakes are always a trickle-down of whatever came before. Usually for the worst.
Alas, Depp as a creepy Wonka hates children yet never dangles one over railing. Still the faggy, Michael Jackson overtones cannot go unmentioned by every unfortunate reviewer to sit through even a preview of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Halfway through I wondered if Tim Burton's interpretation of this amazing book might have jarred me without the Gene Wilder version existing. And indeed, it would! But that's simply because Tim, a creative genius who opted for turning a quick buck by reusing the original film's structure like a candy mold, didn't give us anything new to feast on - Just some computer works, squirrels and a dad for Charlie. I would have rather watched old footage from the Jackson trial.
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