Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If there was ever a polarizing event in moviedom to behold, I have a feeling that we're looking to Friday for such an event to strike. This is one of those bizarre triangulations of fate in which we got a "remake" of a "classic" movie, which was originally adapted from a "classic" book.
The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder has evolved into one of those cult classics, and has proved surprisingly enduring and revered considering that it flopped at the box office when it first came out in 1971. Of course, the acclaim for the 1971 movie is far from universal, and the opinions on the film are pretty polarized. The detractors are primarily fans of the original 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who cite the low budget sets and effects used in the movie, and the many editorial changes to the storyline, which made the movie sappier and more sentimental than the more tongue-in-cheek edginess of the book. Author Roald Dahl reportedly hated the movie and withdrew the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator from any movie rights deals.
My own opinion is somewhat mixed. I liked the movie when I first saw it as a kid, but then I read the book, and liked the book so much more that I got to nitpicking the movie to the point that I no longer liked it. I saw the movie again last week, and I was in a more forgiving mood. I now attribute a lot of the shortcomings to the low budget of the original movie, and the technology of the era, which made a lot of the adventures described in the book difficult to put down on film. But, I still don't like a lot of the sappiness that deviated from the book, and as good as Gene Wilder was, the screenplay's rewriting of the Willy Wonka character still does not work for me. It's a decent movie, and I can see why it has developed such a huge fan following, but unfortunately it's just not as good as it could or should have been.
With all that background, now we've got the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp reinterpretation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to it because I thought that the 1971 movie did not capture the whimsy and sarcasm of the book, and the set design and effects in the original movie did not make me feel like the Wonka factory was the awe inspiring and magical place that it was supposed to be. One good sign is that Tim Burton's screenwriter had only read the book, and did not watch the movie before writing the screenplay. However, on the other hand, I'm also concerned that they'll do their own reinterpretations (i.e. Planet of the Apes) to the point that the new movie has far greater shortcomings than the first one did.
Given how beloved the 1971 movie has become, some of the fanboy boards I've looked at have been assailing the Tim Burton movie before it even comes out. Given how badly the remake of Planet of the Apes went, a lot of the posts were anticipating an equally bad botch job with the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But, just as fervently, I've seen a lot of other posts on how much room for improvement the 1971 movie had.
Any thoughts on the book, the original movie, or the prospects for decent remake?
From the trailers I've seen, including that insipid "Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka" song, this movie looks like an acid trip gone wrong. I've read that more than an few people are drawing parallel's between Johnny Depp's Wonka and Michael Jackson; pale skin, gaunt appearance, jet black hair, obscure behavior. I think the key difference is that while Jackson uh, "loves"(?) kids, Wonka hates them.
As much as I like Depp as an actor, this is one I'll be skipping. It just looks freaky to me.
Don't know if Depp can save this one or not...Tim Burton is really starting to tick me off these past few years. Oh well.
The story is so good that the worst I can see coming out of this is 'artistic interpretation' on the part of Burton pissing off a few long-time fans. But the positives could be a whole new generation being introduced to a great book?
I'm more looking forward to Corpse Bride later this year.
Call me a Gene Wilder "fanboy." Grew up watching that movie, loved it as a kid. I still think it's perfect as a movie, independent of the book. The thought of remaking such a classic, and based on previews I've seen, just annoys me. What's the point?
Especially after Planet of the Apes.
Now I'm curious about the book, I'll have to go read it. I'm pretty loyal to the 1971 version, so I don't think the book would make me open to seeing johnny depp as willy wonka.
Boy, you're speaking the truth about that song. I've only seen that trailer three times, and that song already got on my nerves by the second viewing!
Originally Posted by topspeed
The strange part about both of the movie renditions is that they've gone to the psychedelic look, whereas I don't remember those elements in the book.
I read that Johnny Depp (who based his portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean on Keith Richards) used Marilyn Manson as the model for his portrayal of Willy Wonka. That has definitely got me wondering how that will play out.
The original movie was also pretty freaky in its own way, but it did not have the wicked sarcasm of the book. So, I'll probably check out the Tim Burton version in the hope that it surprises me in a good way.
I'm kinda in the camp that the Gene Wilder movie was a missed opportunity. It's a decent movie, but it deviated from the book in some important aspects, and IMO that made the movie less than it should have been.
Originally Posted by kexodusc
I really have mixed feelings about the new movie, because I don't have a fanboy devotion to the original film. I know a lot of people look at the Burton effort as blasphemous to the 1971 movie, but I already thought that the 1971 movie bastardized some important elements in Roald Dahl's book. If the new movie better captures the wit and mischief of the book, then it very well could turn into a much better movie than the original. I'm encouraged that the screenwriter wrote the screenplay independent of the 1971 film, but I'm bracing myself for what Johnny Depp and Tim Burton come up with.
Like I said, I grew to like the movie less after I read the book and realized how much of a better story it originally was. I guess I don't regard the remake as blasphemous as others have, because I view the original as a flawed movie that missed a lot of opportunities to become a classic.
Originally Posted by ericl
What is interesting is that based on what I've read about Johnny Depp's portrayal, his version of Willy Wonka isn't really true to the book either. It's definitely different from Gene Wilder's portrayal, but both portrayals don't follow the original vision of the character. In the book, Wonka is a short, middle aged guy with a gray beard. His personality is somewhat cantankerous, mischievious, and unpredictable. But, he's definitely not a warm and fuzzy character, and that was the element that Gene Wilder put into the character. I guess it works for some, but I would be curious to see how well the original movie worked without the sappier and more sentimental elements.
The book is definitely worth reading because to me that was the definitive version.
Well i watched Ebert and roeper -- they liked the film but didn't like Depp very much - so it should be interesting. though to be frank i didn;t care for the original very much and i feel Burton is overrated. I can;t recall off hand a film that I really loved from him. I like his visuals which are always interesting but I guess I'm a meat and potaotes( story and plot) kinda guy over Visuals unless they aid or enhance the meat and potatos.
The early reviews seem to indicate that Depp is the weak link in this movie, and that really surprises me. In interviews, he indicated that he wanted to portray Willy Wonka completely differently than Gene Wilder did in the original movie, so he very well might have gotten rid of what worked alongside what did not work, which would be too bad. Or he simply failed to convey Marilyn Manson and ended up with Michael Jackson instead (which would be a much bigger departure from the Willy Wonka character of the book than Gene Wilder's version).
Originally Posted by RGA
Tim Burton to me is one of the most unique filmmakers out there right now. He has an innately visual way of telling stories, and I think that's not an easy thing to pull off. Story and plot are elements that can be conveyed through a variety of ways in movies, and if anything, the shortcoming of a lot of movies nowadays is that they connect the narrative together strictly through dialog, rather than through more dynamic means. I think that it's all too easy to criticize Burton for using the visuals to move the narrative, but I think he does it very well in most cases, and his perspective is unlike any other director's.
Among the films of his that I've seen, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Batman Returns, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Planet of the Apes, and Nightmare Before Christmas , the only one that I did not like was Planet of the Apes. All of the others I enjoyed at some level, especially Batman, Sleepy Hollow, and Mars Attacks!.
By the way, has anyone seen the new Directv NFL Sunday Ticket commercial? Freakin' brilliant!
It's a remake of the "I Got A Golden Ticket" song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, except that instead of poor boy who normally eats cabbage soup dancing around a rickety cabin, it's now an overweight middle aged guy with a big screen TV and a La-Z-Boy recliner. Instead of a golden ticket, we've now got a golden remote with the NFL Sunday Ticket logo on it. And the whole thing turns into a big musical number around the guy's neighborhood, with a whole bunch of out-of-shape guys marching down the street with football jerseys on. Hilarious.
Never thought that I could see all these games on my TV
Cuz I got the Sunday Ticket!
Oh, and his neighbors happened to be Barry Sanders, Dick Butkus, and Peyton Manning.
Of all his films the best for me is Ed Wood but it is also the least visually exotic of the films I've seen from him:
Ed Wood **** / *****
Edward Scissorhands **1/2 / *****
Batman **1/2 / *****
Batman Returns ** / *****
Beetlejuics ** / *****
Mars Attacks ** / *****
I think these are the only ones I've seen from him.
Yeah, this was pretty funny .
Originally Posted by Woochifer
BTW, I heard Depp say he modeled his character after Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Roberts. Where the hell did you get Marilyn Manson?!?
I find myself going against the tide again. I loved the book, liked the movie so much I bought it for my collection. I think I am going to wait until this comes out on DVD, my theater going plate is pretty full right now.
Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
200" SI Black Diamond II screen
Grass Valley Cell based Pro HD A/V switcher
Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 EQ module
Audyssey XT32 Sub module
9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
5 custom CAL amps for subs
3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
14 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surrounds
3 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
THX Style Baffle wall
How have you not seen PeeWee's Big Adventure??!?!?
Originally Posted by RGA
Talk about classic movies...
Lot of articles about Johnny Depp using Marilyn Manson as a character model have circulated around the past few months. I also read somewhere that Johnny Depp also watched a lot of locally produced/public access kids' shows to prepare for the role. Believe it or not, Marilyn Manson was also supposedly considered to actually play Willy Wonka!
Originally Posted by topspeed
I think "Big Fish" is Burton's best example of his visuals actually portraying the narrative. Of course the narrative demanded imaginative visuals and Burton was up to the task, IMO.
Originally Posted by Woochifer
In most of his other films (I haven't seen his "Planet of the Apes"), I think his visuals add atmosphere and mood rather than story-telling.
Burton's boldest move was to do Ed Wood in black and white. I remember that he received a lot of criticism and resistance for this before its release, but Burton was dead on. If you count color vs. black and white as a "visual" decision then this was probably his masterpiece.
I remember watching Beetlejuice for the first time and being reminded of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from the silent era. The angularity of many of the set pieces in both are strikingly similar and add to the bizarre moods of both.
I think Burton's visuals nailed the mood and atmosphere necessary for Sleepy Hollow as well. Yet, there seemed to be a missing element that was probably story-related, or either my expectations were too high. I still enjoyed it though and it's part of my collection. Interestingly, on Inside the Actor's Studio, Depp said he played Crane as a 13 year-old girl!
I went to see this last night, other than my 4 friends, there were probably about 10 other people in the theater. I thought it was great. The songs were funny, and I really liked Burton's chocolate factory. I really like Johnny Depp, and I like his Willy Wonka overall, but I thought Willy Wonka was too whinny at times, not as powerful as I thought he should have been. Don't know if that was Depp or the writing, just an observation. I'd put this one amung Burton's good movies.
Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Nightmare before Christmas
Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes (I'm a huge fan of the original so maybe I'm underrating this one), and were not so good.
Big Fish, and Batman Returns I have at times put into either one of these catagories.
I would actually say that Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (I think his full length directing debut) is the best Burton movie, although I do like Pee-Wee anyway so maybe I'm partial. It really is incredibly creative, and wild, which is why I had high hopes for Burton doing a movie like charlie and the chocolate factory. I think that what Burton does best is create worlds, the wilder the better. The world he created in PWBA was close to real, yet at the same time, every individual thing about it was entirely surreal. (did that make any sense?) I think all of the movies that I put into his "good movie" catagory were movies where he really created an awsome alternate world. The ones where he failed to do so, where the world was not as awe inspiring, went into the not so great catagory.
The Corpse Bride preview did look good. The only question for me is if he can differentiate it from Nightmare Before Christmas or if it will seem too similar and less creative. See the trailor for yourself, that about all I have to say about that.
Last edited by agtpunx40; 07-21-2005 at 04:29 PM.
Reason: you're right shokhead, charlie and the chocolate factory
BooBs are elitist jerks
Its about Charlie and he's not Depp. Willy Wonka was Wilder. Different movies.
caught this on the imax over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. i haven't seen the original in over 15years so my memory of it is quite vague, and i havent read the book so am not sure how either of them diverges from the book, BUT this had a much different tone than what i remember from the wilder version, and depp's willy wonka is completely different from wilder's.
apparently the entire backstory and flashbacks of how willy wonka came to be such a recluse, etc. is given in the movies but is non-existent in the book. i dont remember any songs from the original except the oompa loompa song which i loved. i thought depp was the highlight of the movie and not a weak point at all, but have also talked to friends that hated him, so might be one of those love 'em or hate 'em performances. i thought it was genius, but then again, am also a big depp fan so my pov might be skewed to favor him anyway.
tech point, i've seen polar express, spidey2 and batman begins on the imax and they were all with the top and bottom of the screen dark, since imax is closer to 4:3 (if not even more square than 4:3). but willy wonka filled the entire screen. now it was shot 1:85:1, but somehow filled the entire screen. Sir TTT or wooch, either of you, or anyone else, know what process they used? did they chop anything off to fit in the screen, or was it matted for 4:3 in filming as well as a 1:85:1 frame because they knew it was going to be also framed for 4:3 so they left room for boom mics to be free of the frame, etc?
Good to hear that you liked it. I'm probably going to check it out either this weekend or the weekend after.
Originally Posted by Kam
Actually, there was backstory about Willy Wonka in the book. It primarily had some amusing stories (the story of the melting royal chocolate house is apparently in the movie, and was one of the better parts of the book) and how his factory eventually became overrun with spies. It's ironic because the original movie was retitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory yet the story focused on Charlie, whereas the new version retains the original name of the book while focusing more on Willy Wonka.
Originally Posted by Kam
The songs in the original movie included "Pure Imagination" and "Candy Man", the latter of which was turned into a hit single by Sammy Davis the year after the movie came out. The lyrics for the Oompa Loompa songs in the book were actually even more caustic than the versions that made it into the original movie.
PLEASE TELL ME THEY DIDN'T DO THIS! Ugh!
Originally Posted by Kam
The IMAX 15 perf/70mm print format is roughly a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the IMAX DMR releases of Apollo 13 and Attack of the Clones used the full frame while truncating the sides. I saw AOTR in IMAX, and it was bizarre. The image looked great and the presentation quality was top notch, but nothing could change the fact that I was watching a giant pan & scan presentation. Sitting that close to a giant screen AND having the movie panned and scanned made everything look way too tight and up close.
Fortunately, IMAX had the good sense to release the Matrix sequels and all of the IMAX DMR features thereafter in the original aspect ratio and just letterbox the image. Basically, it's like watching a movie in 70mm, except that the image has been enhanced and the film goes through a more powerful projector. After AOTR, I was disappointed and didn't go back to the IMAX DMR presentations until I heard that they started presenting the features in the correct aspect ratio.
Hopefully, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was filmed in Super 35 and matted to a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, so that the audience is actually seeing more of the film image by going with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The original Willy Wonka was filmed this way, and if you look at the DVD, it's not a pan & scan but an actual full frame image -- the widescreen version was simply matted to create a 1.85:1 theatrical frame. I have the full frame version of that DVD, and if you block off portions of the screen to create a widescreen frame, it still looks fine (not like other pan & scan versions where everything's way too close). The IMAX preview for Charlie was a full frame image, but I could not immediately tell if anything was amiss because I just assumed that the release print would be letterboxed.
When you were watching the movie in IMAX, did it seem like action was occurring off-screen? That was definitely the impression that I had when viewing AOTR in IMAX. Worse yet, I had just bought the DVD and could double check at home exactly how much of the image area got truncated. One positive though of the IMAX version -- at that time IMAX movies could go no more than two hours due to physical limits, and for AOTR that required additional editing and all of the scenes that came out featured Anakin and Padme. Made for a better movie actually!
it was shot regular 35 with spherical lenses for an 1.85:1 aspect ratio. not sure if they just chopped off the sides and blew it up or fully matted it at 4:3 in original filming and then cropped down for the regular theaters. but i didnt get the impression anything else was really going on off the sides, its always tough to tell when you're so enveloped in the picture as it is at that size. on a smaller tv i'd be able to tell, but at least there, i didnt feel like i was missing anything, was cool to have the whole thing filled up actually.
Originally Posted by Woochifer
i heard the aotc on imax was a better edit, chopping out those ridiculous scenes. wish i saw that one, like the phantom edit, where the guy cut jarjar out of the movie and how much better it made that one too!
I finally got around to seeing the movie over the weekend, and I must say that it turned out a lot better than I thought it would. Overall, it moved along at a brisk pace, and didn't get bogged down with some of the bizarre excesses that Tim Burton has inserted into some of his other movies. By his standards, this was actually a restrained and (for the most part) faithful interpretation of the book. What made the movie a winner in my view was that it successfully captured the sarcastic edge that made the book such an entertaining read as I read it as a kid, and reread it (and "got" more of the satirical references) as I grew up.
As other critics have indicated, Johnny Depp was surprisingly a weak link in this movie. His portrayal of Willy Wonka was bizarre, but the character is supposed to be bizarre. For whatever reason, Deep didn't really project the kind of presence and weight that I thought the Willy Wonka character should have. Compared to the middle aged, bearded, grey haired, cantankerous, mischievious, and unpredictable genius candymaker depicted in the book, I don't think that Depp, nor Gene Wilder for that matter, fully captured the potential of the Wonka character. Even so, I thought that Depp's character interpretation was at least interesting enough not weigh down the rest of the movie.
Contrastly, I thought that the portrayal of the kids was very well done. Violet was the only child that the movie took creative license with (making her more of a generally obnoxious and petty competition junkie than just an obnoxious and petty gum chewing "champion."). The Charlie character was well done and I liked the new portrayal better than the Charlie character from the original movie. Compared to the original movie, I actually liked all of the child characters better in the newer movie, except for maybe Veruca Salt, who was such a wonderfully excessive spoiled brat in the 1971 movie.
As should be expected, the visual look of the movie was over the top with the color and shapes. Definitely looked more like the wonderous fantasyland described in the book than the lower budget original movie did. The glass elevator also seemed more like the amazing contraption depicted in the book than the cheesier looking "Wonkavator" from the original movie.
But, I'm not sure about the Oompa Loompas in the new movie. They were computer generated from one actor, and the scenes with Oompa Loompas assembled en masse looked very fake. On the plus side though, the musical numbers featuring the Oompa Loompas were great (no coincidence that the music sounded an awful lot like composer Danny Elfman's former band, Oingo Boingo), and followed Roald Dahl's original lyrics a lot closer than the 1971 movie did. I'm also thankful that these were the only musical numbers in the new movie (even though a lot of the songs from the 1971 movie have become part of pop culture, they felt out of place to me, and some of them got excessively sappy or had horribly pedestrian backup music).
Overall, the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fixes a lot of the problems that I saw with the original movie and stays much closer to the original vision of the book. Aside from some tacked on backstory about Willy Wonka's father, and the questionable decision to put Charlie into yet another moral dilemma at the end of the movie, I thought most of the movie worked very well. (in the book, Charlie won the chocolate factory because he didn't screw up; for whatever reason, these screenwriters have to put Charlie into a position of making a fateful decision to insert more "drama" into the situation)
Overall, that's a positive report and good to hear. Both of my sons have seen it multiple times. One is a student of the first movie. His only complaint about the new movie was the Oompa Loompas.
I've been a little surprised by all the comments saying that Depp didn't quite pull this off. Even so, I hope to catch it while it's still in theaters.
I thought the movie was done very well and I thought Depp was good. I was hoping he didn't try and copy Wilder from the previous movie as that would have been a tough act to follow. He did a completely different character of Willy IMO, which was a good thing and it added a new dimension to how I see him now (Willy that is).
The only thing, like others, when I left the theatre was I didn't like the Oompa Loompas. That part could have been a little better. The one character redone over and over was kinda bland.
Overall, a good film and far closer to the book then the previous.
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)