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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2005 at 4:00 AM

**1/2
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated: PG
Website: http://chocolatefactorymovie.warnerbros.com/
Release Date: 2005-07-15
Cast: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Deep Roy
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: John August
Music Score: nny Elfman
WorkNameSort: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Our Rating: 2.50

I've never seen a movie win me over so utterly and then kick out the chair. Watching the virtuous Charlie Bucket (pint-sized miracle Freddie Highmore) hunger after the fabled Golden Ticket, I was moved to the point of real tears; shortly after we entered the industrialized confectionery of Charlie's dreams, I knew I was witnessing the film sputter and die – slowly. Johnny Depp's off-putting portrayal of Willy Wonka as an even creepier cousin to Michael Jackson robs the movie of all authority, as does the irrelevant backstory the character has received from screenwriter John August. Though it's routinely lambasted, 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory knew to keep the focus on Charlie, who had an ethical test to pass before he could inherit Wonka's legacy. The moral of this film seems to be, "Keep your head down and wait for everybody around you to fuck up" – hardly the kind of life lesson that will inspire anyone to line up for an Oompa-Loompa's autograph 30 years down the line. Once again, Tim Burton "reimagines" a property he Just Doesn't Get. (See Planet of the Apes – but not literally.) His brand of chocolate melts in you hand, not in your heart.

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