Monday, November 14, 2005

The Candy Man

Saw the remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was more charming than I thought it would be, and MPC1 dug it enough for repeat viewings. I still like the original better because I think the songs are superior and Gene Wilder manages to radiate charm, even when he's being gruff. Johnny Depp continues to be a revelation as an actor, because he's charming, too, but he invests Wonka with the kind of charm you find in a savant; they're just so who they are that you enjoy that mere, but overwhelming fact. In other words, Wilder's Wonka was an adult in control, and Depp's was an everlasting child whose genius provides a means of functioning in the world, even though he's clueless about that world.

For the record, MPC1 opined that she likes both versions equally.

The primary problem critics had with Depp's performance was that he appeared to be using some Michael Jackson in the mix. I believe it was in there, but it's not the primary engine to the performance, imho. There are many creepy parts of the performance (though it's only just creepy enough and does not overwhelm), and the Gloved One's element is just one of them. I believe Depp did it intentionally to invoke that specific brand of man-child creepiness. Though there is not one hint, not one iota, of pedophilia, so parents shouldn't be concerned.

Some of the set pieces are excellent. The squirrels in particular were one of the more awesome sequences ever filmed (given that they had to be computer generated). The oopma-loompas were better in the first flick, but Deep Roy - the Eastern Indian dwarf used to play all of the oopma-loompas - invests his tribe with a hinky sort of charm.

Really, though, the star is Depp. I would recommend this even to folks who don't have children, as Tim Burton's films are all interesting in some regard. And, again, Depp is something to see, a must for fans of his. Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also really enjoyed CCF. Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it, especially the oompa-loompas - but not Depp's performance.

Don't get me wrong, Depp is one of my favorite actors. But I just couldn't get past his channelling of Michael Jackson here. The pale skin and bob hair, the social incompetence with adults, the fascination with children, the wealth, the isolation, and the attempt to construct his own fantasyland (was the factory called Neverland, by any chance?) - well, it was all just too much for me. I kept thinking, "why would any parents trust this guy with their kids?" It seriously undercut the rest of the movie for me. Bizarre.