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Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Candy Doesn't Have to Have a Point. That's Why It's Candy."

Well, folks, I did it. As much as I protested about Johnny Depp being the new Willy Wonka, I broke down and saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" earlier this week, complete with my very own Wonka bar...sans Golden Ticket...to munch on during the film. (If that isn't a great promotion...but that's another post...) The movie was amazing! If you tell someone that you saw it, the first thing that they ask is if you liked it better than the original. To me, they were two totally different movies. Thanks to director Tim Burton, we are taken into a darker world of "pure imagination" if you will, to join in the journey of five of the luckiest (and the most annoying) kids on Earth. This version of the film follows Roald Dahl's book more closely, right down to the surprise ending. Of course, I'm sure that Mr. Dahl could never have expected his book to turn out quite like this.

I went into the theater, as I said earlier, having issues with Johnny Depp (who doesn't even like chocolate...) playing the role of Wonka. Rumors flew around last year that he was given the role over others whom I'm thought would have fit the role a bit better such as Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams. Now that I've seen the film, I can't see anyone more perfect for the part. The above mentioned would definitely have seemed out of place in this backdrop. This has everything to do with Tim Burton's signature quirkiness. If anyone else had directed it, the results may not have turned out so well for Depp. I had heard lots of things about Depp's interpretation of Wonka from it had a suttle Michael Jackson-ish feel to it all the way to Depp made the audience feel like they were watching a creepy pedophile. I liked Depp right immediately. He almost reminded me of Ed Wood with a wig. I think that the flashbacks to his childhood, which weren't in the book, but based on Burton's childhood experiences, really were effective in helping us gain the right amount of sympathy for Depp. This allowed us to cheer for him and hate all of the kids a little more. Again, Depp was brilliant and no one would have fit this role better. His strange, pastey-faced version of Wonka fit right in to Burton's vision.

I didn't really view this as a kid's movie after I saw it. I think that it would be scary for some, just like the original. I remember watching the original with a foreign exchange student from Korea in college and he made me turn the channel when he saw the "boat ride" scene. This version had violence, rabid squirrels, and adult jokes about cannibalism, which was my favorite quote in the movie, btw. If you've seen anything that Tim Burton has directed, then you know what kind of darkness to expect. You also know how delightful the fantasy can be.

Oh, and wasn't Deep Roy the cutest Oompa-Loompa ever? So talented!

Has anyone else had the "Willy Wonka Welcome" song in their head constantly since they walked out of the theater??

Here's some Willy Wonka Trivia that I ran across...

  • 244,993 gallons of fake chocolate was used on the set of the movie, 38,000 was used for the waterfall alone.
  • Marilyn Manson wanted to play the part of Willy Wonka so badly that he offered to do it for free.
  • The singing voice of the Oompa Loompas belonged to Danny Elfman, the composer for the film, who overdubbed his voice dozens of times.
  • Deep Roy played every Oompa Loompa himself, repeating the same movements hundreds of times. While these were put together digitally, each Oompa Loompa represents a separate performance by Roy. In recognition of this, his salary was raised to $1,000,000.
  • The toothpaste factory where Charlie's dad worked was called "Smilex." This is also the name of the gas used by the Joker in the first "Batman" movie.
  • A camera lens wasn't correctly attached when trying to get a shot of a vat of chocolate. As a result, the lens fell off, destroying it.
  • Martin Scorsese was originally pegged to direct the film.
  • The screenwriter for the film had never seen the original movie.
  • 110,000 plastic chocolate bars were made and wrapped in Nestle wrappers.
  • Nestle provided almost 2,000 bars of chocolate for the film.
  • The lollipops on the trees, the giant pink sugar canes, and the giant humbugs were real candy.
  • It took 20 weeks to build Wonka's boat, which really did float on the chocolate river.


Anonymous electric bozo said...

"Let's Boogie!"

I saw it on the opening Friday - could not wait, because 1) Tim Burton, 2) Depp (who is amazing in films by both Burton and Terry Gilliam), and 3) Danny Elfman's music.
As much as I have a soft spot for Gene Wilder and the song "Pure Imagination" (please keep the rest of the Anthony Newley songs buried in a box somewhere), I came in expecting a dark, twisted and PROPER telling of Dahl's story. Perfect!

"Stop mumbling!"

10:39 PM  

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