Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

First, I'll admit I was not that fond of the Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory version as a child, especially after I read the book. It was probably my first real experience with the divergence of literature and cinema. Now I can absorb the two media on their own, without negative comparison, but then, I was stunned. The movie was so silly and frivolous, and the book seemed so much more serious and fantastic.

So I was eager to see Tim Burton's management of the story, and I was really pleased. Johnny Depp, as we all know, can disappear into any role and evoke any emotion, and this was no exception. His humor and mannerisms were perfect, and his slides back into his own childhood poignant (helped along by the fabulous Christopher Lee).

I did think some of the imagery went on too long (like the boat ride) and that sacrificed character development. Even though the "bad" kids were well-defined and as insufferable as ever, I felt like we got rid of them too quickly. And the parents weren't concerned enough. If my kid was being carried by squirrels toward a garbage chute, I'd leap the damned rail and beat them off.

But overall, it was an engrossing film that I was able to enjoy with my newly minted 10-year-old daughter, on a weeknight, just the two of us, for the first time. It's the start of a great new trend, I think. :)

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