While watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I could not stop thinking about how similar this Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) is to Michael Jackson; the hair, lipstick, feminism, complexion, eccentricity and a strangely familiar giggle.
It’s slightly unbelievable at first, but when you are introduced to the Wonka factory, which looked a lot like Jackson’s living room, it’s understandable.
This film is like an acid trip mixed with Law & Order: SVU...and they are showing it to kids.
Apart from the creepy similarity between the two characters, Johnny Depp did an excellent job. He brought the perfect amount of wackiness (probably not much acting done) that can only be seen in a Tim Burton picture.
Interesting enough, during production Burton almost cast Jim Carrey as Willy Wonka. Although he might have done a decent job, Depp brought much more depth and mystery. Carrey would most likely have brought a funny and goofy character to the screen.
For those who have seen this film, Johnny Depp was neither funny, nor goofy. Depp’s “Jacko” resembling character has some deeper issues than Gene Wilder’s WIlly Wonka. There is much more back story presented as well; how Wonka became the recluse that he is, where the Oompa-Loompa’s came from and the origin of his sugar obsessions.
Although the original film was part of my childhood film collection, I found it difficult not to be mesmerized by Burton’s use of special effects. Wonka’s factory is like none other. The sheer enormity and coolness of it has rarely been seen in other films. The never-ending elevators, thousands of rooms and technology that hasn’t even been thought of yet…it was amazing.
At first I thought the special effects would dilute the essence of the film, but they made it even more watchable.
Unlike the original film that was seen from the perspective of Willy Wonka, Burton decided to show the film from the aspect of Charlie, a young boy who wins the golden ticket in a lucky bar of Willy Wonka chocolate.
Charlie, played by Freddie Highmore, is a loving, yet impoverished, boy who lives directly across from the factory. He is quite different from the other golden ticket winners: an overweight glutton, a competitive twerp, an arrogant video-game addict and spoiled girl.
The five children are all invited to the factory for a grand tour, a lifetime supply of chocolate and a chance to win a “grand prize.” Similar to the 1971 version, the world of Willy Wonka quickly picks off each of the children in a series of unfortunate events.
The glutton is sucked into a chocolate chute, the snobby girl falls into an incinerator, the video-game addict is literally sucked into a virtual world and the competitive twerp turns into a blueberry. Each of the children’s misfortune is followed by a visually stunning Oompa-Loompa song.
At the conclusion of the tour, Charlie is the only person left that hasn’t fallen victim to a misfortune, therefore he is awarded the grand prize (which I will not divulge).
What was most interesting about this rendition is the character of Willy Wonka. Even though I say he is Michael Jackson look-alike, he was still a perfect fit. He shows no remorse for the misfortunes of his guests, nor does he seem to get any enjoyment from his life. A good point to learn from this film although it is a cliche is “life is not all about work, without family your success is useless and without substance.”
Wonka’s reclusive lifestyle, mixed with his dark childhood memories turned him into a genuinely creepy guy. The fact that he has no remorse for the bratty children, shows that he may also have an agenda. Perhaps he planned to punish all the bratty children because as a child he was punished by them.