Reviews & Previews - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 at 06:00 PM

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

By: S. Tran

Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly
Directed by: Tim Burton
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Rated: Rated PG for action and mild language.

Lots of Empty Calories

What can I say about director Tim Burton? The man's got style and a real knack for making great looking movies. You know when you go to a Tim Burton film that it will be a treat for the eyes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (CATCF for short) is no exception.

Unfortunately the other thing you know when seeing a Tim Burton movie is that it's also probably going to be fairly lame in the story telling department. Too bad this film is no exception to that rule. While the man is really talented it almost seems he would be better off handling the art direction and letting someone else take over as director.

CATCF is a pretty faithful adaptation of the book by Roald Dahl. Basically, Depp plays a secretive chocolate factory owner who runs a contest where five kids from around the world will be invited into his factory where no one has set foot in years. In an amazing twist of fate (or Hollywood's inability to see minorities as viable characters) even though the winning tickets are randomly distributed around the world all they are all found by white kids from North America, England and what appears to be a German kid.

Once the kids arrive inside the factory the wackiness ensues and true to form Burton starts showing off his great eye for scenery. Also true to form, Burton turns this adaptation of the book from a wacky romp into a rather creepy slither. First you get Depp as Willy Wonka who comes across like an drugged up, post-adolescent internet shut-in rather than an eccentric chocolate maker. I'm not sure what kids would make of Depp's character but I found him to be a little disturbing rather than charming.

Then you have the Oompa Loompas played by actor Deep Roy. Oompa Loompas are supposed to be cute, But when they are all played by some middle aged man they come across as some weird cult, especially during the musical sequences. A quick note about the musical sequences, they were terrible.

My biggest complaint about this movie is that it seems Burton and Depp forgot who their audience was. I understand that directors and actors have their own vision, but when making a kids' film they shouldn't let their vision get in the way of making it appeal to children. Burton didn't make this film for kids, he made it for himself which is a shame. There are not nearly enough laughs in this film. All the jokes come across as dark humour which most kids aren't going to be able to appreciate. A kids' movie should be fun not just dark and strange.

Compared to something like Shrek, which looked great and had lots of funny moments for everyone to enjoy this just seemed like another Tim Burton exercise. Too bad we've already seen this from him countless times before. Like Willy Wonka it seems Burton is also having a problem developing new flavours his customers can enjoy.


2 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to