The snow movie binge continues with a 2005 reboot film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp in the iconic role of the eccentric chocolate factory owner.
This 2005 version was a reboot of the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that starred Gene Wilder.
Someone thought that this reboot was a good idea. Spoiler alert…it wasn’t.
Among many things that this new version was lacking was one important detail.
Watching these scenes of this reboot, it was clear that the magical moments that were throughout the original version felt dark and pedestrian here. The color was muted. The music was completely different. The ambiance was just wrong. The “Pure Imagination” scene in the original is beautiful, dream-like, stunning. The same scene, sans the iconic song, was nothing more than one more poorly lit, nasty, unlikable moment.
Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka with a sense of sarcastic wonder, a hidden dark side breaking through. Johnny Depp replaced that sense of wonder with a feeling of being broken. We see completely unnecessary flashbacks to the character’s childhood, including his dentist father (Christopher Lee). Willy Wonka does not need an origin story. The mystery of why he does what he does should suffice. This is a major flaw of this film. And with all due respect to Johnny Depp, there are so many choices in his portrayal that simply do not help this character.
I did enjoy the performance of young Freddie Highmore as Charlie. Highmore would go on to star in Bates Motel as the iconic Norman Bates and then on to The Good Doctor. Highmore has shown his acting chops in these versions and he has a charming visage throughout the film. You could see that the young man had a bright future here.
I also must say that I enjoyed some of the quips between Willy Wonka and Mike Teevee (Jordan Fry). Seemed as if Mike kept noticing when Wonka was spinning his lies and then called him on it. Of course, we also were meant not to like this kid either.
Perhaps this film would not be as bad as I think had it been an original film instead of remaking an indelible classic of all time (a member of the EYG Hall of Fame), but it did so every scene from the new film is being peppered by the memory of a completely better version. If there was nothing to compare this too, maybe we would not realize how much it was missing.
How much magic.