Monday, August 01, 2005
Willy Wonka Oh I Mean Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Okay, fine, it was good enough. It was thoroughly Tim Burtony and bright and dark and chewy delicious. The kid who played Charlie was especially good, as was his grandpa, and I really liked Deep Roy as all of the Oompa Loompas. Plus I just love his name and want to name my first kid Deep. (I realize it’s probably short for Deepak, but all the same, Deep is Deep and it’s a very cool name.) Honestly though, as much as computer animation and tricks can add to a film, sometimes I miss the days when special effects were done without computers. Even when they were a little clunky, there was something more real about them to me. Our friend Ryan, who came with us, put it in an interesting way; he said sometimes the computer technology they use to create special effects today makes things look too “bendy.” I couldn’t put it any better. Anyway, it has everything a kid’s movie ought to have, and I cannot take away from the entertainment value. But here’s what it doesn’t have: Gene Wilder. Johnny Depp, who is almost always great, is just a little too far to the weird side here for my liking. The kid and his grandpa play it so straight that the contrast is too much. Gene Wilder, on the other hand, was odd… but at the same time oddly real – in spite of the bizarro wardrobe and unrealness of the entire concept, Gene Wilder as Wonka was just – you know, it was about what was behind his eyes. But I hear that Roald Dahl was never happy with the original version for whatever reason, and his widow was apparently very involved in this version, keeping it much closer to the book, so take that for what it’s worth. What do I know, I’m just a kid who grew up in the seventies who saw the original in the theater when it was first released, and a few dozen times since, and I’m still attached to it, for better or worse. Remake The Bad News Bears? Why? Man, all I have to say is, if somebody tries to remake Paper Moon, I’m gonna raise hell. This has to stop somewhere.