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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Chaz and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Some Thoughts:

1) The 70’s version (starring Gene Wilder) seemed a lot darker, for some reason. Maybe it was because I was so young when I saw it, but that movie gave me nightmares. There’s also a lot more of this “Dark Whimsy” type of stuff in movies these days (Cat in the Hat, everything else Tim Burton’s ever done, even Hitchhiker’s Guide, for pete’s sake), so kids are probably desensitized to it.*

2) Deep Roy as the Oompah-loompahs, including their back-story? Greatness. Preserves the oddness and menace of the original midgets, and adds the fact that they seem to have composed the songs ahead of time to correspond with the demise of each dreadful child. And I’d never expect myself to write this, but they were also funnier than a bunch of midgets. Wait, what’s the proper term these days – little people? Smallish humans? Dwarves? Hugables™?

3) Johnny Depp developed the character way more than Wilder did, but I don’t know if that’s good. Depp as Wonka is like a more confident and snarky version of Michael Jackson. He has said he was going for Howard Hughes crossed with a rock star. You know, the more I think about it, the more this movie reminds me of “Hitchhiker’s.” There’s the fast-moving CGI elevator that goes different directions, the over-the-top crazy character (Wonka and Zaphod) that dominates the action and steers the plot, the imagination-on-top-of- imagination nature of the graphics, and the simple heartwarming story with a black-humor backdrop.

4) People who are tired of dealing with other people’s bratty children should immediately go see this movie. In fact, the 4 dreadful children are eerily reminiscent of people that appear on the multitude of reality TV programs, and I’m thinking specifically of “My Super Sweet Sixteen.” Can’t you just imagine Veruca Salt growing up, having an exorbitant sweet sixteen party thrown for her, and thinking she’s better than everybody else? The more I think about this, the more disturbing the implications. The kids in the film are cartoonish archetypes (the spoiled brat, the driven child, the blank video game techno-boy, and the fat kid), but are hardly worse than the average contestant/participant on The Apprentice or Survivor or The Real World or whatever. If TV really does provide a mirror to us, the original Roald Dahl book (and therefore this movie) is as relevant as ever. How great would it be to see Ava (ahh-vah) from “My Super Sweet Sixteen” turn into a giant Range Rover?

5) Tim Burton was born to make this movie. Yes, some of his movies kinda stink (or REALLY stink, in the case of “Batman Returns”), but he’s one of the few directors working today that has an original vision and the talent to bring that to the screen. Now, some other directors have borrowed that vision, but it still belongs to him. He is Willy Wonka, and all those other posers are just the lesser candymakers that were stealing from him.

It was fun. I think I’ll get the extra disk, just to see how stuff was made. Pure imagination. I give it 4 out of 5 overpriced popcorns.

*I totally underestimated the difficulty level of selecting text in order to italicize it using the touchpad. It’s annoying, and I’m not going to do it anymore unless I have my mouse on.


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