Director – Tim Burton – 2005 – US – PG – 115 mins
UK release date 29/07/2005. Currently screening on Netflix
An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s eponymous 1964 children’s book previously filmed under the title Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971), this also marks the second collaboration of Burton with screenwriter / adapter John August. The duo previously made Big Fish (2003), which film had all the desired Burton trademarks (larger than life, nonconformist outsiders, sense of wonderment, distinctive and zany visuals) while sidestepping the flaws (narrative incoherence, weak characterisation) which beset many of the director’s previous films. They’ve repeated the trick with Charlie, elaborating upon and extending Dahl’s original text without ever compromising it. Lead actor Depp is something of a Burton regular having previously appeared in Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).
Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore, current critics’ favourite child actor following his terrific turn in Finding Neverland, Marc Forster, 2004) lives with a family (Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor and grandparents including David Kelly and Liz Smith) so poor they live on cabbage soup in the shadow of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Mysterious, reclusive owner Willy Wonka (Depp) closed it years ago following his celebrated recipes’ theft by rival confectioners and hasn’t been seen in public since.… Read the rest