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Tim Burton + Johnny Depp = Movie Magic

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) contemplates life, sweets and being one of People Magazine's 'Sexiest Chocolateers Alive.'
By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
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When news broke that someone was revisiting Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," everyone threw their arms up in disbelief and anger. Then, when word came that Tim Burton was directing it, the hands came down and the anger turned into curiosity. Then, when it was announced that Johnny Depp had signed on to play the part of Willy Wonka, the curiosity turned into unabashed excitement and sexual arousal. Thankfully, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" lives up to all these expectations.

The story is very similar to that of the book and the original 1971 film, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." Charlie Bucket (played by the heart-melting Freddie Highmore from "Finding Neverland") is a very poor and kind boy who lives with his parents and four grandparents.

One day, the local chocolateer, Willy Wonka, decides to open his chocolate factory to five lucky children. He has hidden golden tickets in five candy bars, and five children from all over the English-speaking world find them, including quite by chance Charlie Bucket.

Once the children have assembled outside the factory gates and Wonka reveals himself, the movie never lulls in action or clever writing. The basic story remains true to the book, with a couple of added storylines. Augustus, Veruca, Violet and Mike are all rotten children who are undeserving of the grand prize. One by one, they are taught lessons and disposed of, leaving Charlie with the grand prize and an important decision.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

8 out of 10

The Oompa Loompas are all played by one man named Deep Roy. There are no orange faces or green hair for these Oompa Loompas, and the musical numbers span a variety of genres and have no karaoke sing-along words on the screen. Pleasantly, Deep Roy surpasses the old style of Loompadom and brings in a lot of laughs.

Depp is brilliant as Willy Wonka. He has completely reinvented the character. It is evident that he made a conscious choice not to do an impression of Gene Wilder's Wonka, but to create it organically for himself. And their Wonkas could not be more different, which is refreshing.

Burton and Depp have worked together before on "Edward Scissorhands," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Ed Wood" and have also joined forces to create the upcoming animated "Corpse Bride," and their chemistry remains impeccable.

Each of their collaborations seem to stem from a creative and somewhat jaded way of viewing history and society, and this certainly does not change with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Burton is a true visionary and is able to also reinvent the story for himself, while Depp remains one of his generation's finest acting talents, able to manipulate any role to fit his strengths.

Visually, the film is beautiful. The sets, the costumes and the characters are like reality magnified. Even if someone is not drawn in by the story, they will certainly be drawn in by the visual cacophony.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a successful adaptation of the novel, as opposed to a remake of the '70s classic film. The newest movie is far enough removed from the original to stand alone, yet similar enough to charm many of the same audiences.

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