The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder in the lead is somewhat of a classic for many people, and much like with The Planet of the Apes, I just didn’t think it should be remade, or indeed could be.
Yet in this version the story is very close to the original and only deviates in some places.
There’s the same degree of oddness as well as good fun but also there’s an added adult level to play to which is rather quite effective.
The whole movie proves to be very close to the original except for the ending which takes the story in a new and altogether well fitting direction.
Johnny Depp is surprisingly good as Wonka. I have to say that when I first saw and heard him in character I made a mental comparison to Wilder and rejected him immediately. Yet during the film he managed to pull the character off really well portraying stupidity alongside a calculating, almost malevolent quality. He certainly has captured a completely quirky and non-grown up persona.
Freddie Highmore is also very good, not being too sickly sweet but capturing that childhood innocence very well. The other children stand strong alongside him, but none truly shine.
One of the notable things about the movie is the addition of a new family and Golden Ticket winner, the TV family. To modernise the movie the child is a mind of information and has assembled it all through watching TV and also playing videogames. It’s slightly twee in the concept, but it works well.
Although there are these tweaks and updates to the story, it’s not harmed the movie any and still retains a lot of the feel of the original. You feel the emotion when Charlie shares his Birthday chocolate bar with his family or when he finally finds the Golden Ticket, or even when Wonka meets his Father against and we understand some of his quirks.
Tim Burton has done a good job and given us a very entertaining family film and pulled another excellent performance from Depp. A very good revisitation of the story, surely set to be the replacement on the Christmas TV list.