Warning: May contain spoilers. If your willing to sit through the crappy remake.

By Ryan Moody

First off let me get one thing straight I love Tim Burton. Despite his mistakes (mostly Mars Attacks & the remake of Planet of the Apes) he is a good competent director unlike some modern directors such as Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon) and Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator). Overall I consider him among some of my favorite directors including with such greats as Steven Spielberg (E.T., The Indinana Jones Trilogy and countless others), Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), John Carpenter (The Thing, Escape from New York), and Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind). I always loved his dark twisted style and atmosphere and he has created some of the best unique characters the silver screen has seen over the past 20 years (including his early short films). His genres go from comedies, sci-fi, drama, fantasy, slasher and even a super hero film.

To a lesser extent I like Johnny Depp he is a great actor in almost everything I’ve seen him in. He is a sight for sore eyes in today’s films with horrid Saturday Night Live, Jackass and TV reality stars going on the movie screen and trying to convince us they can act outside of their 2-D and extremely fake personas.

Then came words came from all my daily movie news sites “Wonka remake!!!!!”. I dreaded that statement for the last couple of years as we all know remakes are the rage of Hollywood at the current moment (since it’s so much cheaper for them and their lack of talent). There has only two good remakes ever made: John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly. They stay loyal to the films they based themselves on but also keeping their own tradermark with it as well. I figured I should give Burton a chance until I heard the most evil and scariest men of Hollywood were up for role of the mighty Wonka Chistpor Walken, William Defoe and Maryilin Manson? Who the hell did Burton think he was? Then he settled for Johnny Depp and again I became a little more hopeful till I saw the trailer. It was dark, demented and just look evil. I saw my childhood destroyed within a few minutes. I saw this pasty face Wonka that looked like he should be working a Hot Topic or Spencer’s Gifts dragging an IV around. It looked like a fangirl’s fantasy and this made me worry even more about the final product. I soon made my decision to boycott the film in December of 2004.

The spring and summer of 2005 was passing by fast I got a couple of surprises in the including Robert Rodriguez’s extremely loyal adaptation of Sin City, Spielberg’s interesting interpretation of War of the Worlds and the biggest surprise of all Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith which actually lived up to the hype and the Star Wars Universe. Soon however my girlfriend said the dreaded words while I was slamming the new Wonka film “Nobody will take me to see that.” What could I say the guilt got to me, but I still stood by my decision no matter what. Then I started hearing good reviews for the film which made me reconsider my decision a little. A couple of weeks later my dad invited a bunch of people to a classical music fireworks show which I didn’t want to go too so I decided to finally cracked and take my girlfriend to see …ugh…. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Needless to say I was in rage after the film ended I could hardly say one redeeming factor to the film. If it wasn’t for my girlfriend there I would have made a fuss and demanded my money back. I went on for hours and a whole day hating the experience. I tried to explain to my girlfriend that it wasn’t her fault for me having a miserable time. It was Tim Burton and Depp destroying one of my favorite movies of all time.

Now that you know the long story, I will go on and go on point by point on why I hate Charlie and the Chocolate factory. First off the whole scenery of the film is unnecessarily dark. I know it’s a common style for Burton but even in films like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands, and even the Batman films he gave us a break for at least a minute to get out of the dark atmosphere but Burton pushes it to its limits in this movie. I mean when we are in the chocolate waterfall the original film allowed us to see the lovable landscape and enjoy the universe. In Charlie it really looks like everything else from the outside and not very amazing. Wouldn’t you think the waterfall/garden would need some kind of sunlight for the stuff to grow? Also he really cuts and paste a lot from his other films examples being the lonely house on the hill and it really doesn’t fit the film. Its little things like this that Burton’s version destroys within just a couple of seconds without words or characters.

Now for the characters, first off Charlie. Charlie in the original film felt believable. We’ve all been the underdog and that’s what Charlie is treated as in the original. We get to see him grow in the film and relating to Willy Wonka and Grandpa Joe and this is what makes it great. We also see Charlie is a flawed kid with the Soda scene and we understand he isn’t prefect but damn he’s great kid still. The new Charlie is just annoying, yes we get to see him relate with his family but for a film it’s really unimportant Burton could have saved a lot of time and money without it. Charlie is also too much a of goodie goodie for my taste. He is like the suck up student and always cheery. It isn’t human; there are limitations I am willing to take with this character. At the end of the movie he gives up the chocolate factory to be with his crappy house and grandparents sharing a bed. I found the original ending much better thought out and much more believable with Charlie.

Now for Willy Wonka and dear god Depp is going to get it here. Gene Wilder’s version of Willy Wonka was fun, charming, and likable and almost like a father like or teacher for Charlie and the kids. Gene Wilder could also be evil all you have to do is see the tunnel scene in the original version for proof of this. He truly looks like he loves his candy and factory (Great scenery and better colors really help to make it more convincing) and he wants to give the kids the benefit of the doubt. As we pointed out before we get to see Wonka expand with the characters more in this film and it works well. We also get a mystery about him and that’s what makes Wonka such a damn good character in the first place. The Depp Wonka is the complete opposite. He’s rude, childish, stupid, a jerk and it gets annoying real quick. He is so full on himself and we forget about Charlie for the rest of the film until the very last couple of minutes (so much for it being CHARLIE and the Chocolate Factory). Again the clothes are terrible in this film is less of the wonderful purple and browns we get in the original film and we get this evil blood red. We are also presented with Wonka “origins” in this film in which made me not even like the film even more. Willy Wonka to me was always a God-like character the king of candy but turns out he is just a sad whiney little man who wants a family. His father is dentist played by Christopher Lee (he couldn’t even save this scene) and a turn out Wonka wasn’t allowed candy and he runs away from home.

Now for the Oompa Loompa's, the Oompas in the original were charming and fun. They were memorable to movie audiences and they each appeared to have individuality and looked out of this world. They seemed to fit more with the magical world. In Charlie they just look plain damn cheap. Also their songs aren’t memorable at all and taking just what’s popular in the music industry already cursing it to being outdated.

The ending also is poorly done where it should have ended at the end of the tour of the factory it turns into “Wonka wants a family film”. We see Wonka and his father meeting again and we don’t even see them get to reconcile. At the end Charlies shack is moved into the waterfall garden and Wonka comes in for dinner (again Wonka’s father not being here either kind of making the whole point of Wonka’s father/son relationship pointless). This makes it even more of a sicking and poorly done sappiness (I no longer want to hear anymore about sappiness in the original film).

I could go into many more tiny details on saying how much I hated this film but I won’t. Already on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and many other websites it’s already a bloodbath and which is the better movie (let alone the better Wonka). In my closing argument against the new film the script writer and Burton claimed they were going by the book and “not” the original film. Burton should have at least given something for fans of the original film to enjoy it could have been anything a cameo of the original children, the Oompa’s being orange, or have the father of Wonka be Gene Wilder. I will admit I have never read the book but I find it odd that that the remake follows the original film very closely. This is a different interpretation of the film and nothing more. I’ve been reading other articles from critics and fans and they pretty much say Burton’s vision is not that loyal to the book either. However I find it odd that some of the high grossing and most popular films of all time like Jaws, The Wizard of Oz, Jurassic Park, Planet of the Apes, Stand by Me, The Green Mile, the Lord the of the Rings Trilogy, The Shining, Misery and countless Disney films have edited the stories to make good and successful films. All the films above were considered classics in one way or another to the public and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was also one of them. Ronald Dahl isn’t the first author to bump heads with Hollywood or dislike the movie version of their works. Steven Spielberg and Peter Benchley had fights over the screenplay for Jaws from day one. Stanley Kubrick also seriously pissed off Steven King for The Shining. Lets not forget comic book movies as well have to be edited for the silver screen with some minor tweaks or changes to make the movie expectable to both comic books fans and audiences. It had effects on many lives in the movie industry and countless references are still made to the film. It can be seen in shows like Futurama, Family Guy and countless others.

What makes it worse is the fangirls flocking to Depp and buying his merchandise. I only wished Warner Bros. would be fair and give us a fair share of merchandise for the original and classic film. I would love to have an Orange Oompa Loompa T-shirt and buttons with classic saying from the original movie. What I would really love to see the one and true Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) get he’s just deserts in action figure form to kick the ass of the fake imitation that is Johnny Depp.