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Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)
Director: Tim Burton

review by Debbie Moon

Charlie Bucket is an ordinary lad living a blissfully happy life with his impoverished parents and batty grandparents. Inspired by his grandfather's tales of working in the magical chocolate factory run by Willy Wonka, Charlie wants to be one of the five children who will win a tour of the factory. But he can only afford one chocolate bar a year - and even when he finds a lucky ticket, there are dangers and trials to be faced inside the factory. Because the eccentric and tragic Wonka has a secret agenda...

Tim Burton and Roald Dahl are an obvious perfect combination, and Johnny Depp as the wacky confectionery wizard is just the icing on the cake (chocolate icing, of course). Burton's re-imagining is lifted beyond a simple remake by John August's deft screenplay, which takes us further into Wonka's story than into Charlie's. By giving reasons for Wonka's eccentric obsession with perfect sweets, for his secrecy and failure to grow up, August and Burton completely rebalance the film, reducing Charlie almost to a minor character from the point he enters the factory. However, this gives Depp's socially deficient Wonka room to shine, and leads to a ending that goes beyond Dahl's original to make a point about the necessity of family.

If this all sounds a bit worthy, the film is also riddled with hilarious double entendres and visual gags (the 'flags of the world' sequence is probably the best laugh of the year), comedy mishaps involving horrible children, and animated squirrels. What could be wrong with that? This is a terrific family film that will keep everyone amused and engrossed, and far more fun for adults than you might think. Perhaps the only criticism is that it reduces Charlie to a secondary character in his own story, but you'll be enjoying yourself so much you'll hardly notice.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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