Posts Tagged ‘Tim Burton’

Charlie Bucket is a young boy from a very poor, but loving family.  Willy Wonka is an elusive chocolatier with the biggest chocolate factory in the world – but nobody has been able to see inside the factory since Wonka fired all of his workers years ago.  Charlie would dearly love to see the factory, so when 5 golden tickets are hidden in Wonka chocolate bars all over the world – promising those who find them a day at the factory – Charlie is delighted when he wins one of the much coveted tickets.  He turns up with the other four winners – four of the most precocious children imaginable with names like Veruca Salt and Mike Tevee – for his day at the factory, where he finally gets to meet the eccentric Willy Wonka.  What unfolds is a day that none of them could ever have imagined…and which will change Charlie’s life forever…

A movie made by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp is always likely to be a visual spectable, and this one certainly delivers.  It’s bright and colourful, with a surreal, almost dreamlike quality to it.  Comparisons to the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka are inevitable, and that film holds a place in many people’s hearts.  However, I really enjoyed this updated version, which is more faithful to Roald Dahl’s book.  Johnny Depp is a master at portraying eccentric or off-the-wall characters, and he employs all of his skill here, making Wonka a childlike and wistful character, with some very funny one-liners.  We also learn his backstory, with his strict dentist father, who banned Willy from having candy at all when Willy was a child.

The four other winners of the golden tickets are all very funny, partly because they are all so unpleasant in their own way (and I don’t think it would be giving away any spoilers to say that they all get their come-uppance in a variety of inventive ways).  I also liked the Oompa-Loompas, which were all played by Danny Elfman (CGI was used to create the army of them in the movie).  The only weak spot in the cast was perhaps Freddie Highmore as Charlie.  It would be unfair to say that his acting was anything less than fine, but the portrayal seemed to be straight out of a Dickens novel.

Overall, this is a visually entertaining movie, which showcases the double act of Burton and Depp perfectly.  It’s not their best film (I’d have to give that honour to Edward Scissorhands), but it’s well worth a watch.

Year of release: 2005

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Roald Dahl (book), John August

Main cast: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter

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The beautiful gothic fairytale is one of my very favourite movies.

I am a big fan of Johnny Depp anyway – I think he is one of the most talented and versatile actors around today – and this is surely one of his greatest roles. He plays the title character, a man who was ‘created’ by an inventor (Vincent Price), but the inventor died before finishing off Edward by giving his ‘proper’ hands, rather than the scissors that were obviously a temporary measure. Stuck in the beautiful old castle where the inventor lived, Edward has never interacted with any other people before, but then a kindly Avon lady (Dianne Wiest) calls there and ends up taking him to live with her and her family.  And so ensues several hilarious but touching scenes (Edward valiantly battling with a pea on a plate, Edward waking up in shock and stabbing the waterbed, Edward’s first taste of alcohol). For a while, Edward is loved by all his new neighbours, except for one – everybody wants a piece of Edward, and he starts doing topiary, hairdressing and dog grooming for his all his new ‘friends’.  He also falls in love with Kim – the daughter of his new ‘family’, but who doesn’t warm to Edward like everyone else.  Kim’s boyfriend is also not happy about him, although he is quick to attempt to use Edward to his own advantage.

It doesn’t take long before things go wrong and pettiness and small mindedness sets in.  Edward, so innocent and eager to help, inadvertently ends up in a few situations where things go wrong and he gets the blame, and is hounded out of the neighbourhood.

Johnny Depp deserved an Oscar award for this.  Although he has few lines (less than 100 apparently, although I didn’t count), he portrays beautifully the innocence and wonder that Edward feels, and gives the character a lovable, childlike quality.  The viewer feels all of Edward’s emotions with him – fear, awe, anger, sadness – and this is largely due to Johnny Depp’s portrayal.

The other actors are fine; Winona Ryder does a great job as Kim, and Dianne West is great as Kim’s mother, but this is really Depp’s movie.  It’s no wonder that he and Tim Burton are such good friends, and have made so many movies together when they can come up with magic like this.

I laughed and cried in equal measure in this movie and would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Year of release: 1990

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson

Main cast: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall

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