Adapted from Roald Dahlís popular book, the movie tells of reclusive chocolatier Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp, using Michael Jackson as a launching pad, though heís denied it), who comes out of hiding to host a contest: find a Golden Ticket in one of his products and win a visit to his factory. He mustíve made billions off of it.
As it goes, the poor Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) wins one of the tickets and is prized a tour through Wonkaís extravagant factory, located conveniently right down the street from the Bucketsí shack. Also on the tour are Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiregratz), Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb), Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), and Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry). Only one of them will actually make it through the full tour, and letís just say thereís a reason the movie isnít called Augustus and the Chocolate Factory.
The setup and characters are about the same as those in Mel Stuartís far superior Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which starred Gene Wilder. This time, though, flashbacks tell us that Wonkaís father was a dentist who forbade candy. Why is this detail even touched on? Without the back story, Burton argued, Wonka is ďjust a weird guy.Ē Exactly. Thereís nothing stranger than not knowing why a lonely inventor would have to live in a mansion with hundreds of slaves.
And though Burton thankfully didnít include a scene where the Oompa-Loompas write and rehearse their over-the-top musical numbers, Burton has sucked all of the magic right out of the story. Even the fantastic set pieces, costumes and special effects work cannot save Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Does Burton hold some sort of vendetta against the creators of the books heís adapted and the movies heís remade? Not likely. Burtonís dreams just get the better of him and he thinks his version will replace the classic. Shame his goals are far greater than his feats anymore.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams (6:57): This standard promotional piece uses interviews, on-set footage and clips to cover a variety of topics, including the characters, remaining true to the spirit of Roald Dahlís book, the tone of the story, and more.
Different Faces, Different Flavors (10:39): Here, the cast of the movie is observed, with a special focus on Johnny Depp. Comments from Depp, Christopher Lee and the child actors are the highlights.
Designer Chocolate (9:36): The role of Alex McDowell and his teamís incredible production design and how it fits with Burtonís vision is discussed.
Under the Wrapper (6:58): In this featurette, the special effects of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are discussed with the team. Attention is put on a handful of stand-out moments, including the chocolate river and the demises of Augustus and Violet.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds (7:17) is dedicated to composer Danny Elfmanís work and the Oompa-Loompasí many songs that accompany each childís final moments.
Becoming Oompa-Loompa (7:16) looks at how Kenyan actor Deep Roy portrayed each Oompa-Loompa, with footage of rehearsals and interviews with crew.
Attack of the Squirrels (9:49): This featurette goes into how the squirrels, who clashed with Veruca Salt, were trained for their screen time in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Fantastic Mr. Dahl (17:42) is a nice tribute to Roald Dahl (1916-1990), author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox and more. Included are interviews with those who knew him, archival clips of Dahl and old photographs.
Also featured on this Blu-ray are Pre-Vis numbers, a Club Reel, the Theatrical Trailer, and a Music-Only Track.