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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (SE)
DVD disk
Nov 11, 2005 By: Jason Coleman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (SE) order
Director:
Tim Burton

Actors:
Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Christopher Lee

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The classic story we all know about Charlie, Golden Tickets, Oompa-Loompas and illusive candy maker Willy Wonka, as told through the eyes of wizard of weird Tim Burton.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Unfortunately, ingrained in my brain, will always be Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. That is not to say that this new version of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is not a good film. Quite the contrary, Tim Burton’s style fits this tale like a glove. The quirky story by Roald Dahl and the fantastic visuals by Burton are a match made in heaven. Burton takes everything he does to the tenth degree, from the quirky casting of Deep Roy as all of the Oompa-Loompas, to the use of real squirrels in the famous Wonka nut room - he spares no expense. Yet another visual rollercoaster and Burton does not disappoint.

Which brings us back to Wilder – why do I remember him so much? Could it have been his calm, relaxing, yet magical demeanor? Well, whatever it was, Johnny Depp, who takes over the role of Wonka here, does a complete 180 from that original performance and it helps. Depp, an actor’s actor who buries himself in his roles, creates one of his most creepy and unique characters yet. (Saying a lot, I mean look at FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS!) What Depp does here is breathe new life into the character of Willy Wonka and I praise him, it's great work. But call me nostalgic, in my brain and in my heart, Wilder will always be Willy Wonka to me.
THE EXTRAS
I gotta say, this Disc set not only looks great (very cool Oompa-Loopma Deep Roy interactive menus), but the box also includes a set of five Trading Cards for the kids and a chance to find your own golden ticket! Truly a sweet offer!

Disc 1:

Contains the original Theatrical Trailer, which the kids love to watch (mine does!), but it seems a shame to not give the adults some candy too, in the form of a chewy Tim Burton commentary! (That one would be worth the trip to the dentist!)

Disc 2:

This is divided up into two sections, Features and Activities. First, the Features:

Attack Of The Squirrels (9:49): An absolutely charming mini-doc about what it took to train the squirrels do their thing on camera. Really interesting stuff - cute enough for kids, funny enough for adults.

Fantastic Mr. Dahl (17:41): What starts as a study on legendary writer Roald Dahl, turns into his relatives boringly reading excerpts from his works. The running time of 17 minutes on this one is far too long and is in desperate need of a trimming. (Adults only, too tedious for the little ones!)

Becoming Oompa-Loompa (7:17): An interesting look at what single Oompa-Loompa Deep Roy had to go through to play a zillion of himself. Dancer, singer, drum player – is there anything that little guy can’t do?!

Making The Mix:

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams (6:57): In lieu of a full out commentary, this one has Tim Burton explaining why he made this film and the motivations behind the character decisions. Short, but better then nothing. The rest is just scenes from the film and comments from other key figures. Skip to the Burton!

Different Faces, Different Flavors (10:39): This one starts with everyone hailing the genius of Johnny Depp. (Major ass kissing alert!) Hey, I liked the guy too, but it’s not like his sweat cures cancer! Then they move on to the kids, and it starts all over again! Way too sickening sweet, toothache here!

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds (7:17): All about the sounds that composer Danny Elfman created. (Along with oodles of film footage!) This one is strictly for die hard fans, for the rest, chapter skip.

Designer Chocolate (9:35): Could have been a great featurette about the design of the film, but is just a lot of talking heads and film footage. Only saving grace is the conceptual drawings and shots of the miniatures, which also get stale. Why not walk through the set, show off some of that work, dammit!

Under The Wrapper (6:58): This one deals in special effects and its fun to watch indeed! They show you many different on set gags and CG effects first hand. Definitely holds attention.

The Activities here are strictly designed for the young kids, so take note!

Oompa-Loompa Dance: This one teaches the kids to dance along with teacher Deep Roy. Includes two different dances for the kids to have fun with.

The Bad Nut: Allows kids to sort good and bad nuts right along with those feisty squirrels!

The Inventing Machine: Lets the kids choose two sweet ingredients to mix together and Deep Roy will taste it. Good, good!

Search for the Golden Ticket: Kids get to be one of the five children and go on a quest to find their golden ticket.

There are a lot of features here, but it seems like they wanted to please everyone, kids and adults. Who is the audience for these extras? Hey guys, want a helpful hint? Always gear it towards kids; adults will have fun with the stuff regardless! (Except, of course, for that previously mentioned Burton commentary!)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Tim Burton proves once again that he has a visual flair that is utterly unique, especially with this particular type of material. He and Johnny Depp make a great duo and take this new Wonka to a whole other level. So this DVD version of the film, while not perfect, will certainly leave you with a sweet taste in your mouth.
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