Alright… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory weirds me out now.
Not the 1972 adaptation. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory lives rent-free in my heart. But the 2005 remake with its new cast, strange creatures, and weird storyline that still makes me scratch my head as an adult? Yes, that movie, the one directed by Tim Burton.
I've always been a big fan of fantasy films, and the first Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory certainly lives up to that title. Not only does it have musical moments that make you feel giddy, but magical scenes that fill your heart with glee. I'm smiling just thinking about the scene where Charlie and his grandpa float in that room of Fizzy Lifting Drinks and use burps as the way to get back down to the ground.
But the 2005 adaptation of the famous book of the same name, called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, does not bring me those same feelings of joy. If anything, it weirds me out even more now as an adult. And today, I will talk about it because I have to get some stuff off my chest.
Why Do The Oompa-Loompas Make Me Uncomfortable?
Okay, hear me out.
Yes, I know that the Oompa-Loompas are supposed to be strange and small, and they sing and dance. But for some reason, the ones in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory make me uncomfortable.
I can think of a few reasons why. It could be because they look so realistic. In the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas were almost neon orange, with green hair. They fit the chocolate factory's theme, making it much more enjoyable and fantasy-like.
But the new Oompa-Loompas look way too realistic for my enjoyment. The originals felt like fantasy characters that fit within a fantasy movie. The new ones seemed too much like humans and felt crowded in that factory, always working the day away.
Regardless, I've never been a massive fan of the Oompa-Loompas in the first place. I'm not a big supporter of how Wonka met them, studied their ways of the cocoa bean, and somehow moved them all to his chocolate factory to work for him. That sounds problematic, but my childhood mind could at least be alright with them looking like magical creatures in the first adaptation rather than what they looked like in the 2005 flick.
Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka Is… Intriguing, But Not Creepy
A big criticism I've seen from many people in my generation about this movie is that Johnny Depp was not a good pick for Willy Wonka. And to be frank, I think that's utter crap.
Johnny Depp is the king of playing eccentric characters. If anything, he would be the first person I would go to for a role like this, where Willy Wonka's nature has been changed a lot from the source material, taking a much darker turn.
And I'll be here to defend Depp as Wonka. He's not creepy in any way. Sure, his eyes may linger too long on a person when he's looking at them, but that's more of him thinking something meticulously in his head rather than being creepy. If anything, I'd say Depp's Wonka is the least weird thing in this movie – he's intriguing. But maybe that's just because Depp played him so well.
His Backstory, However, Doesn’t Sit Well With Me
Even if I like Depp's version of Willy Wonka, his backstory did not sit well with me in this movie.
Look, I know kids fear many everyday occupations, and the dentist is always the first one because of the drills and everything else. But seeing Wonka's backstory revolve around his father being a dentist and simply stopping him from eating candy feels like a copout.
He gets obsessed because he's never had candy, which is a simple kid reaction. We've all had those moments – we finally get to taste that one bad thing, and then boom, we want it forever. But I don't particularly appreciate that dentists are essentially villainized in this movie.
Sure, Wonka's dad could have been much more lenient with the candy, and he wasn't the best (personality-wise). But the film tries to paint dentists in a bad light because Wonka's dad was a dentist, which could lead to other kids being afraid of dentists and not liking them. I don't know, maybe this is how my mind works, but there could have been a better backstory there.
Not Sure How I Feel About The New Songs, Either
I'm the first girl to watch a musical. Give me a classic musical, and I will hunker down and watch it for hours. Modern musicals are my absolute favorite. I can't tell you how often I have rewatched Mamma Mia!, or even the hilarious Hairspray. I love musicals.
But Charlie and the Chocolate Factory almost felt too much like a musical, if that makes sense. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory had musical moments, but everything flowed naturally. The film delivered songs that melded well with the scene they appeared in and didn't just feel like musical pieces to keep the audience watching.
The songs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory weirded me out because most of them felt as if they were purposefully staged, as if the children who acted out were just the kickoff to a song planned ahead of time. The Oompa-Loompas were stiff in their delivery, and nothing felt natural.
Granted, nothing can be especially natural in a fake chocolate factory in a fantasy movie, but those were just the vibes I was getting the whole time.
The Film Itself Is Enjoyable - But I Think I’ll Stick To The Original
I never said there wasn't some enjoyment in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The cast is genuinely talented, the visuals are great, and Danny Elfman is always a win with his musical pieces. Tim Burton directed it well. But there's little to be desired in the film.
I wouldn't watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again. I had fun rewatching it, but it doesn't bring me the same joy as the original adaptation, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And that's okay.
I have a feeling plenty of fans out there probably prefer this version of Wonka's tale over the Gene Wilder version, but I can't get into it. It's too weird for my taste. But honestly, this makes me more curious about Wonka, which will be released in December 2023. I think it's time for a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory rewatch.
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!