I finally got a chance to see this movie; I neglected to see it in the theater when it was playing.Â But I obtained a copy of the DVD earlier this week, and watched it Thursday evening (CSI was a rerun).
It’s pretty good.Â There are some plot points that I don’t quite agree with, mainly the ending, but I did like the fact that it was a lot darker than the previous version (in 1971).Â I read the book a couple of times when I was a kid, and I remember it being much less “happy bouncy” than the movie (that is, the 1971 version.Â I definitely wasn’t a kid earlier this year when the new one came out).Â I did enjoy the “parade of freaks” near the end of the movie, showing the eventual fates of the other four children; that passage in the book really stood out in my memory, and I like the fact that Burton was able to include it in the film.
All that said, the “Wonka’s memory” stuff, with the flashbacks and personal history, was pretty much crap.Â I’m sure some pretext was necessary in order to give the movie an underlying plot that would appeal to modern audiences, but come on…Â his father was a dentist who never loved him, and that’s why he turned out so weird?Â Snore.Â And the whole “Charlie loves his family” thing?Â I mean sure, family values are important and all, but I’m pretty certain that wasn’t brought up in the book.Â Charlie definitely didn’t say “no” to Wonka’s offer.
Helena Bonham Carter, for all of her 15 minutes’ worth of screen time, did an excellent job, much better (in my humble opinion) than did Diana Sowle.Â But since there wasn’t any singing requirement for most of the actors in this version (and truth be told, I did miss not hearing “World of Pure Imagination”), I guess the casting director could focus more on sheer acting ability and looks than Mel Stuart (and his Casting staff) had to.
I think next week I’ll read the book again, then I might do a more in-depth “tearing apart” of the movie; you know, do the typical fanboy thing where every tiny difference is pointed out.Â Or maybe I’ll just get bored with the idea.
Yeah, I broke down, went to Barnes & Noble, and bought a copy of the book.Â There weren’t any copies at Half Price.Â I was right, the “Family First” ending was completely fabricated.Â It’s a shame the movie execs felt it necessary to add that in; I think the book’s ending would have been just fine on the big screen.Â Kids know when you’re trying to teach them a moral lesson.
Other than that, the movie stayed pretty close to the book, although I find it strange that both versions of the movie only included one parental unit, when the book had two parents for each of “the other kids” (Charlie still only had Grandpa Joe).Â Casting decision, I guess, coupled with not wanting to pay 4 extra actors who aren’t integral to the plot.