I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Minnesota Zoo’s IMAX Theatre on Sunday afternoon with Kelly. The place was packed…indeed, the combination of the 95+-degree weather outside and the number of people inside caused the theatre to get a bit warm by the end of the show, but I heard no one complaining. We were all fully immersed in the movie’s experience.
I say experience ‘cause it wasn’t just an entertaining movie from the plot/character perspective…it was also a beautiful film to watch. Glorious colors filled the screen when we moved from room to room in the factory…the chocolate waterfall room, filled with the greenest grass and the brightest candy apples…to the television room, which was the whitest white you could ever imagine. Outside the factory, things were drab in their drabbiest way…especially Charlie’s home.
I appreciated that this film wasn’t exact remake of the previous version with Gene Wilder. There were no remakes of the classic songs from the originally, which meant I wasn’t sitting there singing along to a song which “didn’t quite seem right” and I thought the new music matched the visuals perfectly. I felt that the characters were better developed as well, especially Willy Wonka. I actually understood why he was behaving the way he was - in the earlier version, I was confused as to why he had behaved in many of the ways he did. I got the “creepy” vibe from Depp’s performance, but not in that “Michael Jackson” kind of way everyone was so worried about. I also appreciated the way the characters had a much better understanding of what was going on around them. For example, after a particularly entertaining Oompa-Loompa song that mentioned Augustus Gloop by name, Willy Wonka had to deflect questions from the characters about why the song seemed “so well rehearsed” for something that was an apparent accident.
While I’m sure there will be plenty of people disappointed by this new interpretation of an old classic, I for one enjoyed it quite a bit. In a lackluster summer movie season, I think I can safely say that this has been my favorite general-release movie so far.