Sunday, August 07, 2005

More!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made me feel young and old at the same time, which I suspect was what director Tim Burton and company set out to do. They not only created a colorful, cartoony movie that elicits oohs and aahs and giggles from children, but also produced a film that delivers two seemingly contradicting messages to adults: lighten up, and crack down.

The first message is common enough, the whole "never forget what it's like to be a kid" bit, how we should see the world through a child's eyes in order to appreciate the simple joys in life (such as that which comes wrapped in a bar of whipple-scrumptious fudgemallow chocolate). The second message is not often taken up in movies, but it's one a lot of people need to hear, so I'm glad the filmmakers didn't downplay the teasing tirades found in Roald Dahl's book. Dahl moralizes that when children are spoiled, they turn out rotten, and no one is to blame but the parents, who did the damage by not disciplining their kids. Unfortunately, this message was wasted on some members of the audience, who wouldn't make their noisy brats shut the hell up (this is why I hate watching "kiddie" flicks in theaters, I'm always sorely tempted to pick a fight with a whiny five-year-old's mom by telling her not to bring her child to a movie until he's intelligent enough to understand it).

I also liked the "family means everything" angle added to the screenplay. I thought it enriched the original story with one more moral lesson (one which I happen to believe in strongly), as well as provided an avenue for giving the characters of Charlie and Willy Wonka more depth.

It was a joy to watch the mad, manic creative mastery of Tim Burton playing out on-screen, accompanied by the distinct, haunting harmonies of his favorite composer Danny Elfman. It was also a marvel to witness Burton baby Johnny Depp revel in his role as the darkly comic, disturbingly creepy Willy Wonka (though I must agree with those who claim that Depp's Wonka seems an eerie parallel to Michael Jackson: both have pale ghostly faces, wear weird flashy outfits, were deprived of a real childhood, and live in huge wonderlands to which they invite children). It was refreshing to see the versatile Helena Bonham-Carter in a non-period piece, non-violent film for a change, and it was a stroke of genius to have cast the awesome Christopher Lee as Wonka's dad (the guy has played Dracula, Saruman, Count Duku, and now, Willy Wonka's father-- can anyone top that?).

But the real delight of the movie was child actor Freddie Highmore, who is like a more refined, subtler Haley Joel Osment (back when he was still considered precocious and adorable). Highmore played the loveable, pure-hearted Charlie with such a natural charm that it's easy to imagine he's a nice, likeable kid in real life. He shows tremendous promise as an actor, and after seeing him in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I now desperately want to find our missing DVD copy of Finding Neverland, where he first co-starred with, and stole the limelight from, Johnny Depp. I wouldn't be surprised if little Freddie becomes a Burton regular, as the director has a penchant for recycling talent (check out the cast of his upcoming animated feature "Corpse Bride"; Depp, Bonham-Carter and Lee all supply their voices).

I don't know if it was the wholesome appeal of a classic tale with good old-fashioned values, or the combined brilliance of the cast and crew, or visually transmitted endorphins from all the chocolate, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory worked its magic on me. And quite aptly, I left the movie theater feeling like a kid who's just been in a candy shop.

7 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 09, 2005, Blogger Anica said...

I love Johnny Depp's acting especially when he would snap out of his flashbacks. I think I might have already mentioned that before. :) I LOVE those parts! The eyes! *wink wink*

I really love characters with dark pasts, who are twisted, and behave strangely. They're so interesting that the movie just gets better. I wouldn't appreciate the movie as much if it weren't for Willy Wonka actually. While watching, I would look forward to his other comments. I personally like the one he said about "everything in that place was eatable, that even he was eatable, but that would be cannibalism, and cannibalism is not accepted by many." It went something like that. :)

*Haley Joel Osment's not as popular now as he was before. I'll admit, he was a bit awkward in his last movie.

**Michael Jackson's not that bad. He's okay actually. He kind of reminds me of Muraki, you know, the brilliant sadist with silver hair and one mechanical eye due to an incident that occurred long ago. :)

 
At Tuesday, August 09, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Why, does he molest young boys too? :p

Haley Joel Osment is hibernating in child actor purgatory right now. Hollywood isn't exactly a hospitable environment for puberty. He should just stay out of sight for a while and resurface when he's taller, buffer and marketable as a teen heartthrob.

 
At Wednesday, August 10, 2005, Blogger Anica said...

Haha. I will not answer that question. It depends on how you'll look at it. ;) *ahem ahem* You should watch it when you get the chance. The anime, I mean. It's about Shinigamis (angels of death).

Have you seen Haley Joel Osment's last movie (I think), the one with the lion?

 
At Wednesday, August 10, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I actually liked Secondhand Lions. It showed Haley at an awkward age, but at least he was losing his childish cutesiness (which was getting tiresome). Besides, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine are two of the best actors of their generation. I'll be saddened when we lose them. :(

 
At Thursday, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha! i hate johnny depp but i love the movie! he's weird!! really weird i must say.. hahah!! miss lim, i forgot what i wrote a while ago. ugh. anyway, funny, i will follow ur 3 point plan but! i dont have time to exercise.. dieting make my boobs flatter.. so i guess i will minimize on that.. i just hope no male specie is reading your comments but if there are, i may die now.. probably because of shame and my embarassment. my whole femininity has come to a shameful end. i will shut up now.. ahaha! miss limm!!!! i am not a stalker!!! rachel and tarin and the others are! but not me.. haha! just kidding!rachel will soon shoot me with her rifle. haha. Anyway, how can i ever be happy when all sadness strikess me.. this is and introduction of my blog entry.. please read. hahaha. bye miss. take care always.

 
At Thursday, August 11, 2005, Anonymous alexis said...

i am anonymous, ms. lim.. haha!!!! i failed to fill up the blanks! haha

 
At Friday, August 12, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Even if you didn't tell me I would have guessed that was you, Alexis. :p Thanks for posting a comment. I'll be "stalking" your blog from now on too. :)

 

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