When Tim Burton took on Batman he hired Danny Elfman to weave the dark score behind one the darkest and most disturbing Batmans ever filmed. The portrayal was very true to the Black Knight vision of Batman. It takes a lot of bravery from the producer, the director and the star to take on a project like Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The inevitable comparisons with the 1971 Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory starring the legendary Gene Wilder and the great Jack Albertson would be enough to put fear in the hearts of anyone interested in pursuing such a project.
Tim Burton takes on Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with the same dark gusto he did with Batman. Elfman's own dark lyricism with a knack for sounding light and disturbing at the simultaneously weaves through movie as a perfect compliment to Burton's flawless direction. Rounding out the dark telling of this story is the fearless Johnny Depp whose borderline psychotic portrayal of Willy Wonka is so far divorced from Wilder's brilliantly manic interpretation of the character that no real comparison is possible both are brilliant but have almost nothing else in common except the razors edge of insanity. There in lies a key difference between the two movies. While the 1971 version was Willy Wonka driven the 2005 version is Charlie Bucket driven.
There is much to recommend this faithful retelling of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory though a cautionary note should be sounded that young children may find some elements of the story quite frightening. There is a squirrel mobbing scene which sent one child screaming in tears out of the theatre during the screening. The Oompa Loompas (all of them played by Deep Roy) are particularly disturbing in a Busby Berkeley descent into nightmare kind of way.
The cautionary tale of the evils of greed, over indulgence, monomania and disobedience remain in tact being acted out by the four children who suffer unfortunate ends at the hands of Willy's factory as irresistible temptations are paraded before them. Charlie of course emerges unscathed his character and sweetness never in question.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a darkly funny movie definitely worth a look.