August 13th, 2005

Gone Fishing

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I was reminded, on watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how silly people are. Protesting Harry Potter as unsuitable literature? Please. Roald Dahl was a dodgy guy on the edge of the playground compared to J.K. Rowling.

Willy Wonka's world? That's some messed up stuff right there.

However, it's not quite as disturbing as the 1971 version. I think this is because Freddy Highmore is much less creepy than the kid who played Charlie Bucket 34 years ago...and because the Oompa-Loompas are way less creepy.

In fact, they're the best thing about the movie. Deep Roy rocks. The musical numbers (based on Roald Dahl's actual songs in the novel) are hilarious (a Busby Berkeley-style swimming-in-chocolate musical number is but one twisted feature).

This time, however, they are anything but creepy. The creepy one is Mr. Wonka. Johnny Depp seems to have researched hours of Michael Jackson footage to get this part's character down. Sometimes, it's a little too eerie.

But it's very faithful to the original book (at least, as far as I can remember; I think the last time I read it it was read to me when I was six), far much more so than that Gene Wilder thing. But all I could think when I watched this film and was reminded of my dad reading it (and trying to sing the songs) was..."Holy crap, my parents thought this was a good idea to read to their six year old!?" I don't think I'd let my kid read it, if it were up to me.

Of course, for my ten-year-old almost-nephew's birthday, I gave him the five-part trilogy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so maybe I'm not the one to turn to for children's literature recommendations.
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