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“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Grade: B+

Every year the local multiplexes are filled with shoddy remakes of classics from our childhood, and they normally leave us wondering why a filmmaker would even attempt to try and improve on a classic. This past summer, director Tim Burton remade the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Rather than falling flat, it does what few other remakes have done – surpass its original.

As with the original, this year’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is an adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl, which features a poor boy getting the chance to fulfill his dream of seeing Willy Wonka’s legendary factory.

Charlie, along with his grandfather and four other children, are taken on a whimsical journey through the magical factory.

The original film featured Gene Wilder in the role of the eccentric Wonka. This new version of the film takes more from the book than it does from the original film, and as a result is much darker.

In the new version, the dynamic duo of Burton and Johnny Depp team up once again, after films like “Edward Scissorhands” (1990), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), and this year’s “Corpse Bride.” The duo brings a visually stunning film that surpasses the original in nearly every way.

Burton infuses the entire film with his own strange artistic design that is a trademark of all of his films. Burton manages to make “Charlie” even more colorful than the original film.

Depp proves to us once again that he is one of the best actors working today as he adds more eccentricity to the character of Willy Wonka then Gene Wilder could ever hope to. That’s not to say that Wilder did a bad job playing Wonka – it’s just after seeing Depp’s version, it’s just hard to imagine Wonka being played any other way.

A few other things that are changed in this remake are the Oompa Loompas and their songs. In the original version, all of the Oompa Loompas were played by different actors. But in this version, all of them are played by actor Deep Roy, who is digitally copied so that there are dozens of clones of him on screen at the same time.

Also, the songs that Oompa Loompas sing has changed. In the original they were all pretty much the same, just the tune changed a little bit. Now, composer Danny Elfman’s songs are different and unique. The new songs jam themselves into your head as you hear them.

Burton took a well written screenplay by John August (Big Fish) that remains very faithful to Dahl’s novel, and added a rather bizarre sense of humor to make “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” a film that is not only enjoyable to kids but people of all ages as well.

While it sometimes strays away from the important parts of the story by delving too much into Wonka’s past, it still manages to keep the film fresh so that you don’t sit there feeling like you have seen certain things before. Burton does a nice job separating “Charlie” from the 1971 version.

While it isn’t perfect, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is an enjoyable film that just about anyone can enjoy.

Burton does a nice job recreating the world from Roald Dahl’s book and the movie should leave the audience satisfied when all is said and done. And while there may be some debate as to which version is better, it is undeniable that this updated version of the kid’s classic rises above most other movie remakes out there now.

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