Read Part 2 of this movie review (Story and Performances)
Director Tim Burton breathes new life to Roald Dahl’s 1964 sweet tale and makes it into a new celluloid confectionery. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a gothic and yet colorful fantasy filled with the eccentricity only Burton gets to achieve as an auteur.
The mise-en-scéne of Charlie Bucket’s house is reminiscent of the classic film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Burton is a true patron of German Expressionism. The pale make-up, the weird props, sets and costumes, the exaggerated moves, the out-of-this world characterizations… they all give valid standpoints for a Burton film. He can turn any story into a dream world inspired by some dark or cruel event from the past. He loves engaging in the shadows and cartoony side of things and play around it in a saturated and/or expressionistic fashion.
From Dahl’s lunatic and imaginative world of imagination comes the chocolate factory as a children’s dream world resembling various candies and chocolates and flavorings – the lollipops, nuts, ‘jellies and fruities’ and the great chocolate falls… The heart of the factory, the chocolate room, mixes the sweets with technological advancements. The colorful vision and twitches are very much apparent. Creativity and audio-visual power makes the presentation of the story such a blast. The parade of seemingly cloned little people called the Oompa-Loompas portrayed by the single miniaturized actor Deep Roy adds a contour of playful fun to the factory world run by Willy and his midget workers.
The musical score (most of the lyrics taken directly from Dahl’s book) courtesy of Danny Elfman contribute to the fun, the weirdness and the obscurity of the director’s taste for the story and the filming. The emotional tones are dark and yet ironically colorful. It is full of witty flights of fancy. At a certain point, the plots get some creepy undertones. The sharp humor and sentimental moods are on the right places. As a welcome to his five guests and their parents, he comes up with a doll show with an ending of the dolls breaking down and burning up parallel to his experience as a child (involving his trauma with his estranged father who throws all his candies and chocolates into the fire). With all these, the audience tends to understand and empathize Willy Wonka’s grimaces and scowls.
Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is a fantasy candyland filled with a load of chocolific sounds and visuals. A film to be enjoyed by the impeccable tastes of both children and adults, it is definitely a classic in its own right.
Will Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator also get its movie adaptation in the future?