Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ on Max

Though it’s tagged as a remake, Tim Burton returns to Roald Dahl’s original novel (and Dahl’s original title) for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), the second cinematic take on the offbeat fantasy.

Burton favorite Johnny Depp is downright odd (even for Depp) as the eccentric and reclusive chocolate mogul Willy Wonka, who has built his own private candy wonderland and shares it for one day with lucky kids who have found the golden tickets hidden in his Wonka Bars. Freddie Highmore (Depp’s co-star in Finding Neverland) is the plucky impoverished Charlie (he lives in a rickety home that looks like a melting gingerbread house) who becomes the heart that Wonka has lost in his isolation and Christopher Lee is Wonka’s dentist father, a character created specifically for the film.

Burton feeds his creative sweet tooth with delicious art direction and imaginative creations and composer Danny Elfman writes a goofy set of pop tunes to Dahl’s original lyrics. But for all of the flights of fantasy, Burton never quite finds the heartbeat that warmed the original classic with Gene Wilder, partly because this Willy Wonka is so disconnected and distracted, unable to relate to anyone, and partly because the other characters who spiced the original movie are all undercooked here. But it is never less than enchanting and entertaining.



David Kelly is Charlie’s Grandpa Joe, Helena Bonham Carter and Noah Taylor his smiling-through-the-storm parents, Annasophia Robb, Julia Winter, Jordon Fry, and Philip Wiegratz are the fellow ticket holders (Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop, respectively), Missi Pyle, James Fox, Adam Godley, and Franziska Troegner the parents, and Deep Roy is the Oompa Loompa workforce—every single singing-and-dancing one of them.

It earned an Oscar nomination for costume design.

Rated PG

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: 10th Anniversary [Blu-ray]
Beetlejuice / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (Triple Feature) [Blu-ray]
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [DVD]
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Two-Disc Deluxe Edition [DVD]

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All disc editions include the featurette “Becoming Oompa Loompa” (how actor Deep Roy became an army of Oompa Loompas), a set-top game, and the trailer. The Blu-ray and Two-Disc DVD includes seven additional featurettes and other supplements.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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