December 21, 2004

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

There aren’t too many movies that I get excited about months and months in advance. In fact I haven’t even been out to see a movie for the longest time, since we’re raising our son Sam without babysitters for the first couple of years. Most everything that’s come out recently hasn’t been worth a trip out to the multiplex anyway, and I’ve been more than happy to wait until they come out on DVD. If I see them at all.

But one project I’ve been following, not just for months but for years, is the new adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It seems like every big director and every big star has been attached to this project in the last decade, with one of the most prominent rumors being that Tim Burton would direct and Marilyn Manson would star as Willy Wonka. That mercifully turned out to be just as false as the other rumors, at least the Marilyn Manson part, but the thought of Tim Burton directing stuck with me, even as he came out with stinkers like Planet of the Apes. And in the end he actually did get the job, proving that even the rumormongers guess right sometimes.

The first thing Tim Burton did was hire Johnny Depp to play Mr. Willy Wonka, something I don’t even think the rumormongers saw coming. The second thing he did was to throw out all the previous scripts that had been written and bring in his own screenwriter, John August. And I heard that John August had never seen the first movie, the Gene Wilder one, so he asked Tim Burton if he should watch it before writing the sceenplay. Tim Burton told him, “Absolutely not.” This is a not a remake of the original film, this is something new based on the same book. Now I like the first film (unlike some people), but I know that it was a pretty big departure from the book. Tim Burton’s movie should stick a little closer to the off-kilter tone of the book, but we’ll have to wait to see just how much of himself he puts into it.

And wait we had to. At the point Tim Burton was announced as director, the release date was still two years away, so it was going to be a long wait. When filming started last summer, I thought that it wouldn’t be long until pictures of the sets and the costumes started to find their way onto the internet. I didn’t know that it would be another half-year before we’d get to see anything, and that the first glimpses of the art direction on this movie would come from an official trailer.

But that’s the way it worked out. Last week I got an early Christmas present when the first 55-second teaser for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released. You can find it at Yahoo Movies, and also at a new official site. In some ways it’s everything I imagined, and yet it’s also completely different. Tim Burton’s stamp is most definitely on this movie, unlike Planet of the Freaking Apes, which it seems was phoned in by just about everybody involved. This movie goes back to the Beetle Juice/Nightmare Before Christmas era of creating a madcap world and taking the audience on a ride through it. But my words can never take the place of pictures, so let’s dissect some of the imagery, shall we? Click through to see screencaps from the trailer.

One of the first scenes in the trailer is this view of the Chocolate Room. This is what I’m talking about when I say Tim Burton’s stamp is on this movie. This doesn’t look like a factory, it looks like some dark creepy forest. This ain’t your father’s Chocolate Room.

Veruca Salt and her parents. Looks like they managed to get a girl that looks just like the one from the first movie. They definitely got the parents just right, though. Rich and snooty through and through.

Violet and Mrs. Beauregarde. Doesn’t this one shot just tell you everything about the characters? Right down to the matching jogging suits. Something tells me that her father isn’t going to be a used car salesman in this movie.

And here’s Mr. Willy Wonka himself. This is 100% not how I imagined him looking, but I’m willing to go with it. Looks like they’re going with the pale skin and too-pink lips to show that he never gets any sun. I think Wonka could use some laying out time at the beach.

The Television-Chocolate Room, where Mike Teavee meets his end. Stark and soulless and perfect.

Charlie and Grandpa Joe. And, presumably, Grandma Josephine there in the bed. They got David Kelly, probably best known from Waking Ned Devine, to play Grandpa Joe. At age 75 he’s at least a little closer to the right age for the part than Jack Albertson was, at 64. Grandpa Joe is actually supposed to be 96 years old, but the pool of available actors that age is probably pretty small.

Charlie is played by Freddie Highmore, who worked with Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland.

The whole group watching Augustus Gloop go up the pipe. Notice that each kid only has one parent, and unlike the 1971 film, Mike Teavee brought his father, and Violet brought her mother (with matching jogging suits again). In the book all the kids (except Charlie) bring both parents. That’s something they changed for both movies – a cast of 11 must be easier to manage than 15.

The boat in the chocolate river. A nice shiny pink boat, shaped like a dragon, with an army of miniature Oopma-Loopmas manning the oars.

Wonka in the Great Glass Elevator. This is a little more what the elevator is supposed to look like. Completely clear, with hundreds of little black buttons taking you to any room in the factory. And look at some of the rooms—“Mechanical Clouds”, “Orange Egg Flip”, “Nice Plums”, “Heart Shaped Lungs”. Some work sure went into this set.

Wonka’s factory. Looks like it would fit in perfect in Gotham City. And Wonka’s wearing those huge dark glasses, showing again that he doesn’t get very much sun. Must be fun being a hermit. Is this what Charlie has to look forward to in forty years?

So that’s a first look at the movie. Just enough to get your appetite up. But we still have seven months more until the release date of July 2005. And I’m sure there will be at least a couple more full-length trailers in that time. But this is plenty enough to let me know the film will be a treat for the eyes. Let’s hope the movie itself is more like Big Fish and less like Planet of the Apes.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

Comments (274)

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  1. michelle says:

    hey, wat up!! i’m totally going to our fair tonight with my bff, hopefully, i’m going to go on tons of rides and eat funnel cake(mmmm…) and like just fave tons of fun… well, bye!!! (i love jordan fry!!!!) πŸ™‚ well obviously but anyways as i was saying BYE!!!!!

    Posted July 29, 2008 @ 10:38 am
  2. michelle says:

    ok, fisrt off i gotta say that i was on, last night, and i read a story about a girl who supposedly wrote about jordan fry and her, it’s a weird story, and it has to be false, cause its just like i dont know??? πŸ™ but anyways as i was saying, she said what his house was like… SHE SAID THIS: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and pool and a jakuzi, and its a 2 story also, my house is actually like that too…!!! hehe:)

    Posted August 1, 2008 @ 8:04 am
  3. vicky says:

    oo yea. he has like 4 houses lol.
    well i moved to temecula :[[[

    noooooooooooooooooooooooooo :[[[[[[[[[[[

    Posted August 11, 2008 @ 11:31 pm
  4. michelle (i still totally love jordan fry!!! auh... says:

    hello, so um yah vicky i just wanted to say hi!!!! i’m soon going to get my own email soon… maybe you could email me when i get my own and we can chat about jordan fry!!!! i’m importing songs to my ipod right now!!!! it totally sux we start school on monday whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! well, bye love ya jordan fry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 xoxoxoxoxoxoxox πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Posted August 16, 2008 @ 10:01 am
  5. aman says:

    yo…this movies dumb…..the first one is better and more realistic

    Posted August 18, 2008 @ 10:40 am
  6. michelle says:

    yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. we have storms coming!!! wow, theres like tons of severe stuff πŸ™ well i like storms and oh yah i started school already and i have jordan fry pics on my locker, binder, and other stuff lol πŸ™‚ anyways bye!!!! xoxoxox

    Posted August 23, 2008 @ 7:16 am
  7. michelle says:

    πŸ™‚ oh yah i started school already and i have jordan fry pics on my locker, binder, and other stuff lol πŸ™‚ anyways bye!!!! xoxoxox

    Posted August 23, 2008 @ 7:17 am
  8. michelle says:

    hey people, im spending the night @ my bff’s house tonight!!! then, were going to church in the morning where there will be games, jump houses, and flying pancakes like last year!!!! so cool!!!!!!!!

    Posted August 30, 2008 @ 6:41 am
  9. michelle says:

    hey guys, charlie and the… is on disney channel @ 8:00 tonight so cool… hurricane ike is going to come our way and theres going to be storms from it (bummer) heavy rain, storms, flooding, there calling for like 6.8 inches, so yah, anyways i love jordan fry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol πŸ™‚ see ya’ll

    Posted September 13, 2008 @ 5:10 pm
  10. Hehe says:

    i saw it only disney channel
    omg Mrs. Beauregarde is hotttt!

    Posted September 14, 2008 @ 2:23 pm
  11. Gabe Logan says:


    Posted October 7, 2008 @ 5:18 am
  12. vicky says:

    oh hey michelle.
    how ya been?


    oh n add my emial..

    Posted October 13, 2008 @ 9:53 pm
  13. vicky says:

    aw man.
    jordan is 15 now wtf?

    Posted October 13, 2008 @ 9:56 pm
  14. says says:

    where is the masion they used- I know its in buckinghamshire but where?

    Posted October 15, 2008 @ 4:00 pm
  15. michelle says:

    oh hi i’m good, yah jordan’s 15 now, well june 7 he was so yah… nice to see ya on here again

    Posted October 16, 2008 @ 3:22 pm
  16. michelle says:

    oh yah how are you… i was wanting to talk to you earlier… sorry i couldnt respond earlier but yah, bye

    Posted October 16, 2008 @ 3:24 pm
  17. michelle says:

    hey guys i’m finally back!!! saturday is my 13th b-day!!!! yah!!!!! and today were off from snow!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehe… anyways πŸ™‚ i love jordan fry lots!!!! xoxo-michelle

    Posted December 16, 2008 @ 6:41 am
  18. michelle says:

    YAH!!! early dismissal today!!!! were having snow today!!! BYE LOVE U JORDAN FRY!!!!

    Posted January 27, 2009 @ 1:12 pm
  19. michelle says:

    WOW!!! im back, i probably wont be on here really anymore, ive been busy with school and stuff, and hanging out with my friends, so ive got better things to than stay on here and stuff. i still love jordan fry and all, no one gets on here anymore so whats the point in coming here and typing stuff no one reads? well i gotta go… if anything amazing happens, i will be here, so bye!!! I love Jordan Fry and (Fred Figglehorn)

    Posted March 17, 2009 @ 1:47 pm
  20. michelle says:

    oh and our spring break is all this week, and next monday SO COOL

    Posted March 17, 2009 @ 1:47 pm
  21. michi says:

    wow im back um i havent been here in like forever i said some weird stuff wow :S um ok thats just wow but ya im gonna stop comin cuz this place is stupid now so ya ive got better things to do than type stuff so ya im done ……

    Posted September 7, 2009 @ 12:55 pm
  22. Lara says:

    hmmmmm…… i like grapes

    Posted October 14, 2010 @ 7:03 pm
  23. Lara says:


    Posted October 14, 2010 @ 7:03 pm
  24. Lara says:

    so i am sitting here with gracie and gabby

    Posted October 14, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

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