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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Worse Than Cat in the Hat

Remember those Fruit Rollup commercials where the kids are in the factory inventing stuff? Have you ever wondered what a feature length version of those commercials would be like? If so, you have your answer. It would be a lot like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I cannot fathom why this movie has been getting positive critical notices. After the first thirty minutes, which are standard but fine, it becomes a strong contender for the top five worst and most insulting films I have ever seen.

Though I can't possibly explain how wretched it is, I'll try to sum it up. The script is a meandering wreck that includes visual gags such as Oompa Loompas jamming on guitars, lines like, "Don't touch that squirrel's nuts!", and flashbacks that might as well be cued by harp music and Johnny Depp stroking his chin. The aesthetic of the factory, I'm not kidding, really is along the lines of a Fruit Rollup commercial. The computer effects remind me of Spy Kids 3D, without the 3D. To describe the songs as embarrassing is like describing the Civil War as a bummer. Tim Burton's idea of catering to adults as well as kids involves seeing a giant candy bar standing on end while the music from 2001 plays. The racial characterization of the Oompa Loompas is alarming at best (which I realize comes from the book, but it's still alarming).

And at the center of this disaster is Johnny Depp's performance. For one thing it is absolutely inexplicable, but what makes it awful is that it is without heart. The only good thing in sight is Freddie Highmore, who plays Charlie. Somehow he manages to be genuine, human, and insightful in the midst of a movie that is otherwise totally devoid of those qualities.

I cannot express how much I hate this film. Upon leaving the theater I was shocked and angry. Angry. And why I say that it may be worse than Cat in the Hat is that at least Cat in the Hat is bad in an empty juvenile way. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is bad in a much deeper way. It's not just empty crap, but rather filled to the brim with the worst kind of ideas. It's filled with the kind of stuff that not only makes a bad film, but degrades mainstream cinema in general. The most depressing thing about it is that all this comes not from hacks, but from people with talent -- and with the endorsement of critics. Words can't capture the terrible feeling this film gave me. See it for yourself if you dare.


**Thanks to Ben Stambler for pointing out the similarity to Fruit Rollup commercials.**
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9:11 AM

wow that was the funniest thing i have ever read. touche, aaron    

2:25 PM

100% agree. (and Freddy Highmore deserves an oscar nomination for his ability to shine through a pile of shit and be the only thing worth taking away - "Candy doesn't have to have a point. That's why it's candy!" This moment sums up my review of the "film")    

11:10 PM

BrITTYN: uh that person is stupid
BrITTYN: and they need to stop being so picky
BrITTYN: i've seen far worse movies
BrITTYN: johnny depp was funny and weird
BrITTYN: the oompa loompas had funny amusing songs and dances
BrITTYN: they were catchy
BrITTYN: better than the original    

6:32 AM

First of all - Aaron just got schooled (see above).

Second of all - Fred Highmore* isn't the ONLY redeeming thing about the movie. The Hall of Flags scene is brilliant, despite being a gag that probably could have been in any film and still made me laugh. But maybe that's just me.

*my attempt to be LA    

6:33 AM

Oh - and yes, the film does have many problems. The Grandfather was good.    

3:57 PM

wedding crashers rules!    

12:26 AM

Chad: Wedding Crashers is good.

Ryan: As for being schooled, I figured that the comments made by "anonymous" (aka: "BrITTYN") spoke for themselves. I guess not, so, in response:

-I am smart.
-I'm not picky, I just don't like cynical, wretched, culture eroding crap foisted on me and the world.
-I have seen far worse movies as well, but they are NCSA 5 minutes and they don't count.
-acting weird is not in of itself a good thing. i could act weird right now and it would not be good or funny or heartfelt. johnny depp's performance is to genuine weirdness as Hot Topic is to punk rock.
-the oompa loompa dances devastated my soul. i guess if you are amused by lowest common denominator pop culture references that a five year old who watches the e network is sure to get, then the oompa loompa dances are great.
-they are not catchy.
-this is better than the original in the same way that The Truth About Charlie is better than Charade.    

11:54 AM

As someone that tried and failed to keep friends from going to see it last night, and had to endure them telling me how shitty it was, despite the fact that I had already told them; I say to you, Aaron:



12:25 PM

Can I just say that I haven't thought about Ben Stambler in....wait for it...seven or eight years. The last time I saw Ben was at Saving Private Ryan in Charlotte, North Carolina. I remember thinking he was my generation's Henry Rollins. I hope next time you see Ben Stambler, Aaron, that you have the good sense to tell him Matt Cloud says hello and I'll never forget the valuable lesson he taught me involving a billiards ball and a tube sock.


10:39 PM

Geez, aaron. I really wish that you hadn't gone and given your money to that flick on opening weekend. Oh well, at least you were punished, but c'mon man. What are you doing?    

11:34 AM

I did not, in fact, pay to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I paid to see Wedding Crashers and then hopped over to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So I think that's a pretty good "fuck you" for Tim Burton.    

10:24 PM

that's an excellent one Aaron. Basic faith in you restored.    

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