Saturday, July 16, 2005

Some questions for Willy Wonka

When a movie is really bad, you can start asking a few too many questions.

The first one is: Can America's film critics be wowed by some bright colors and bad sight gags?

How else to explain the overwhelmingly positive response to Tim Burton's remake/reimagination/regurgitation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?" This film is awful. And it got an 82% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. That's an insignificant two points lower than "Batman Begins," the year's best studio film by far. I know Rotten Tomatoes doesn't count how intensely the positive or negative opinions are, but that's not good enough. Reviews for "Charlie" should, nay must, be negative.

This won't be a full blown review. Suffice it to say that the movie isn't original at all. It's an inferior literal retelling of the book with an obviously TACKED ON -- as in the movie stops for flashbacks and then has a 15 minute epilogue after the main story is over -- subplot about Willy Wonka's daddy issues that made him the wackjob he is today. And the jokes are AWFUL. Avoid this piece of crap like the plague.

Interestingly, the only review I found that got it right is from this odd site called Juicy Cerebellum. Kudos to them.

Because "Charlie" is so bad, I was uninvolved and started thinking about how weird and disturbing many parts of the story are. I never thought about this stuff before when seeing the original movie or reading the book, but now I can't get the following concerns out of my head:

-Where does the owner of a chocolate factory get off judging a fat kid? Isn't that like Joe Camel tut-tutting in the emphyzema ward?

-Violet Beauregard's big sin is she chews gum. Do we live in Singapore? I don't care how innocent things ever were at any time in any place. There is no way that obsessive gum chewing should ever count as one of the top four sins of a child (this film tries to cover that up by making Violet's issue competitiveness, but it's very half-hearted).

-Mike Teavee in this version is presented as a really smart, albeit obnoxious kid, who had the gall to use a computer to figure out how to get the golden ticket (don't ask me how that's possible) and then accurately pointed out why you can't transport chocolate over a TV signal. The nerve of him! I sure am glad Willy Wonka put that smartass in his place. (admission: I have a soft spot for smart but obnoxious children for reasons related to my own childhood)

-Either Charlie's four grandparents have entirely lost their sexual desires or there are some very kinky things going on in that bed they all share.

-I won't even get into the whole Oompa Loompa issue. Suffice it to say that Tim Burton doesn't help the racial questions by having one actor portray every single one of them.

1 comment:

rone said...

-Either Charlie's four grandparents have entirely lost their sexual desires or there are some very kinky things going on in that bed they all share.

Maybe we could treat C&tCF as a sequel to "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice".