I wasnt sure what to expect from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In other words, I was unclear whether it featured the Tim Burton who made gripping and visually stunning films during the 90s (Edward Scissorhands , Ed Wood , Sleepy Hollow ), or the one whos directed bland Hollywood "products" so far this decade (Planet of the Apes , Big Fish ). While it doesnt compare well with his best work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a competent effort from Burton, along with being a minor-improvement over Mel Stuarts Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), the original adaptation of Roald Dahls classic book. However, since the new version is surrounded by many better films intended for children, it wont be granted the status given to the old one.
*The early sequences between Charlie and his family were interesting and well done (no cheesy musical numbers this time around). Charlies residence looked like one of the dilapidated sheds from Sleepy Hollow, but it was just as impressive as any of the CGI work in the film.
*The initial puppet-show a bit awkward (but Burton more or less made up for it by taking us to the "hospital" later on where the "victims" were being treated.) And then, it was difficult NOT to think of Michael Jackson when Wonka first appeared; more disturbingly, I also thought of Prince. (Perhaps Im the one who needs help.)
*If I remember correctly, Stuarts film wasnt very crisp moving from one set-piece to another. Burtons doesnt waste much time in-between. Wonkas backstory, an addition by screenwriter John August, is fine, although it couldve been employed more effectively.
*Enjoyed the treatment received by the spoiled brat. The squirrels were simply doing their job, so there was nothing malicious about it. However, the following Kubrickian sequence just looked out of place, and thus didnt work as well.
*Every now and then, the theme music of the original film starts playing in my head. Its hard to shake it off. Cant say that there was anything special about the score (Danny Elfman) in Burton's effort.
*The performances were first-rate, and helped accentuate the overall message of the film.