The other night Dana and I saw Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve received mixed recommendations about this movie, but Dana and I are fans of Burton’s quirky, gothic sensibilities and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We did note afterwards that while almost every aspect of the movie seemed to capture the spirit and tone of the novel perfectly, Johnny Depp’s interpretation of Willie Wonka did not. I suppose it was appropriate to the added backstory that the movie dwelled upon, but I’d have to agree with several reviewers that there is something disturbingly Michael Jackson-esque about Depp’s Wonka.
We also noted that the inner ambience of the Chocolate Factory seemed more candy-like than chocolatey. Which is a shame, since it almost misses the point of Dahl’s near-allegorical message about the pitfalls of childhood. It’s even more apparent today how over-consumption, over-indulgence, over-stimulation, greed, and naked ambition have crowded out the God-given graces of curiosity, kindness, and character in kids. When you give them a world of surface, without depth, subtlety, ambiguity, and complexity, you end up robbing their imagination and childhood. Wonka in the movie notes that chocolate has a chemical that makes you fall in love, which is just apt for we know that love and life, like chocolate, ought to be bittersweet.
Extra: Slate magazine has an interesting article about the historical context of Roald Dahl’s novel.
food, chocolate, roald dahl, charlie and the chocolate factory, movie, tim burton, johnny depp, parenting, children