Stephen Speicher

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

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53 posts in this topic

That's sort of funny since it is reported that Depp used Marilyn Manson as his inspiration for the part.

I have always heard this, but I fail to believe it. Marilyn Manson seems so dark and depressing...which is totally not the view I got of Johnny Depp.

Well, it looks as if I may have been duped by imdb.com, which got it wrong. Apparently we can also cross out Michael Jackson. Here is a quote from Depp at MSNBC.

I've heard so many rumors that the character was based on Marilyn Manson. I even heard Michael Jackson but those things never entered into my mind ...

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Well, it looks as if I may have been duped by imdb.com, which got it wrong. Apparently we can also cross out Michael Jackson. Here is a quote from Depp at MSNBC.
I've heard so many rumors that the character was based on Marilyn Manson. I even heard Michael Jackson but those things never entered into my mind ...

That is honestly a relief. I'm not too fond of Marilyn Manson :) .

Thank you for posting the interview Stephen.

I am also pretty interested in Roald Dahl. Thank you Betsy for reminding me of Matilda...that really is a good movie that I haven't seen in awhile.

Does anybody know any other Roald Dahl works that have been made into movies? If so, are they as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda?

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Does anybody know any other Roald Dahl works that have been made into movies?  If so, are they as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda?

imdb.com is really pretty good for this stuff, despite their occasional mistake. Here is the entry for Roald Dahl. I was surprised to see that early-on he worked on some of the great old TV shows, like Cameo Theater and Alfred Hitchcock presents, and he even contributed to one of my favorite films, 36 Hours.

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imdb.com is really pretty good for this stuff, despite their occasional mistake. Here is the entry for Roald Dahl. I was surprised to see that early-on he worked on some of the great old TV shows, like Cameo Theater and Alfred Hitchcock presents, and he even contributed to one of my favorite films, 36 Hours.

Well the reason I ask (especially after viewing that site) is that the only two titles I've heard of are "James and the Giant Peach"(which I haven't seen), and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (which I enjoyed).

I might have to check out "36 Hours" however.

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For smart, talented, and ambitious, how about "Matilda" <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117008/> also based on a children's book by Rouald Dahl?

Yes, "Matilda" was a wonderful movie!!

For those of us who also came from families that didn't appreciate us (or actively opposed our values--or hated us) it was very heartwarming to see lovable Matilda triumph over all obstacles!

Her discovery of the library, and her pulling her wagon behind her loaded with books, were just beautiful.

There's another movie with a similar theme: the highly fictionalized "Young Tom Edison," from 1940 (starring Mickey Rooney). Many of the incidents were based (very loosely) on real occurrences, but with a lot of exaggeration. Though not literally true, it's still a classic portrayal of a misunderstood genius.

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Yes, "Matilda" was a wonderful movie!!

...

Her discovery of the library, and her pulling her wagon behind her loaded with books, were just beautiful.

That is one of my favorite scenes in the movie! Matilda loved to learn, and considered each book as sacred.

But it wasn't even books-it was learning itself. Remember the scene on her first day of school, and her brilliance in mathematics?

Great movie :).

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Magnificent acting in a great movie. Member Ed from OC put that movie up for rating here .

There is a Johnny Depp movie I like that no one seems to know about; the 1995 Nick of Time. Depp plays, believe it or not, an accountant, and he wears a business suit and glasses! I'd love to know where he got the inspiration for that role!  :)

I know that movie, with Christopher Walken as well. Good movie. Depp was on Inside the Actor's Studio a while ago. Although I only caught a piece of it, he was describing the influences of a certain character he portrayed, and he was speaking in terms of fifths. A fascinating, and odd, man.

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Magnificent acting in a great movie. Member Ed from OC put that movie up for rating here .

There is a Johnny Depp movie I like that no one seems to know about; the 1995 Nick of Time. Depp plays, believe it or not, an accountant, and he wears a business suit and glasses! I'd love to know where he got the inspiration for that role!  :)

I know that movie, with Christopher Walken as well. Good movie. Depp was on Inside the Actor's Studio a while ago. Although I only caught a piece of it, he was describing the influences of a certain character he portrayed, and he was speaking in terms of fifths. A fascinating, and odd, man.

They were replaying that show while I was at OCON 2005, and I caught about 2 minutes of it before I had to run. I should have brought my recorder with me! :) I'll look for the repeat. (I really love that Inside the Actor's Studio show.)

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I thought the movie was great. :) I also thought Johnny D. did a great job with his character. The movie in general was very funny. It was slightly different from the first one but thats was okay, because I did not want to see the same thing.

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I saw this film recently and I enjoyed it. I thought the directing was amazing and Depp's performance was excellent as well. I also liked that morality played a large role in the theme.

However, not to belittle the film, but a negative did stand out. First of all, I couldn't help but feel that the major theme of the movie was "and the meek shall inherit the earth". Charlie is a good kid, and he does show loyalty to his values (namely his family). But in comparison to the other kids which are shown being ambitious and *bad*, I take it that Charlie's greatest virtue was his humility. I would have liked it much better if Mike or Veruca had been the heroes; ie if ambition and intelligence were the defining characteristic for the heroic child. But, alas, that would be asking too much.

Perhaps if they remake the movie in a hundred years or so....

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However, not to belittle the film, but a negative did stand out. First of all, I couldn't help but feel that the major theme of the movie was "and the meek shall inherit the earth". Charlie is a good kid, and he does show loyalty to his values (namely his family). But in comparison to the other kids which are shown being ambitious and *bad*, I take it that Charlie's greatest virtue was his humility. I would have liked it much better if Mike or Veruca had been the heroes; ie if ambition and intelligence were the defining characteristic for the heroic child. But, alas, that would be asking too much.

Perhaps if they remake the movie in a hundred years or so....

How did Charlie not have intelligence, or ambition?

I think the point is much more about "excess" than anything. Notice that Violet had a "drive to win", but so much so that she was willing to ignore other things for her "drive". This means that she chose to break the rules by chewing the gum in order to "win". This ended up being her downfall. Charlie did indeed have ambition, but not to the point of excess.

Mike indeed was "intelligent". But he was so much so that he looked down upon others. He thought himself the most intelligent and everyone else stupid. Thus it was his excess that caused him to do something...stupid.

Every character had a vice of excess, and it was this excess that caused them to fall. Charlie on the otherhand was able to maintain his virtue in all areas. It was in fact Charlie's commitment to virtue (his value of family) that helped Willy Wonka out, and ended up allowing Charlie to prosper in the long run.

I also have one more question:

How is humility not a virtue?

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I also have one more question:

How is humility not a virtue?

Humility is defined as being humble. Humble is defined as thinking of oneself as being unworthy. From this understanding, I do not think someone that is humble could or would ever do anything great. I am generalizing somewhat here but I do not think they would ever think of doing anything outside what is considered normal because, "who are they to question". Most people that I meet who call themselves humble either do not know the definitional meaning or are lacking in self-esteem.

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JRoberts:

Humility, philosophically, is the opposite of pride. Reread Galt's speech to see what Ayn Rand says about humility.

As for "excess". I take it then that according to your interpretation, this story is a modern testament to the Ancient Greek virtue of "everything in moderation" with the vices being portrated as gluttony (excess love of food), greed (excess love of material possessions), and arrogance (excess or outragous arrogance). That's interesting. I'll have to think on it more.

But often times I feel that when judging a modern artwork, especially a movie, what they exclude is just as important as what they put in. I know some will disagree with that. But the fact that Charlie was understated while the intelligent and ambitious kids were depicted as unbearable brats spoke volumes (to me anyway). It was the caricature of a caricature. And an old tired one at that. For me, this greatly diminished the value of the movie.

As I said, I would have rather seen a movie where "excess" intelligence or ambition were portrayed as heroic and not been offered yet another meek, understated examplar of virtue.

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Humility is defined as being humble.  Humble is defined as thinking of oneself as being unworthy.  From this understanding, I do not think someone that is humble could or would ever do anything great.  I am generalizing somewhat here but I do not think they would ever think of doing anything outside what is considered normal because, "who are they to question".  Most people that I meet who call themselves humble either do not know the definitional meaning or are lacking in self-esteem.

RayK, I will be the first to say that the concept humility was polluted by Christianity. Being humble turned into a form of self-deprecation, which of course is not a thing to be fond of. However, there are people who considered humility a virtue; Socrates indeed was a very humble man, and Benjamin Franklin listed humility as one of his 13 Virtues.

I don't have an older dictionary, but Webster defines "humble" as "not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive". While I think they misapplied the word "pride", I believe the rest of the definition is perfect for being humble. How did Roark act in regards to Keating? Was he haughty and arrogant?

I would in this case draw a line between "Christian humility" and "Socratic humility". One is self-abasement, the other is a sense of moderation in temperament. Do you find fault with this?

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As for "excess". I take it then that according to your interpretation, this story is a modern testament to the Ancient Greek virtue of "everything in moderation" with the vices being portrated as gluttony (excess love of food), greed (excess love of material possessions), and arrogance (excess or outragous arrogance). That's interesting. I'll have to think on it more.

That is what I meant :).

But often times I feel that when judging a modern artwork, especially a movie, what they exclude is just as important as what they put in. I know some will disagree with that. But the fact that Charlie was understated while the intelligent and ambitious kids were depicted as unbearable brats spoke volumes (to me anyway). It was the caricature of a caricature. And an old tired one at that. For me, this greatly diminished the value of the movie.

Why are modern works subject to this form of judgment?

As I said, I would have rather seen a movie where "excess" intelligence or ambition were portrayed as heroic and not been offered yet another meek, understated examplar of virtue.

In regards to intelligence, I think Mike's vice was not "what he knew", but how he handled himself in regards to his intelligence. Using another Dahl movie, compare Matilda to Mike.

What characteristics of Charlie made him meek and understated in terms of virtue?

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RayK, I will be the first to say that the concept humility was polluted by Christianity.  Being humble turned into a form of self-deprecation, which of course is not a thing to be fond of.  However, there are people who considered humility a virtue; Socrates indeed was a very humble man, and Benjamin Franklin listed humility as one of his 13 Virtues.

I don't have an older dictionary, but Webster defines "humble" as "not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive".  While I think they misapplied the word "pride", I believe the rest of the definition is perfect for being humble.  How did Roark act in regards to Keating?  Was he haughty and arrogant?

I would in this case draw a line between "Christian humility" and "Socratic humility".  One is self-abasement, the other is a sense of moderation in temperament.  Do you find fault with this?

Jason,

My dictionary is the New Merriam-Webster and it defines the following words as:

humililty: the quality or state of being humble

humble: 1) not proud or haughty 2) not pretentious : unassuming 3) insignificant, meek, modest, lowly

To quote from the Ayn Rand Lexicon,

"Pride. Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man's values, it has to be earned....."

"The virtue of Pride can best be described by the term: "moral ambitiousness." It means that one must earn the right to hold oneself as one's own highest value by achieving one's own moral perfection....."

The words humble and pride are total opposites, someone who is humble would not have the "moral ambition" to seek out values. A person who thinks themselves unworthy would not question nor come to their own conclusions. The two men that you mentioned above held humility as a virtue which I think was a contradiction on their parts. But as we see through both of their histories, neither one of them lived by that standard (at least not by the defined meaning above), or they would have never achieved what they did.

I have another term for how I live, it is self-esteem.

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-----SPOILERS----------------------

I just went to see this movie in part due to the glowing recommendations I had read in this thread. BIG mistake! I must say, I emphatically disagree with nearly all of the praise that I have heard and seen about it. Now, I don't know what my opinion of it would be if I had never seen the original (it is possible that I would think of it as "hey not bad, at least the justice aspect is decent"), but honestly I have never been so disappointed by a movie in general, much less a remake.

Just to take up a few points about the execution, in no particular order:

(1) Johnny Depp. I admire Johnny Depp and I think he is an excellent actor--in every other movie he has done. I don't know what possessed him to approach the character of Willy Wonka as a neurotic, feeble, cynical weirdo. Contrast this to Gene Wilder's magnificent portrayal, which to me conveyed "eccentric but hard working and clever genius." Depp's character makes the whole existence of the factory and his brilliant inventions totally unbelievable. And he was not funny at all. He had perhaps one quip that made me laugh, whereas Wilder delivered them by the dozen, and they were benevolent, not mean (ex. [on bad habits] "I know a worse one." and "Quick, we have so much time and so little to do. Hold it! Scratch that, reverse it."). I could imagine Wilder's Wonka hard at work, solving problems, yet still being gay in life. With Depp's Wonka, my image is of him taking antidepressants on the side and sits with his shrink for half the work day.

(2) The Umpa-lumpas. Why the droves of sour-looking computer-generated men? They were undifferentiated replicas of the same guy. They were not likeable in any way; in fact they were outright creepy since they were simply shrunk down versions of a normal-sized actor. It reminded me of the creepy way in which some painters from the medieval period portrayed children as merely small adults with the same proportions. The whole primitive thing was a real turn-off.

(3) The songs of the Umpa-lumpas. Do you remember any of them? I saw the movie less than two hours ago, and I've forgotten them already. None is capable of being whistled or hummed (which is something a light musical interlude should be) and they were mostly incomprehensible. In the original, they used the same melody custom-fit the lyrics (which were clear and clever) to the subject child. It provided a nice integration, since you . In this version, they are so forced that Depp's Wonka even has to announce the first one with some lame line as "oh, and I think they've prepared a nice song for you" or whatever he says.

(4) Tim Burton. I am not anti-Tim Burton. I am not a huge fan, but I certainly did like Edward Scissorhands and I didn't have any problem with some of his other efforts. I just don't know what he was going for in this one; I hope this wasn't it.

(5) Danny Elfman. I normally like Danny Elfman's scores, a LOT. This sounded like Mr. Elfman handed his responsibilities over to an intern who is trying to be like Elfman and can't pull it off. This music does NOT have any of the ethereal, airy, fantasy-like charm that his other compositions have.

(6) The special effects. The computer animation in this movie just sucks the life out of it. In my opinion, It does NOT look better than real sets. It's fake, and it looks fake. And in a movie that is difficult to believe to begin with (a man constructs rivers of chocolate and so forth), then it is important to show that these things physically COULD be done, with real liquids flowing, etc., on a real set. When the doors open in the original, it was wondrous. Here it was ho-hum.

More things to bring up for which I don't have the time (I've already spent longer than I think this movie deserves):

i. My favorite part of the entire original--Wonka's brilliant entrance with the cane stuck in the ground and the tension-relieving somersault--was replaced by a gag that didn't work.

ii. The bubble scene, where Charlie and Grampa Joe do something wrong and thus give Wonka justification for being skeptical over Charlie's character for which Charlie must then later make up works better than the whole choice-over-family thing.

I could add some more but I'm not trying to make enemies here, nor eat up my entire night. I just wanted to contribute my opinion of this movie because it vastly differs from what has been thus far written.

It is hard for me to give this movie any credit whatsoever, since the only thing good about it (the plot and the good moral aspects that other people have already mentioned) were already given in the original and in the book. A second effort like this really cannot improve upon that aspect; it can only hope to improve upon the stylization of things and the presentation and the visuals, etc. And there I think it fails.

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Trying to rehabilitate the concept of humility, is a hopeless battle. It's been totally Christianized.

In the Objectivist world of the future, it will be universally execrated as a vice.

I'd recommend using a different word (perhaps an ancient Greek word) if what you're interested in defending is some kind of ancient Greek ideal.

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-----SPOILERS----------------------

I just went to see this movie in part due to the glowing recommendations I had read in this thread.  BIG mistake!  I must say, I emphatically disagree with nearly all of the praise that I have heard and seen about it.  Now, I don't know what my opinion of it would be if I had never seen the original (it is possible that I would think of it as "hey not bad, at least the justice aspect is decent"), but honestly I have never been so disappointed by a movie in general, much less a remake.

I agree with almost every point that you make. I think the original movie was far superior - Wilder's portrayal was superior (and he was an interesting and likeable character), the original Oompa-Loompa songs were memorable (years later I can still hum a few of them), the other acting was superior, etc.

I've never been a big fan of Burton's, though I recall Edward Scissorhands as being an interesting fantasy (note the deliberate homage to the movie a moment after Depp cuts the ribbon to the factory with big shears.) A thought that occurs to me is a connection between the deliberate "mysteriousness" injected by Stanley Kubrick into his making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Burton's way of making movies that have a deliberate, virtually nihilistic modern feel to them. Burton also pays homage to 2001 with the TV transporter scene.

The original movie did not have a modern nihilistic pall over it; it was just a good rendition of a fantasy.

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Trying to rehabilitate the concept of humility, is a hopeless battle.  It's been totally Christianized. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is an excellent point. The word humility, much like the word liberal (and possibly even the word selfish - despite our best efforts), has been confiscated and perverted past the point of no return. You really can't say "that what I mean by humility is the ancient Greek concept of moderate temperament" in today's context. And when you see humility being glorified in movies, it is the Christian humility, not any Greek version.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, IMO, was essentially a film praising regular old, garden variety Christian humility. Given that, it follows that the family values touch was added. It was a very cliched way to stress Charlie's lack of ambition and thus his humility. Further, I think the film was making a point by linking ambition or intelligence with arrogance. The mere fact that those two traits were displayed in the character of two unbearable brats with the further contrast with Charlie's virtuous humility make it, to me, a slap in the face to ambition and intelligence as well as pride.

As for the execution of the film, JMR raised some valid points. I'll have to wait till it comes out on video to judge the CGI and other special effects as I don't plan on seeing this movie again at the theatre. And I definitely second the comments made about the Umpa Lumpa songs. They were terrible and inaudible. The sound editor should give back his paycheck. I couldn't understand half of the words to the songs, and I saw it in a dolby fitted theatre. I also hated how they made the songs a spoof of various popular music types; ie rap, rock, etc. It seemed so second handed to me. The original songs were brilliant. The melody was addicting and it was tailored to each child.

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Trying to rehabilitate the concept of humility, is a hopeless battle.  It's been totally Christianized. 

[...]

I'd recommend using a different word ...

How about "modesty?" That has connotations of keeping great values to oneself and not making them an object of public display.

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How about "modesty?"  That has connotations of keeping great values to oneself and not making them an object of public display.

I love it! After reading Bill Bucko's point, I have to agree that the concept humility has been too destroyed by Christianity. But modesty does have a much more positive meaning.

RayK, I don't think that those two men held contradictions in their lives because I don't think (like you mentioned) that these men lived like the definition you provided. Maybe they were modest? :)

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I'm sorry that you did not like the movie Jared. I must say however,

The special effects. The computer animation in this movie just sucks the life out of it. In my opinion, It does NOT look better than real sets. It's fake, and it looks fake. And in a movie that is difficult to believe to begin with (a man constructs rivers of chocolate and so forth), then it is important to show that these things physically COULD be done, with real liquids flowing, etc., on a real set. When the doors open in the original, it was wondrous. Here it was ho-hum.

The candy room with the Chocolate river was real. They built the entire set and used a chocolate-looking water. Everything in that room, even the boat, was real.

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***YARGH, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD MATEY!***

"It was a very cliched way to stress Charlie's lack of ambition and thus his humility."

Ambition:

1:An eager or strong desire to achieve something, such as fame or power.

2:The object or goal desired: Her ambition is the presidency.

3:Desire for exertion or activity; energy: had no ambition to go dancing.

How on earth can you claim young Charlie had no ambition? Every time he got his hands on money he dashed off to buy a chocolate bar for a ridiculously, ridiculously, small chance of him winning the golden ticket. Or what about the chocolate factory replica he painstakingly built from defective toothpaste caps? Not to mention, we see him shining shoes at the end of the movie, clearly a sign of some form of ambition.

Meek

1. showing mildness or quietness of nature

2. showing submissiveness and lack of initiative or will

Ok, you *might* be able to fit 1 with Charlie but that wouldn't say much for an 8 year old of his physical and monetary stature, plus, 1 looks almost like a favorable disposition depending on interpretation (think of Kenobi from Star Wars).

I don't see how it is possible to fit 2 to Charlie at all, it is almost an antithesis of him. A child without initiative or will would never have built the toothpaste cap factory, a submissive child would have taken Wonka's offer instead of defying him, etc.

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