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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)

Release Date: July 15th, 2005 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Annasophia Robb, Jordan Fry, Julia Winter, Philip Wiegratz, Deep Roy
Directed by Tim Burton

BASIC PREMISE: Willy Wonka (Depp) leads five lucky children with their parents through his famous chocolate factory and must choose a very special winner among the children.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There are many amazing visuals throughout this very colorful movie. The opening credits lead you into an enchanting, mystifying place that is in sharp contrast to the stark, cold town that Charlie (Highmore) lives in. It does take a while until Charlie and the other four children enter this magical world of the chocolate factory, but the first act is a very good built-up of suspense for the second act that is a lot of pure fun. Each child has a unique characteristic that makes him or her stand out from the rest. Mike (Fry) is a video-game nerd, Augustus (Wiegratz) is a hungry fat boy, Violet (Robb) is an arrogant over-achiever, and finally Veruca (Winter) is a spoiled rich brat. If you love Johnny Depp, then you will enjoy every minute of this movie because he steals the show with his bizarre, darkly funny portrayal of Willy Wonka. He is not funny in the same way that Gene Wilder was in the original, but he is still a pleasure to watch. The most hilarious scene involves well-trained squirrels and any scenes with the Oompa-Loompas (all of which are played by Deep Roy). Unfortunately, the classic "Oompa-Loompa" song is not included, but the other musical numbers are still a lot of fun.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The fundamental message is that everybody needs a family no matter how old they are. Willy Wonka's childhood is very sad because he was ostracized from his family, thus making him very lonely and isolated throughout the rest of his life. That is, of course, until he meets Charlie, who changes his life in a very heartwarming and touching way. Each child's characteristics suggest a social commentary, but the two most thought-provoking ones include the spoiled rich girl who wants everything--and that means everything! And then there's the over-achiever that is reminiscent of Reece Witherspoon's character in Election. She and her mom both wear the same clothes and have the same style, too. The ending is very satisfying and uplifting because every character gets exactly what they deserve--including Willy Wonka.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: There are two lines of dialogue that imply cannibalism; they are meant for laughs, but they feel out of place and inappropriate young children.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A highly-entertaining movie with plenty of eye candy and lively musical numbers, but most significantly, it is a movie that celebrates the imagination and the importance of family.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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