Roald Dahl's 1964 classic, about a good-hearted poor boy who tours a fabulous factory owned by a profoundly weird man-child, inspired a 1971 film starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolate-maker. But the combination of Tim Burton's gift for dazzling visual invention and Dahl's taste for the macabre make this remake a far richer experience. Burton creates a fantasy world so complete and credible that we're immediately drawn down the rabbit hole and happily yield to his radically altered laws of logic and the odd shapes of his dreams. Johnny Depp, as the new Willy, is exponentially more bizarre than the Wilder character, with a hint of Michael Jackson theatricality. As if the factory were not a world of wonders in itself, Burton also piles on some clever homages to his favorite movies; Charlie is so jam-packed with movie references and visual dazzle that you may find yourself exhausted by the time Burton and screenwriter John August (Charlie's Angels, Big Fish) get us to the inevitable (and inevitably deflating) denouement.
Tim BurtonJohnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham-Carter, David Kelly, Noah Taylor, Deep Roy, James Fox, Missi Pyle, Christopher Lee, Philip WeigratzJohn AugustBrad Grey, Richard D. ZanuckWarner Bros. Pictures