Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It's been maybe three decades since I read the book / watched the 1971 movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's disturbing tale of events at a chocolate factory, so although some of the elements here were familiar, I still came to this pretty fresh.

As a film in its own right, I was hooked. The music, surreal concepts and eerie design had me transfixed from fairly early on. It's helped by investing so much of that first half hour in establishing Charlie and his family, making them believable and fun before plunging us into the weird world of broken-down cocoa beans.

The cast are all outstanding, and even the editing had me chuckling in places. Be warned however, the special effects are lazy right from the extensive CGI factory in the opening credits. Reusing the same actor over and over for the surreal Oompa-Loompas is one thing, but not for Mr Salt's human employees at his nut shelling business.

Some fun lines though, particularly pointing out the holes in the film's own story. When Mike Teavee protests that people cannot materialise within the two-dimensional world of a TV image, he verbalises something I've wanted to tell programme-makers since I was a teenager, but never known the concepts to express.

"You don't understand anything about science! First off, there's a difference between waves and particles! DUH!"

It's a good job that Mike isn't around earlier on to point out the slim probability of a golden ticket finder living just one street away from the factory. Or to ask how Charlie could have built an entire model of Willy Wonka and his factory out of toothpaste tops without ever having heard the story of how his live-in Grampa used to work there.

All right, I'll stop mumbling...

Throw in the great Christopher Lee, and all in all I really enjoyed this.

Really feel like I should go visit the dentist now though.

Available here.

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