Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: An Awesomely Twisted Adaptation

Awesome Adaptations is hosted by Picture Me Reading, and is a focus on book-to-movie adaptations that we think are awesome! Today’s topic is an awesomely twisted adaptation.

I learned a few weeks ago from the Top 10 Tuesday topic of Best/Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations that a lot of people don’t like this 2005 movie at all. But I am a proud fan of this movie, and I want you to hear me out!


First off, I do really like the original adaptation, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. I like some of the songs (some others… not so much) and there are a lot of fun elements of it. And of course, it was my introduction to Willy Wonka’s world, since I never have read the book (I think I’ll have to remedy this sometime though). But there are some things I don’t like about it. Mostly, the oopma lommpas. They scare the crud out of me. I mean, seriously, look at them:

And their songs… *Shudder*

And the whole thing with Charlie and the fizzy lifting drinks, where technically he broke the rules like the other kids but didn’t get caught right away and made things right in the end… I just don’t like it. It’s interesting because even Freddie Highmore (who played Charlie in the 2005 adaptation) said, “I think the original film is good, but I think it’s better now because Charlie is kept more pure.” I love the Charlie in the new film so much more. I sympathize with him much more and root for him much more. I know it’s great to have flawed characters, I’m not trying to say it’s not, but Charlie is a good kid who loves his family and works hard to do the right thing, and I think that shows so much more in the 2005 film.

The theme of family is the other big reason why I think this film is great. We get Willy Wonka’s back story of his childhood and with his dad, and Charlie is actually able to help the Wonkas restore their relationship. Tim Burton said of his version of Wonka: “You want a little bit of the flavor of why Wonka is the way he is. Otherwise, what is he? He’s just a weird guy.” I can understand the appeal of the mystery of Willy Wonka, but I like this take too.

I know Johnny’s Depp’s portrayal of Wonka is strange (twisted, you might say), but he’s oh-so-quotable…

And he does have a nice character arc, which I always appreciate in a story.

And I think all the kids were done just as well in this movie as they were in the original, though I was a little sad that I didn’t get to see the new Veruca Salt sing, “I Want it Now.” Fave part of the original movie!

And for my last argument, apparently Ronald Dahl actually disapproved of the original film. And when there was discussion of rebooting the movie before 2005, it stalled out due to producers/directors and the Dahl estate not seeing eye-to-eye on the vision of the film, wanting a movie that better reflected the author’s true intentions for the story. When Burton came around and talked to Dahl’s widow and daughter, he entered Dahl’s writing shack and exclaimed it was the Bucket home, to which Lucy thought, “Thank God, somebody gets it.”

(All quotes taken from the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Wikipedia page)

So give it a chance! Maybe you saw it once and disregarded it, but I like it better now than I did the first time I saw it myself.

Tell me what you do like about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Or why don’t you like it?

Also, on the related note of adaptations, The Book Thief trailer is out! It looks good, but it’s a little sad without the whole Death narrator element. I guess we’ll see…

EDIT*UPDATE: Death will be narrating the movie!:

19 Responses to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: An Awesomely Twisted Adaptation

  1. Johnny Depp terrifies me! Just saying. I think he single handedly made the 2005 adaptation not as well liked for me. I just found him creepy. Even more creepy than the first movie (which also proved to be disturbing).
    I agree that I did like 2005 Charlie better. I didn’t like the whole getting away with the fizzy lifting drinks either, though he does later apologize and confess. 🙂
    I still loved the original more… Partly for the strange little Oompa Loompas, but mostly for the music and framiliarity.
    I feel like both strayed from the book at points (what movie doesn’t?), but I still preferred the first one by a landslide. Maybe mostly because I loved the first so much, so the second couldn’t compare. And also because I am scares of Johnny Depp.

  2. I definitely loved the old one, but I love the new one as well. I think the old one will always have a place in my heart because I love Gene Wilder and I grew up with it. But, I LOVE Johnny Depp and while I get that he terrifies most people, I love that he is willing to put himself out there and be crazy. I think that takes balls. I really think Willy Wonka would be one crazy eccentric guy being locked up in a candy factory with Oompa Loompas all day, and so I love that that comes through in Johnny’s performance. Plus, Gene got a little scary at the end of his movie. I never liked that bit. And I think you make a good point about Charlie being more pure. So yeah. I like them both. (Though I haven’t read the story, so can’t say how they compare to the book!)

  3. OHMYGOD this movie was my CHILDHOOD! I didn’t even know people didn’t like it D: I’ve seen the original version, but the newer one was more accurate, if I remember correctly. And the Oompa Loompas too– I liked their songs a whole lot better 😀 And Freddie Highmore is just so adorable! He still is, even as a grown up guy, but I keep coming back to this movie when I need the feel good vibes. Always works for me. Johnny Depp looks nothing like Johnny Depp in this movie, but I totally approved of his acting here. So yeah, great topic Amy 😀

    • Yes, the new oopma loompa songs are so much better in my opinion! So glad to know someone else likes the movie so much! And yes, love Freddie Highmore! Have you seen him and Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland? If not, get your tissues ready!

  4. I was never a big fan of the Willy Wonka films, but I enjoyed both movies! I think I just like everything Johnny Depp is in no matter how weird. 😀

    Ah I have The Book Thief to read – I need to get to it soon cause the trailer looks amazing!

  5. First off: YAY for Death narrating the movie!!! That makes me even MORE excited to see it!!! <3 <3 <3

    As for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I find it really interesting (and perhaps frustrating) that Dahl actually disapproved of the first movie and that somehow the second version is more *right*. To be quite honest, I really didn't like the Johnny Depp version. I thought it was just icky and uncomfortable and weird (although maybe that's what they were going for?). I mean, I guess I kinda felt that way about the first version, but the newer version just make me want to run from the room, lol.

    Although, I do agree that Wonka had a nice character arc in the newer version.

    • To be fair, Dahl was not alive to see the second film, but his widow and daughter liked it much more. Apparently Tim Burton got to read some of the original writings of the story that ultimately did not make the cut, so I guess something in those writings may have inspired the tone, I don’t know.

  6. The first one has always been my favorite, and because of that, and some of the different levels of weirdness in the new one, I didn’t like the new one as much. Having read your perspective on it, and Dahl’s and Burton’s thoughts, I’d love to watch them again back to back and see what I think now. It’s been years since I’ve seen Burton’s version and really need to refresh my memory.

    I always disliked Charlie breaking the rules with the fizzy lifting drinks in the first one as well, and everything being made magically okay in the end. It was completely out of his character to do that and felt like it was added in just for dramatic effect. The newer Charlie is definitely much more charming (and sad and relatable).

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