To say that Willy Wonka did not need to be remade is to merely state the extreme obvious. The late Gene Wilderís (For the slow witted, I am well aware that Gene Wilder is not PHYSICALLY dead. Only comedically dead, which is just as bad.) performance is brilliant, probably his best work in a very memorable career. The movie itself is a mad mix of childish fun and insidiously disturbed evil. Both actor and film deserve to be left untouched and untainted in perpetuity.
Of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory director Tim Burton would counter with the notion that his upcoming film is in fact not a remake, but a completely fresh adaptation based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on which Willy Wonka itself is based. To me, thatís a pretty thin excuse. Granted, Willy Wonka, as an adaptation, is not a perfect representation of what is contained in the novel. But as a deservedly classic bit of film, it should stand as the definitive representation of it. By re-adapting the novel, perhaps Burton isnít EXACTLY remaking Wonka, but he is second guessing it. Wilder and Wonka should be above that.
Should be, but they arenít and so the re-adapt goes forward with the best people possible for remaking a great movie that doesnít need to be remade. Barring the resurrection of Gene Wilder through advanced genetic cloning techniques, I suppose Johnny Depp is the best guy for the job. Perhaps heíll play Wonka as a top hat wearing Bon Jovi and gain another Oscar nomination. Burton, his string of mediocrity (Big Fish included) notwithstanding, is also still Burton. The director with an affinity and talent for making good things out of freaks, and at its heart the world of Wonka is really nothing but freaks.
The best people possible are on the job, the only problem here is that itís a job that doesnít need to be done. I suppose weíll all just have to grin and bear it.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 15, 2005
Starring: Freddie Highmore (Charlie), Johnny Depp (Willy Wonka), Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs. Bucket), David Kelly (Grandpa Joe), Christopher Lee (Wonka's Father), Annasophia Robb (Violet), Philip Wiegratz (Augustus), Julia Winter (Veruca)
Directed by: Tim Burton
Produced by: Brad Grey, Richard D. Zanuck
Written by: John August (screenplay)
if you're excited for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)