Movies

It's been a while since I posted some random movie thoughts, so here we go:

-I love how Before Sunrise/Before Sunset are basically one movie. Each movie is incomplete without the other, and even run back to back they are shorter than any Peter Jackson movie. I also love how many of the small moments of Before Sunrise are mirrored in Before Sunset. Small moments like Jesse reaching out to brush back Celine's hair, becomes Celine reaching out while Jesse is talking about his life, but both pull back before contact is made. And the long silent shot in the record store, becomes a long silent shot that tracks them up the stairs to Celine's apartment. Even the characters' relative positions are mirrored (if he is on the left and she is on the right in one movie, they will be switched in the mirror scene from the other movie.)

This next whack of ideas all deserve their own title, because this is the real reason for this post.

Comparing the Chocolate Factories

-I think I can now say definitively that I prefer Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (CCF) better than the old "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (WWCF). Almost everything about Burton's film is better than the original. The only exceptions I've found are: the Oompa Loompas themselves (not their songs), the Salt Family, the Gloop family, and Gene Wilder. But it's even hard to say that Gene Wilder was better, because the character of Willy Wonka is so different between the two movies.

In WWCF, Willy Wonka is an aging chocolateer who needs a replacement. He acts a bit of a prick, but overall he is just a good-natured, slightly odd guy who breaks into the frequent song. In CCF, Wonka is truer to the real character of the book. He is an awkward, slightly odd, hermit who has issues with his father. Beyond that, there is the indication that he engineered the scenarios to tempt the children and knock them out of the running for the grand prize, he even nudges the characters into it. In WWCF, Wonka tries harder to make sure no one breaks the rules. In CCF, Wonka tempts them into it.

That is also one reason why Charlie is so much better in Burton's movie as well. Not only is the actor playing Charlie leaps and bounds above that old blonde jackass, but his character as a whole is better. In WWCF, Charlie was a jerk like all the other kids. He stole Fizzy Lifting Drink, he wasn't that great with the candy, and sure he gave back the Gobstopper, but that's probably cuz he knew he'd give it to Slugworth if he took it. In CCF, Charlie is a really good kid. He never steals anything at the factory. He offers to sell the ticket to get money for his poor family. He refuses to go with Wonka and leave his family behind. He helps get Wonka back together with his father (for the most awkward hug ever shared on film.) And above that, this Charlie seems to really understand candy, Wonka's process, and the factory.

The backup characters are better too. The Beauregardes are better, with their matching track suits and "winner" attitudes. The Oompa Loompa songs are better. The Teavees are way better. In WWCF, Mike Teavee was just an annoying little kid with a lisp and a cowboy suit. In CCF, Mike Teavee is a kid with some aggression problems who is also a scientific/mathematical genius. The kid fucking figured out an algorithm to find a Golden Ticket! He cracked the system and only had to buy one bar and he found the ticket. The Bucket family is almost all better. Grandpa Jo and Grandma Josephine are about the same in either movie. Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina are far better; they are both hilarious. Mr. Bucket didn't exist in WWCF, but Noah Taylor rocked anyway. Helena Bonham Carter is far better than the Mrs. Bucket from WWCF. The old Gloops and Salts were better though.

WWCF was more openly comical and absurd, while in CCF that is all a little more subtle. Where WWCF would have the hands coming out of the walls for the coat rack, and everyone on screen reacts to it a little too much, in CCF it's not something that is really focused on. It still has the absurdity, like Willy's childhood home literally not being there when he gets back (probably within an hour of his running away,) and then that home being in the middle of a snowy field. Or how in WWCF, Grandpa Jo reads aloud the names of the different "Cream" rooms, until getting to "Hair Cream" which is hit hard. In CCF, you've got to read it for yourself and catch that joke.

I love "Pure Imagination". I love Gene Wilder's entrance. I love that creepy boat ride from WWCF. I love how perfectly Veruca and her father were cast in WWCF. I love the vermicious knids, and snozberries, and the little shots like "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." But Burton simply made a better film with an overall better cast and better characters. And I love how much more to the book Burton was. One of my favorite parts of the book was near the end when Charlie sees all of the other kids leaving the factory, and Burton did that wonderfully. I always wanted that scene in the first movie, but they wouldn't have had the special effects to make a stretched out Mike Teavee.

The style that Burton brings to the table is a big improvement too. The factories themselves were each amazingly designed in their own rights. The big difference was the town around the factory. Can you remember what anything outside of the factory looked like in WWCF? Is it possible to forget that lonely crooked house that the Buckets live in in CCF?

As much fun as WWCF is, and as great as Gene Wilder is in that role, I've got to tip my cap towards CCF. It's got a better cast, better overall design, better story, better characters, and the few songs that are there are better than their counterparts. No one could replace Wonka's songs, but the Oompa Loompa songs are better (even if the guy playing all the Loompas is a bit annoying) and there is no "Cheer Up, Charlie" being sung by Mrs. Bucket which is a huge bonus for CCF. Fuck, I hated that song.

Okay, my essay on the Chocolate Factories is done.