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June 18, 2005 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-06-18

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1Monday
July 18, 2005
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

Ule AItdigan aJlu
ARTS

9

SORRY CHARLE
BURTON, DEPP FAIL TO RESTORE
THE MAGIC IN LACKLUSTER ADAPTATION

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
How can anyone not see it? The squeaky voice,
the pasty face, the outlandish wardrobe, all for a
reclusive man-child, tucked away in a secluded
wonderland? Why would you make Willy Wonka
resemble the recently acquitted King of Pop,
Michael Jackson, as do director Tim Burton and
star Johnny Depp in the new adaptation of Roald
Dahl's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"?
With every person young and old thinking back to
their marvelous first experience with the timeless,
bizarre fairy tale, Burton and Depp fail to deliver
what should have been a surefire hit.
Depp plays the always erratic and, in this case,
psychotic chocolatier Willy Wonka, a solitaire
with a candy-making passion. Enter the thought-
ful Charlie (Freddie Highmore, "Finding Nev-
erland"), a few brats and a contest to determine
"s "
Missy milxe
By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
MUSIC REVIEW i n
The ingredients for a successful rap
album are simple: a radio-friendly single;
guest appearances that exemplify your
rhymes rather than outshine them (read:
Kanye West) and
*tight flows. Previ- Missy Elliot
ously Missy Elliot has
coalesced these ele- The Cookbook
ments to make some Atlantic
phenomenal brews,
but on The Cookbook, she trades in her
baker for other producers' culinary skills.
Since releasing Da Real World, Missy
and Timbaland have taken the rap scene
by storm. Her unconventional style com-t~,
bined with his three-steps-ahead pro-
duction generated Billboard toppers and New Jer
legendary albums. But Timbaland - The Nep
whose presence is sorely missed - pro- Now t
duced only two songs on The Cookbook. sleeves,it
The first two tracks are Timbaland's ies. At :
signature blend of electronic beats and Timbalai
syncopation. "Joy," the album's opener, at making
is one of its strongest tracks and features jumpy be
MC Mike Jones. If it weren't for the bor- ner, but it
ing, extensive intro to the song, it'd be a track left
surefire way to convince the naysayers of Despi
Missy's lyrical abilities. Timbaland's only acteristic
other song is "Party Time," featuring a and oth
grating chorus but stellar production. through.
After Timbaland adds his spice to the crotch-g
mix, Missy turns to The Neptunes for to the 1
more show-stopping production with "On obligatio
Rand On." The up-tempo keyboard blips rhymes,
and heavy bass line taste just like a Tim- "We Rui
baland concoction. But at nearly five min- lyrical ge
utes, the beat is unbelievably bland, and its about Mi
straightforward feel is more indicative of Alas,

who will be the heir to Wonka's throne, and you
get the basic idea.
Typical of Burton's ("Big Fish") style, this ver-
sion of "Charlie" is quirky and borderline creepy.
Aside from the strange portrayal
of Wonka, the Oompa Loompas Charlie
are all freakishly similar, the
songs are hip to today's culture and the
and there's a dark side to Won- Chocolate
ka's past not explored in Dahl's Factory
book or the first film starring At the Showcase
Gene Wilder. It's this dark side and Quality 16
- Wonka as the son of a sadis- Warner Bros.
tic dentist who never allowed
him to have sweets as a child - that turns Wonka
into the wacko that he is in the film.
Sad as this is, it seems irrelevant, because the
story here is about Charlie and his innocence finally
being rewarded. By throwing a psychopath in for the
ride and inevitably having to humanize him, Burton
goes away from what he intended to do - have the
story center on Charlie and not Wonka (hence the

"Would you like some Jesus juice with your chocolate?"

name change from Wilder's film) - and the result
is disappointing. To everyone's surprise, the weak-
est point in the movie is Depp, who brings little
to his iconic role. His lines are poorly written and
lack the punch packed by Wilder's quips from 1971
(one-liners like "You're really weird!" and "Eeow!"
lose their charm fairly quickly).
As for the children, the gum-chewing martial art-
ist Violet Beauregarde (relative newcomer and Nata-
lie Portman clone Annasophia Robb), complete with
an unwavering superiority complex, never loses her
luster and hilarity. Grandpa Joe (David Kelly, "Wak-

ing Ned Devine"), however, is portrayed as a bum-
bling fool, a miscalculated change from the original
that had him as Charlie's resilient mentor.
Dahl's original was wacky and neurotic
enough without Burton and Depp adding their
respective flairs. After they do, we are left
with a jumbled, oft-confusing mess in which
it's hard to figure out where everything's
going. Only Depp could make an eccentric
like Wilder look tame - and after a career
of pushing the boundaries, perhaps this time,
tamer would have done Depp well.

tepid 'Cookbook'

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