By Jacob Nelson
Although his name may not be in the title, Willy Wonka will return this month in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The story, based on the novel of the same title by Roald Dahl, follows Charlie (Freddie Highmore), a good-hearted young boy from a poor family who lives in a town bordered by Willy Wonka’s (played by Johnny Depp) colossal chocolate factory.
Wonka, who is isolated from his family and lives alone in his factory, launches a worldwide contest to select an heir for his candy empire. Charlie is one of the five children who find golden tickets in their Wonka Bars and is invited for a tour of the factory, which has had no visitors for 15 years. It is during this tour that Wonka intends to choose his successor.
The film, contrary to what most would assume, is not a remake of the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart, but, as Burton refers to it, a “re-imagining.” One major difference between the two films is that Burton’s has no singing, as opposed to Stuart’s, which was a quasi musical.
More significant changes lie in the new film’s plot, which explores Wonka’s troubled childhood. The film also replaces the former film’s oompah loompas, played by many different midgets, with Deep Roy (Big Fish), who plays all of them in this new rendition.
Burton states that the film will be more faithful to the novel than the former, which starred Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolate maker. In fact, Burton even had a special animal trainer work for months on organizing a group of squirrels to crack open nuts on an assembly line in an attempt to keep to the novel to the best of his ability.
The film opens July 15, and will be playing at IMAX theaters in addition to regular movie theaters nearby.