Posts Tagged ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’

Over the last 20 years or so, Hollywood has hit us with remakes of numerous famous movies. From a commercial standpoint, I can understand why they do this. It’s easier to take an old movie that already has a legacy and a following of fans than creating something new hoping that this new thing will become a hit. The old classic already has a name and a built in audience who will pay to see the remake even if it’s just out of curiosity. This means easy money for the Hollywood studios for the most part.

Artistically though, I don’t always like or agree with movie remakes. Some Hollywood studios’ idea of improving an old movie is to make it more action packed and load it with more special effects than you can shake a stick at. First,  I will say that this strategy does work for some movies. For example, 2002’s Spider-Man was an incredible movie and needed this treatment. It was an improvement of the 1980’s Spider-man movie which was horrendous, in my opinion. The special effects in the 1980’s just wasn’t good enough back then to be able to pull off visually what is needed for these super hero movies.

But, bigger and faster doesn’t always mean it’s better. A good example of this is the remake of 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, which was remade by Tim Burton in 2005 with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Burton gave Willy Wonka an update, but was it needed?  Now let me first say that I am a huge Tim Burton fan and am in no way degrading his brilliant work with this opinion, but I just think the original movie couldn’t be improved upon. Below is an example of the original vs. the remake showing the famous Oompa Loompa scenes.

1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

vs.

2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

As you can see, 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is more high tech with the modern special effects and CGI. For the Oompa Loompas, they took one actor and digitally replicated him creating an army of Oompa Loompas. This is impressive in terms of special effects and computer graphics. The 1971 version simply took individual dwarf actors and gave them each costumes and makeup. In my opinion, the old fashioned way was still better.  It looks better to me and it just “feels” better. For me, the original still wins.

Another good example of this is 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which was remade in 2003 with the same movie title.  Below is a comparison of the two, with the movie trailers.

*Be warned: don’t watch these trailers if you are bothered by Horror, they are disturbing.

1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

vs.

 

2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

 

You can see by comparison, the 2003 updated version was filmed with better and more expensive cameras and had a younger and better looking cast including the popular Jessica Biel. It cost 9 million dollars to make compared to the original which cost only $300,000 dollars to make.  The newer version has technically better camera work and cinematography and shows more detailed gore. But is it more effective? In my opinion: no.

Artistically it misses the mark that the original hit. It’s actually the cheap camera and the old “grimy” look of that film they used in the 70’s that gives it that certain special “creep” factor. They totally missed the mark to begin with on the remake by using  glossier film. Also, although the newer version shows more detailed gore, the old version still wins in that department as well. Sometimes, what you don’t see is more effective than something that’s “on the nose” or blatantly obvious. For example, keep in mind that in the movie Psycho, they did not show one actual stab in the shower scene. It was the “idea” of someone being stabbed that made it that much more frightening. I’ll put it this way: the newer Texas Chainsaw Massacre frightened me for the night, while the original frightened me for life.

These are just two examples of remakes that missed the mark that I immediately had in mind. There are many more but I don’t have the space to include them all here. There’s just too many to list.

To reiterate, I’m not against ALL movie remakes. But a bigger budget with better special effects isn’t always an improvement. I’ll take the cheap camera with a stronger story line any day, thank you. Bigger and faster doesn’t always mean it’s better.

-Roz

 

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