Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka on cover of August SIGHT AND SOUND!

SIGHT AND SOUND, the influential magazine published by the British Film Institute, honors Tim Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY with its August cover and a four-page analysis by film critic Roger Clarke. Clarke reveals thorough familiarity with all of Burton’s work and places CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY nicely in context, but he is equally knowledgeable about Roald Dahl, and sees some tension between Dahl’s allegiance to Victorian values and what Clarke describes as Burton’s “modernism.” Clarke approves of the final result, however, writing that “Johnny Depp’s playfully weird Willy Wonka makes Tim Burton’s adaptation of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY a happy subversion of Roald Dahl.”

Clarke observes, “The miracle of the movie CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY [. . .] is that Burton has managed a synthesis of his own geek-boy Gothicism with Dahl’s patrician qualities of skepticism and disdain.” Clarke sees a strong connection to the earlier Burton-Depp collaboration, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, and notes that in both films, scissors provide the gateway to revelation and art. As for Johnny’s performance, Clarke writes, “Depp’s Wonka ought not to be appealing. His narcissism is outrageous. But thanks to the actor’s hipster playfulness, popstar gait and hybrid European-American sensibilities, he seems an entirely contemporary figure. [. . .] He is a man who overcomes his agoraphobic and compulsive-obsessive nature to re-connect to the world.”

The Zone thanks In-too-Depp for posting scans of the SIGHT AND SOUND article on the News & Views forum. It’s a pleasure to read such a thought-provoking and perceptive analysis of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

Comments are closed.