Reading around the suggestions that people made for Children’s Classics Chapter books this week has just made me smile. Each post I read either uncovers a memory from my own reading childhood, or Amanda’s or has given me a great new book to add to “the list”. One author that appeared more than once was Roald Dahl. It reminded me that I don’t think I’ve ever read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So when I took the kids to the library yesterday, I checked it out — for myself.
I was of course familiar with the movie–the 1971 version featuring Gene Wilder, which is actually called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I always liked the movie. I mean, who wouldn’t like a movie with songs that warn kids against the danger of gluttony, gum-chewing, and excessive television viewing? In that sense, this book written in 1964 is amazing in its timeless themes. I’m a sucker in general for musicals, and I think that this is a good one. “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” always warms my heart.
The 2005 version features a quirky Johnny Depp in the role of the chocolate genius. It follows the book a bit more closely, and uses the book title as the name of the book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It also introduces such characters from the book who were not in the first movie, such as the Indian Price Pondicherry.
I had always heard that the more recent movie wasn’t any good, so I had never made an effort to see it. I noticed that it was on TV one night last month, so Amanda (9), Terry (my husband) and I watched. We all really enjoyed the movie. Yes, it’s different from the first. No, it’s not a musical (save a few musical numbers by the munchkins, who are computer generated and similar in scale to the book’s description as opposed to little people). Yes, it is updated a bit (Mike Teevee is addicted to video games on the television, and Violet Beauregard is also a competitive athlete, which I think adds to the spirit of her character nicely). Johnny Depp takes the oddness of Willy Wonka to a whole new level, but for us, he made the movie. He just knows how to do quirky.
I did finally read the book this week, and I loved it. Being familiar with the story from the original movie (and more recently the second movie), I wasn’t disappointed. I think that both movies convey the plot, theme, and overall feel of the movie nicely.
So did you see the 2005 Johnny Depp version? Am I alone in liking it and finding it true to the book?
Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan has been blogging at Snapshot for over two years.
I haven’t read the book in a long time, so I need to reread it. I have to say, though, that I am partial to Gene Wilder. However, I think I am often partial to the movie I see first, especially if it is a movie I enjoyed as a child.
My husband and I really enjoyed the Johnny Depp version…and the original is one of our favorites too. I’ve never read the book (it’s on my to-read list)…but my husband has and he was pleased with the movie.
I love, love this story — in all forms. I read it as a child, and I adored the classic movie version. When I first saw the J. Depp movie, I hated it. Now my son (almost 4) watches it weekly and I love to watch it with him — it’s one of our top favorite movies now.
I am so tickled — I just ordered the anniversary, illustrated Charlie & the Chocolate Factory book to give him on his birthday. I can’t wait to re-read it with him!
We thoroughly enjoy the JDepp version around our house. When we rented the original and watched it with our daughter, she was a little spooked by the psychedelic-ness of the original. 🙂
I always loved reading this book when I was a kid. My favorite film version is the Gene Wilder movie. It’s one I still enjoy watching.
Jen E says
I’ve never read the book (yet) but I have seen both movies and personally while I like both I preferred the second – but then dh and I are both huge Johnny Depp fans and love everything he’s done really so maybe it’s not such a surprise. I know sometimes you see the original first and just like it out of habit but I’ve never really been one of those people…
The newer version is definitely more true to the book. The 1971 will be a classic for years to come. What it comes down to is what you want from a film. The newer version with Depp is a black comedy that shows Dahl’s vision. The original, is a happy musical that will transcend generations thanks to the fun loving, yet quirky characters.
I have read the book at least twice. Once when I was little. I recall disliking it because I was expecting it to be the same as the movie. It was quite different and a shock. As a teacher I still am not a huge Dahl fan, but can appreciate his work.
Books and movies are fabulous topics to use within the home and at school. When I taught 6th grade LA (to only girls) we read and then watched Ella Enchanted. The girls did many activities comparing/contrasting them. To begin we also looked at different Cinderella stories from the US and other countries.
I read the book as a child and it was a favorite. When I saw the first movie later on, I remember being surprised at the differences from the book. And yet I didn’t like the Johnny Depp version at all, even if it was true to the book.
I had the same reaction with A Little Princess – loved the book, loved the Shirley Temple movie, hated the remake even though it was much closer to the book.
Believe it or not, I have never seen EITHER movie or read the books. Somehow, I don’t feel all that deprived. They just never appealed to me.
My husband says I’ve missed out!
Woo hoo! I’m glad you read it! I’m reading it with my 6 y/o now. I’ve never read it before either, but saw the movie with Gene Wilder. After my daughter listened to the entire book on a playaway (an updated “cd book” without the cd), I allowed her to watch the old favorite of mine. She has actually seen the 2005 version and said she didn’t like it as much as the older movie. My husband has been against watching the Johnny Dep version only because he thinks Johnny Dep looks too “wierd”. However, perhaps my darling daughter, 3-year old son and I will pick up a copy and watch it on a rainy afternoon while he’s working! 😉 Thanks for the review!
Each movie has it’s own cool points. I love Gene Wilder. I think he played Wonka perfectly but Depp played an equally great Wonka. They are both great movies. Really. Oh, and I love Danny Elfman’s musical score on the newer one. I did read the book to my kids a couple of years ago when we were homeschooling. It was fun. They enjoyed it.
Katrina (Callapidder Days) says
We watched both versions not long ago, and I don’t know if I have a preference. My husband and I both thought Johnny Depp was SO bizarre, though. It cracked us up. Our son liked both movies.
As usual, I’m partial to the book.
I haven’t read the book, but my daughter (9) says it is better than either movie. Our family enjoyed the new version b/c we think Johnny Depp is such a brilliant actor. But the older movie is such a classic for me.
You know, I don’t think I have ever read the book. I will have to add that to my list. I did enjoy the Depp version, I really like him though. He plays his characters SO well, no matter what he does.
Honestly I like both versions the same but for different reasons. I am happy with the remake though, I think it adds to the whole package. Usually remakes are awful.
I will have to read the book though, I have always preferred the book, so I’m sure it is good. I never really thought about the time period the book was written in, you are right though it is a timeless topic & he really had an idea of how things would turn out!
We generally like Johnny Depp, but didn’t even finish his version of the movie. His portrayal of Willy Wonka made us both think of Michael Jackson. I love Gene Wilder’s version, and of course the book is the best of all.
Adventures In Babywearing says
I LOVE Johnny Depp’s version. In my opinion it is the best and I don’t think I’m saying that just because it’s Johnny Depp!
I have a sentimental attachment to the original and prefer Gene Wilder’s Wonka, but I actually like the second movie better, especially Charlie.
Melissa P. says
My kids actually really like both movies. I do think the second one is a bit truer to the book, but they are both good. I love Gene Wilder, so maybe I like the movie because of him.
As an aside–did you know that in the original printing of the book, Dahl portrayed the Oompa-Loompas as “black pygmies” and was very highly criticized for it? So much so that he changed it in the future printings. I actually found a first edition at my local library sale a few years ago. It was very interesting to compare it to the later version that I also own (especially the pictures).
I never liked the original version because of the ending. I liked the way the book ended, and the whole stealing candy sub-plot plus letting Charlie misbehave never worked for me.
The new version is different and odd. I’m not sure I got beyond that completely, but I do prefer it over the original.
Having said that, I’ve loved the book since we were read it in 3rd grade.
Love the book, love the original movie, LOVE the Johnny Depp remake!
Wilder was good, but nothing like the book. He was too … “sane” for one. I always got the feeling whenever I read the book that Wonka had a bit of a kid-ish craziness and high energy to him, and I just never got that from Wilder’s version. Depp was much, much better, even if he sometimes did the exact opposite and went a little TOO kid-ish.
I was pleasantly surprised and very satisfied with the new version. My sis and I bought it when it came out, and indulge ourselves in it whenever we’re in a “zany” mood. 🙂
This looks like an awesome site, ladies. I’ll definitely be coming back often!