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Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Alternate Title: Dark Chocolate

Story: The seven deadly sins never tasted so good. Old reliable pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth are sugar coated in this visually delicious version of Roald Dahl's widely popular book imagined by the very creative Tim Burton. The only characters who are not punished for their biblical sins are the main players, pure Charlie and his sweet Uncle.

The story is known to all (I think). Willy Wonka opens his factory to five lucky winners in his candy bar contest. The magic begins when they enter the factory. If you just sit back, watch and listen to the fun you will have a sugary time. Overanalyzing will simply mess things up.

The late Roald Dahl's family has given their seal of approval to this version of his book. There is a terrific web site dedicated to the memory of Dahl. Check it out at roaldahl.com.

Acting: Kudos all around to the entire cast. I particularly enjoyed the repeat relationship performance between Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland). Deep Roy, as all of the Oompa-Loompas was fabulous. Helena Bonham Carter (Tim Burton's real life wife), Noah Taylor and David Kelly as Grandpa were great. The insufferable kids played by Jordan Fry, Julia Winter, Philip Wiegratz and AnnaSophia Robb (I met this little girl and her family while working on last winter's Gates Project in Central Park. She was very sweet and seemed to be one of those 10 year olds who is going on 40) were all wonderful. The addition of the father-son story line with Christopher Lee was a little much, but Tim Burton likes that topic.

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots and lots of cool squirrels.

Food: Lots and lots of candy and cabbage soup for the Buckett family.

Blatant Product Placement: Sugar

Soundtrack: Lots of fun (in an Oompa-Loompa sort of way).

Visual Art: Tim Burton likes to build his own sets and not rely on digital stuff. His actors react to a real-life set and not just from standing in front of a blue screen. The outcome is laudable.

Theater Audience: Not very crowded for a Tuesday afternoon.

Sappy Factor: Not a lot of sap in this dark portrayal of the seven deadly sins.

Quirky Meter: 4

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I enjoyed the film and only drifted periodically with thoughts of Peppermint Patties.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are bound to see this film the big screen is a MUST. For some of Tim Burton's other goodies, check out: Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beetle Juice, Pee-wee's Big Adventure and Frankenweenie.

Length:Under two hours.