Thursday, September 29, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I went to see this film recently, as I am a huge fan of the original (which I have watched too many times). So I was eager to compare. What interested me the most was to see how the new film compared to the old in terms of how technology was employed.

The types of technology available in 1971, when the original was made, were very limited in comparison to today. Because the story is largely based on fantasy and unreal things, it must have been a difficult job trying to make things look believable. At the time it was first released, over 30 years ago, it would have been very convincing. But watching this film now, we notice all the little discrepancies, obvious flaws, and factors that “de-realise” the film. But I think this is part of why I love the original so much – because of the innocence and improvisation in trying to portray the impossible as believable.

I think while the original was simply aiming to make things look realistic and believable, the new film makes things look beyond believable. It employs extensive use of digital effects. In my opinion, this film seems to exaggerate the use of digital effects partly because such technologies are available. However, it does serve to absorb the viewer into the fantasy, and make it more of a spectacle, so I am of mixed feelings.

I think I like both films equally; each has its own unique aspects that make them special. Of course they are very similar in several ways, yet the 33-year gap between them sets them well apart. If you’re going to see this I suggest you take some chocolate because the film makes you hungry. I did not do this, so may have to go again :)

-Shannon Doherty


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