Forgetable family fun – that would be how I would describe Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I went to see the movie with my wife on Friday. At several points I was laughing out loud, but when we went out to diner afterwards I couldn’t remember what those points were.

Almost everyone knows the story from either the 1964 book or the 1971 movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, so I will spare you a story recap and just give you my opinion on the movie.

As I said, it is hard to pick out any real negative or positive things from the movie since it was so forgettable for me. The acting was exceptional, of course Johnny Depp stood out as superb. (The man is a left-wing loon, but he is probably the best actor alive today. He is one of the few big name actors that I forget who I am watching and only see them as the character they are playing.)

This movie, having been done by Tim Burton, is a good bit darker and all around "freakier" than the previous movie. Several scenes may frighten smaller children. It is insinuated that some of the children may actually be in life or death danger, but that is never the case. Still, I would not take small children to see this film, especially if they scare easily.

Overall, the movie has a very positive message and one that affirms the role of parents and the family. In the end for the characters, nothing is as important as the family and their love and support.

Out of 5 stars for the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I give it:
*** (3 stars)
For the worldview presented in the movie, I give it:
**** (4 stars)

Several other movies I have watched on DVD recently:
Spanglish – movie: ****(4 stars), worldview: *** (3 stars) The movie is told in a very creative way from an unusual perspective, one that adds depth to the film. The actors and actresses all fit their roles and do well. One character has an affair, another two contemplate it, but in the end the marriage remains. Hard work and family are viewed in positive lights.

Finding Neverland – movie: ****(4 stars, again Johnny Depp shines), worldview: ***(3 stars) The film is based on the author of Peter Pan and his struggles in writing, in his marriage and his chance meeting of a widow and her sons. A marriage ends in divorce, adultery is insinuated, but sacrificial love is shown on many occassions. Imagination is portrayed as having almost god-like characteristics, but the film could start numerous good discussions. People are faced with the reality of death and characters deal with it in different ways.

Ladder 49 – movie: *(1 star, the film failed in getting me to care about the characters despite (or maybe because) the overly emotional ending), worldview: **(2 stars) Tracing the growth of a rookie fire fighter in Baltimore, should have been a better story. Sex before marriage is viewed as a part of life for everyone. Characters get drunk on numerous occassions. One character is having at least one affiar. Language is also an issue. On the positive, family is viewed as important and numerous characters sacrifice of themselves to help others.

Napolean Dynamite – movie: ***(3 stars), worldview: ***(3 stars) This is one of the stupidest, funniest movies I have seen in a while. There is no language and no sex, which surprised me since the film was done in partnership with MTV. This is Revenge of the Nerds without the beer, sex and language. It is an encouraging story of the underdogs triumphing over the spoiled popular kids. The one rule that any guy can learn from this movie is to never try to use a mailorder time machine – only bad things can happen.

Elecktra – movie: **(2 stars), worldview: **(2 stars) The only thing that makes this film any different than all the standard 80’s martial arts movie fare is Jennifer Garner is a skimpy, tight outfit. It is the same storyline that you have seen over and over. Somebody died, a family member/friend has to avenge them, but on the way they met someone that shows them that revenge is not the answer and the bad guy still gets beat down in the end. Of course the movie is overrun with Asian dualism, good and evil battling with someone or something being the key to shift the power balance. Again sacrificial love is portrayed as a positive thing, as well as revenge being understood as a poor motivator.