Gene Wilder singing "Pure Imagination" while dancing into Wonka's magical factory full of edible candy plants and tea cups, plus those tasty giant gummy bears, is a scene so perfect that it is cemented into the vaults of historic cinema. Not to mention what this movie means to all the children that grew up watching it religiously.
There is such a sense of happiness and creepiness as those greedy parents and kids push their way into Wonka's wonderland, all while Wilder performs his beautiful ditty. I can never see this musical sequence enough, so I was happy to catch this exact part of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory playing on cable just yesterday.
While watching this movie now-a-days, it's very easy to at the same time be thinking about the version from 2005, where Johnny Depp took his turn at wearing the Wonka top hat. Comparing the two is useless.Both include the same characters from the books, but are still very different and enjoyable for their own reasons.
One thing that left me frustrated about the newer interpretation was all about the director. Not that Tim Burton did a bad job, his movies are always gorgeously executed. My annoyance was more about his choice of material. Would the master behind truly creative, original gems like, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, and Ed Wood ever escape from remakes?
Between Charlie, Alice In Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Planet Of The Apes, and Dark Shadows, Burton has spent much of the last fifteen years rehashing old material. I still happened to enjoy nearly all of those, but at the same time I was internally pleading him to get back to making movies that were special and unexpected.
Finally, he has done just that - it's a Christmas miracle!
Other than recognizing some of her prints from my days touring rooms around my dorm, I can't say I'm at all familiar with the story of Margaret Keane. Just from watching the trailer for Big Eyes, it is clear though that her life will make for quite the fascinating movie. Having brilliant actors like Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz acting out her life is simply a bonus.
Those two are another key to showing that Burton is branching out. Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and all his other regulars, are nowhere in sight, yet his signature style is still all over this production.
In the hands of another director, Keane's story would be told very simply, and end up looking similar to most modern bio-pics.There would be all the drama about her husband stealing the credit for her life's work, but that's about it. Not boring and not too exciting either. In the trailer, there are all those fantastical elements of Keane seeing people in real life who look just like her paintings. That is all Burton. He excels best at spicing up movies with his interesting perspective.
This is the season for many a thing, including the release of any movie that wants to qualify for Oscar season. All those involved in Big Eyes come with an Oscar pedigree, so it will not be surprising to find this movie up for awards in the new year.
No matter if it's passed over for awards, it is still just refreshing to find Burton once again making original movies unlike anyone else.
Look for Big Eyes when it is released on Christmas Day.
Until next time.