August 15, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

For the first time in over a year, I braved the exorbitant ticket prices and went to the movie theater. The price is up to $250NT a ticket. I had forgotten how cold it is in the theater, so I forgot to bring a jacket. Nothing says luxury like a slight case of frostbite in the summertime.

Another thing that I had forgotten about going to the theater in Taiwan is that the audience has an uncanny ability to anticipate punchlines. The audience will often break into laughter just before I grasp the joke. This is because Chinese humor is very subtle, whereas western humor is painted in broad strokes. When watching western films, Chinese moviegoers are able to see the punchline of a joke from a mile away. And perhaps the subtitles help too.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Tim Burton is based, not only on the story of the same name by Roald Dahl, but also on the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The visual design was obviously influenced by the first movie. The new movie adds a very good story about Willy Wonka's childhood.

What about the Oompa Loompa songs? The good news is that the songs still rock. The bad news is that I didn't get the feeling that the Oompa Loompas were actually singing. It just looked like it was badly lipsynced.

Has the story aged? One thing that I noticed is that all of the kids are white. Based on recent children's TV shows, this is statistically impossible. Statistics show that in a group five kids, three will be white, one will be black and one will be brown. Don't argue with the statistics.


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