Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) Movie Poster Image

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Bright, spirited, and edgy version of Willy Wonka.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Several kids and parents are repeatedly rude, narcissistic, and unpleasant, but Charlie is a bright spot.

Positive role models

Charlie demonstrates curiosity and integrity, as well as strong love for his family.

Violence & scariness

Some physical and emotional abuses of mean children; Willy has mildly scary flashbacks of his dentist father, featuring horrible headgear for his braces.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

At least one use of "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a colorful kids' adventure that -- like the book -- includes some intense scenes. Obnoxious children are ridiculed visually and in words by the Oompa Loompas and dispatched. One girl blows up into a giant blueberry, another boy is sucked into a tube, the other girl is attacked and pinned down by squirrels who proceed to throw her down a garbage chute. In one early scene, dolls burn up and their eyeballs pop out. The movie is much closer in dark tone to the book than its cinematic predecessor. Willy Wonka himself seems to disdain families.

What's the story?

In CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) wins a chance to tour Willy Wonka's (Johnny Depp) chocolate factory, with four other children, when he purchases a chocolate bar that has a "golden ticket" inside. The group of children and guardians tour the factory, where they will see the top-secret, magical processes by which Willy Wonka makes his delicious candy. Specifically, they see the Oompa Loompas (all played by a digitally multiplied and reduced Deep Roy) make the candy and mete out judgments against misbehaving children.

Is it any good?


Portrayed in broad, cartoonish strokes, the kids' cruelties in the film serve as comedy, though they're not always funny, and each child-parent set reveals its dysfunction. Indeed, the non-Charlie children are so loathsome that their various "punishments" seem deserved. These are staged as song-and-dance numbers by the Oompa Loompas, modeled after scenes that some parents will recall from other venues, for instance, Esther Williams musicals, the Who's guitar-smashing rock shows, Hair, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Fly, and even Tim Burton and Depp's Edward Scissorhands, in Willy's flashbacks to his troubled relationship with his dentist father (Christopher Lee). There are some current-day references, some of which fail miserably (the Oprah appearance comes to mind), while others are merely annoying and serve to break the film's dreamlike power.

The film's strangeness is often fun, in particular Depp's white-faced makeup, frisky line readings (check his explanation: "Everything in this room is eatable; even I'm eatable, but that's called cannibalism and frowned on in most societies"), and weird affect. But the narrative rhythms are uneven, and Charlie, especially, is undeveloped, more an emblem of goodness than a full-on character. While the novel maintains a more or less steady focus through Charlie's perspective of all these crazy goings-on, the film is less coherent. It skips about to cover multiple storylines, including Willy's memories and the four bad children's separate exploits, all eventually pulled together by Charlie's good-boy summary of what matters most, his cozy family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the characters' relationships with their parents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How do Willy's difficulties with his dentist father affect him as an adult? How does his fear of his father's disapproval lead him to rebel? How does Charlie's good relationship with his parents and grandparents allow him to feel self-confident, trusting, and generous?

  • How does the film compare Charlie (as the good child) with bad children (rich, spoiled, greedy, materialistic)? How does the movie show that selfish, silly parents produce selfish, silly children?

  • How does Charlie demonstrate curiosity and integrity in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 15, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:November 8, 2005
Cast:Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp
Director:Tim Burton
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Misfits and underdogs
Character strengths:Curiosity, Integrity
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:quirky situations, action, and mild language

This review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) was written by

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Adult Written bybethlthomson April 9, 2008

i laughed

Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 February 7, 2011

Doesn't Beat the Original

Eh, it was alright. I don't think it was as good as the 1970s version. In this one, Willy Wonka was strange. Well, I mean, the character is supposed to be eccentric, but this depiction mildly creeped me out. Gene Wilder is a tough act to follow.
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bymathmom April 9, 2008

A very different remake

Although my kids liked this one better, I'm still a fan of the Gene Wilder version. (My kids 5 and 7, site the songs and the scenes of Oompa Loompa land as the cooler parts. Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka (which I was told was going to be closer to the book's character) was a demented, distorted take on the "Candy Man" that those of my generation loved. I do not think that Roald Dahl meant for Willy Wonka to be a paranoid, narcisstic, weird, child hater. What was up with the burning dolls entrance? Too strange. It was my impression that Tim Burton was remaking this to be truer to the book (and the squirrel scene was great!), but in the end it was a much more surreal and disturbing version of the story for me.