Salty chocolate balls

The meal I ate tonight was so salty I shriveled up and died just like that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "It's beautiful!! Beautiful!!! AAAIIIEEEAARRRGGHH!!!!!!" My heart staggered and lurched and became a piece of jerky. I gulped my iced tea like I had been lost on the Bonneville Salt Flats for a week. My tongue became petrified wood. My eyes, stones. My body is now perfectly preserved and I have no expiration date. But I am dry, man! Dry!!

I saw two films yesterday. March of the Penguins directed by Luc Jacquet, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Tim Burton.

March of the Penguins has some very impressive photography. The filmmakers braved some of the worst weather in the world to capture the lives of Emperor Penguins during the mating season. I've loved wildlife documentaries since I was a wee young nudibranch, lulled by the sultry tones of Marlin Perkins, star of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I wanted to love this documentary but, somehow, I don't know if it was the editing or I was tired or what, it just didn't grab me. It lacked... drama. Or something. It's certainly worth a look but for me it just doesn't hold a candle to another wildlife documentary by another Frenchman -- Winged Migration, directed by Jacques Perrin.

Before I went to the movies I took an hour and re-read the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl, so that I could compare. I've always adored Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka. Wilder's Wonka was so child-like and yet so wise. Gene Wilder's unique madness shone out of the character and it was alright that the film didn't follow the book too closely.

Tim Burton's unique madness shines quite brightly throughout the current film incarnation and he cleaves quite closely to the book. Quite closely. In fact it's absolutely delightful when Burton's musical partner in crime, Danny Elfman, sets the actual words of the songs sung by the Oompa Loompa's in the book to marvelously composed music. Whenever Burton uses Dahl's own words in his film there is magic. But then he has to go and try to put his own stamp on it. Why do these Hollywood types always feel the need to fix things that aren't broken? As soon as the film strays from the work of Dahl it goes flat. There is an absolutely useless subplot involving Willy Wonka's father that changes him, in my view, from an eccentric genius to a sniveling head case. Nevertheless, Tim Burton's soul is dark and Johnny Depp is the window that looks onto that soul. With Danny Elfman, Depp and Burton are a black trinity. The three pointed nucleus of several fine films and, perhaps, another to come -- Corpse Bride.

Two molluscs out of five for both films.
  • Current Mood: salt pork and hard tack
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Dude. By now you oughta know that "salt" and "slug" are a really bad combination.
I want to see March of the Penguins very much despite your lackluster review.

Charlie was suprisingly good, as far as I'm concenrned-like.

Hello? How aren't you?
These are great reviews. I particularly enjoyed your review of Charlie.

I was wondering if I wanted to see penguins waddling around for two hours, and I guess the answer is now, "not really."

You were spot on about Charlie. I would have loved it except for Depp--somehow, he was a little too weirdly "perky" for me. The children were wonderful.
I was supposed to take my ex's nephew (I suppose he's not mine now even though I want him to be) to see Charlie last weekend but my ex's sister (for whom I am only happy to give up the title "sister-in-law") screwed up and they headed back to NJ before we could hook up for our little date. Since then, I've read too many bland reviews and now it's ended up in the Wait to Rent pile. Too bad because, since Crash, not one movie showing at any of the theatres close by has so much as elicited a raised eyebrow out of me.