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 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
You’ve got the golden ticket! Click here to buy America’s favorite chocolate film.

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July 2006

Food Fun / Food Film Festivals

Family Films

Take The Kids...Or Not

 

Here are our picks for the best family film fare: movies that are great for kids, but appealing to adults too. If the children can handle more challenging food in films, then click here to explore other genres.

Click here to tell us about your favorite films or food scenes.

 

 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This remastered, pan-and-scan 30th-anniversary edition of that kiddie-car caper is flawed but solid family fare. It retains a quaint charm while some of the songs—including the title tune—are quite hummable. A huge plus is Dick Van Dyke, who is extremely appealing as an eccentric inventor around the turn of the century. With nimble fingers and a unique way of looking at the world, he invents for his children a magic car that floats and flies. Or does he? The special effects are tame by today’s standards, and the film is about 20 minutes too long—but its enthusiasm charms. The script was cowritten by Roald Dahl and based on the novel by Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond adventures.—Rochelle O’Gorman, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Mixed reviews and creepy comparisons to Michael Jackson notwithstanding, Tim Burton’s splendidly imaginative adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would almost surely meet with Roald Dahl’s approval. The celebrated author of darkly offbeat children’s books vehemently disapproved of 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (hence the change in title), so it’s only fitting that Burton and his frequent star/collaborator, Johnny Depp, should have another go, infusing the enigmatic candyman’s tale with their own unique brand of imaginative oddity. Depp’s pale, androgynous Wonka led some to suspect a partial riff on that most controversial of eternal children, Michael Jackson, but Burton’s film is too expansively magnificent to be so narrowly defined. While preserving Dahl’s morality tale on the hazards of indulgent excess, Burton’s riotous explosion of color provides a wondrous setting for the lessons learned by Charlie Bucket (played by Freddie Highmore, Depp’s delightful costar in Finding Neverland), as he and other, less admirable children enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Wonka’s confectionary wonderland. Elaborate visual effects make this an eye-candy overdose (including digitally multiplied Oompa-Loompas, all played by diminutive actor Deep Roy), and the film’s underlying weirdness is exaggerated by Depp’s admirably risky but ultimately off-putting performance. Of course, none of this stops Burton’s Charlie from being the must-own family DVD of 2005’s holiday season, perhaps even for those who staunchly defend Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Wonka from 34 years earlier.—Jeff Shannon, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Click here to purchase Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on DVD

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Having proven itself as a favorite film of children around the world, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is every bit as entertaining now as it was when originally released in 1971. There’s a timeless appeal to Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, which was playfully preserved in this charming musical, from the colorful carnival-like splendor of its production design to the infectious melody of the ‘Oompah-Loompah’ songs that punctuate the story. Who can forget those diminutive Oompah-Loompah workers who recite rhyming parental warnings (‘Oompah-Loompah, doopity do...’) whenever some mischievous child has disobeyed Willy Wonka’s orders to remain orderly? Oh, but we're getting ahead of ourselves ... it’s really the story of the impoverished Charlie Bucket, who, along with four other kids and their parental guests, wins a coveted golden ticket to enter the fantastic realm of Wonka's mysterious confectionery. After the other kids have proven themselves to be irresponsible brats, it‘s Charlie who impresses Wonka and wins a reward beyond his wildest dreams. But before that, the tour of Wonka’s factory provides a dazzling parade of delights, and with Gene Wilder giving a brilliant performance as the eccentric candyman, Wonka gains an edge of menace and madness that nicely counterbalances the movie’s sentimental sweetness. It's that willingness to risk a darker tone—to show that even a wonderland like Wonka’s can be a weird and dangerous place if you’re a bad kid—that makes this an enduring family classic.—Jeff Shannon, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Yakitate!! Japan

Creative bread making tips can be found in books, but do not begin to compare to the hilarity and ingenuity of this cartoon series. As Azuma Kazuma, short on training but full of talent, sets out to create a definitive bread to represent Japan, he competes against skilled bread artisans for a chance to work for Japan’s famed bakery, Pantasia. Yakitate is brilliant in its execution. It teaches food science and bread tasting in ways that even Alton Brown can’t due to human limitations of time, space, and sanity.—Melissa Hom, TheNibble.com

Yakitate!! Japan
   



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