I thought I ought to mention that I recently watched "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka. A great many of my old restaurant day pals are big fans of Depp, and some were also in love with the classic Willie Wonka movie. Whether this one would hold up to either of their expectations was anyone's guess.

After watching the movie from a DVD on a nice big HD TV (compliments to my cousins and Uncle), I can say that I did enjoy the experience, but I can't say that I really like the movie at all.

One thing is for certain, Johnny Depp definitely gets high points for good acting. I think he really did well with this character. I did not like the way Willie Wonka was changed into a very arrogent, selfish beast. However, given the way that wanted to take Wonka, Depp did an amazing job of it, and really brought out the "freak" type of character that I think they wanted. Unfortunately, they missed the mark with the whole Wonka thing because the original Willie was such a nice guy, and though eccentric, crazy, and very freaky, he was genuinely appreciative of good people and good things. This Wonka isn't.

Other than that, the musical elements of the movie were not entertaining at all. The original Wonka had a great deal of nice music that all flowed and went well together. This new one attempts to use different genres of music for each piece, and just misses the mark. You can't understand the words, and it just doesn't come across as being all that great.

The scenery is amazing, and in general the worlds of Wonka are done very very well. They really catch the crazy side of the factory, and I'm glad of that.

Of course, if we compare this all to the original, the original one wins hands down, but I think we should also allow this movie the chance to stand on its own, without having to be compared to such a wonderful classic. If we do that, we can see very good acting on the part of the Wonka, and despite some generally annoying parts, the movie is quite good in its own right. It hits home with the eccentricity, and plain old freak-like style of the original, albeit in a completely modernized form, that misses all the morals and good points of the first movie.

The verdict? Not a classic like the original, but worthy of a showing.