The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (11/8/2005)

Rated PG for quirky situations, action and mild language.

Directed by Tim Burton (Big Fish, Mars Attacks, Ed Wood, Batman…)

Starring Johnny Depp, Christopher Lee, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly…

Jonathan's Rating: Theatre Worthy

This film far exceeded my expectations.

Let’s be honest. Burton is WEIRD, and so is Depp. I got a little freaked out just watching Depp in the previews. He looked like a manicured Michael Jackson after a Mary Kay party.

But the kids begged me to see it. Since it was clean and seemed harmless…I caved.

Next thing I know, my wife and I are laughing on the couch with our kids, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Maybe it was because my expectations were so low…but I have to admit, this is probably my favorite Tim Burton film.

The story is the most recent version of the classic Roald Dahl book where a young boy wins a tour through the most magnificent chocolate factory in the world, led by the world's most unusual candy maker. This is the second time the story has been made into a film, the first, a classic, starring Gene Wilder 34 years ago in 1971. Some critics will disagree, but I think the first film has been surpassed.

The characters are fun and unique, in a Burtonesque way. Charlie and his grandfather are lovable, and the other kids and their parents are detestable. There’s a clear line between good and bad.

Willie’s flashbacks are hilarious. Christopher Lee plays his father, a dentist who seems to enjoy causing his son grief, a role only outdone by Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors. You’ll love the headgear that young Willie is forced to wear.

Although bizarre, this film is the kind that everyone walks away from smiling—the film provided a good combination of humor and heart. And your kids will be asking you if they can watch it again. Definitely worth it.

Sure. It was very mild, even for Tim Burton. Very little kids might be a little frightened when kids fall or get sucked into various parts of the factory.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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