Charlie & the Chocolate Factory brought Burton and Elfman back to familiar territory after getting out of their comfort zone for their POTA "re-imagining" and Big Fish. C&TCF is a very wild, quirky and wacky film just like it's main character. Played perfectly by Depp, imo. Back in 2005 I ranked it as the best movie of that summer. Eventhough I haven't (still haven't) seen every movie that summer. Batman Begins was the other movie I saw that summer in theaters. Though I'm a big Batman fan. I was very disappointed by it. Anyways C&TCF is a very entertaining and fun family movie. I still like it. It even has some things over the 1971 original. The film doesn't deserve any of the negativity it gets. RT even shows an 82% approval rating from critics as I type this. I guess the film was too much for people. Or to some it's blasphemous to remake the 71' original. And therefore hate on it. Oh well.
Elfman's score is very quirky, dark, and over the top, but also touching in some parts. Probably his most wacky score for a Burton movie of the last decade (that is). The score has a lot going for it and is really a lot of fun. Elfman even got to write songs (well lyrics for one song). But he got to use Roald Dahl's lyrics to compose songs for four of the naughty kids. He even performed the vocals for the Oompa Loompas whenever they sang.
"Wonka's Welcome Song" is a very demented and catchy song. That fit's Depp's Wonka perfectly. It's so annoying (in a good way) how catchy it is that you can't get it out of your head. It was put to perfect use for Wonka's introduction (at the factory) in the film.
"Augustus Gloop" is another catchy song that was a good way to kick off the songs for the kids. It has a really nice beat. Elfman's vocals are funny and performed to great effect.
"Violet Beauregarde" is a cool and hip song. Probably the coolest song in the movie, imo. It starts off very similar to Elfman's "Factory" track from Forbidden Zone. Elfman said he was going fora blaxploitation sound like something out of Shaft. I think he suceeded b/c this song is very funky.
The other two songs are catchy and a lot of fun in a bizarre way. But I want to talk more about the score.
The "Main Titles" is very wacky and wicked. The chorus sounds demented. It feels like a rollercaster ride to insanity. Maybe it's a ride to Wonka's insanity. Eventhough the music is playing to images of Wonka's factory making chocaolate bars with golden tickets being placed inside and shipped to many candy stores across the world. It's probably Elfman's most wackiest and eerie main titles music for Burton. On a side note the last 45 seconds of it introduces Charlie's theme (as the film does the character) and closes the quirky titles on a touching and very innocent note.
'Wonka's First Shop" starts off very beautifully as Grandpa Joe flashes back to Wonka's first candy store. Wonka's theme really captures his eccentricity well at the beginning of the track . As the track concludes it's very celebratory, triumphant, and a little gothic. In honor of Wonka opening his factory.
"Wheels In Motion" is a very amusing track. That opens with Charlie's theme which plays very hopeful. That someday he'll meet Wonka and will maybe open his factory again someday. The music gets maniacal as the Wonka theme plays while the Oompa Loompas post bulletins about 5 golden tickets placed in Wonka bars around the world. And blah blah blah. I like how the music captures the insanity of the customers waiting for candy stores to open in different parts of the world. To buy the Wonka bars just for the golden tickets that might be inside. Elfman gives each country and city a different style of music. While capturing whats happening on screen at the same time.
"Charlie's Birthday Bar" is a very moving (and almost heart breaking) track. It really captures Charlie's hopes ( as well as the audiences hopes for him) to receive a golden ticket with his Wonka bar. It also captures Charlies heart and what that character is all about. When he shares his candy with his family. Instead of whining and crying about not having the ticket. And being selfish about it and just eat his candy alone. He puts others before himself and share it with his family. Kind of like celebrating his birthday with a Wonka bar instead of a birthday cake. The cue really captures Charlie's pure heart.
"First candy" is a very erratic track that flashs back during Wonka's childhood. When he ate candy for the first time. And goes into his obsession with candy. Very quirky track.
"Up and Out" is another goofy but fun track that captures Wonka's insanity as his flying elevator takes off in the air and heads to Charlie's house. As they head to Charlie's home. We are shown the aftermath of what happened to the other kids who didn't listen to Wonka. And therefore paid the price of losing to Charlie of being Wonka's heir. The music captures the children and parents' humility very well. The music as Charlie, Grandpa Joe and Wonka between those scenes feel very innocent and peaceful. Can't really describe it.
"Finale" is a very touching cue that reunites Wonka and his estranged dentist father. Thanks to Charlie. It becomes more stirring as Wonka and Charlie have dinner with his (Charlie's) family. Now that Wonka and Charlie are business partners. They talk about their ideas for different kinds of candy during the family dinner. And they all live happily ever after in Wonka's factory. Elfman nails every moment of that scene.
Overall the whole score is magnificent. Every track is worth mentioning but I'd be up here all day if I did. C&TCF's score is dark, quirky, goofy, wild, moving, and a whole lot of fun, imo. It might be too much for some. Maybe even annoying b/c of how hyper and wild it is. But it's another great Burton /Elfman score, imo.
The songs are awesome. Sure the songs aren't as iconic as the "Pure Imagination" song from the original. But they're not as repetitive as the Oompa Loompa songs from the 71' film either. Elfman's Oompa Loompa songs are very different from each other. It never becomes repetitive or dull. Plus it makes great use of Dahl's lyrics.
I can't think of anything I dislike about this score. I think it fit's Burton's take on Wonka like a glove and is near perfect. An underrated gem. One of the best scores of 2005, imo. And deserves more attention from others.