Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Warner Sunset US (0012569722644)
Movie | Release date: 07/12/2005 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track   Duration
1.Wonka's Welcome Song1:01
2.Augustus Gloop3:10
3.Violet Beauregarde2:08
4.Veruca Salt2:13
5.Mike TeaVee1:32
6.Main Titles5:00
7.Wonka's First Shop1:42
8.The Indian Palace3:16
9.Wheels in Motion3:17
10.Charlie's Birthday Bar1:53
11.The Golden Ticket / Factory3:03
12.Chocolate Explorers2:14
13.Loompa Land1:42
14.The Boat Arrives1:15
15.The River Cruise1:54
16.First Candy1:21
17.Up and Out3:11
18.The River Cruise - Part 21:56
19.Charlie Declines1:32
21.End Credit Suite7:01
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 08/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Danny Elfman and Tim Burton's tenth collaboration, resulting in one of the composer's very best and charming scores in a long time, with Elfman returning to his Edward Scissorhands/fairy tale sound. Also, Elfman's score contains a little of everything he has been doing for Burton, and other directors, throughout his career so far, reminiscent at times of scores such as The Family Man, Big Fish, The Nightmare Before Christmas and To Die For.

The score portion of the soundtrack album opens with Elfman's "Main Title" music. Similar in sound and structure to his main title cues for the two Spider-Man films, this is a very rythmic and brassy piece that constantly changes direction and pace, with whimsical choir, low staccato strings and some synth effects. It's quite a catchy cue, filled with Elfman's typical quirky sound. The mysterious sounding "Wonka's First Shop" - filled with celesta and beautiful woodwinds - treats the listener with the first statement of one of the major themes - a lovely, but sad, waltz for Wonka himself. "The Indian Palace" adds some sitar, Asian percussion and harmonies to the mix, while "Wheels in Motion" opens with celesta, choir and soft strings, reprising Wonka's theme - classic Elfman! - but soon interrupted by a grand statement of the main title music, sans choir.

The music for the Oompa Loompas are brought to the foreground in cues such as "Loompa Land" and "The Boat Arrives". Elfman uses African sounding elements to represent these, I think rather creepy, little characters, with low humming voices and percussion. "The Boat Arrives" features some low, dark brass that sounds like it could have been written for a King Kong film and "Up and Out" includes the scores only outburst of dissonance and chaos.

But while this music is all rather memorable what makes this score so enjoyable is the lyrical orchestral writing. "First Candy" includes some excellent, bombastic music, complete with swirling strings, choir and brass. And "Charlie Declines" and "Finale" offer some really, really beautiful music, similar to Edward Scissorhands and The Family Man, complete with celesta, piano, choir and heart tugging strings. This is one of the things that Elfman does best, and it's hard not getting all teary eyed while listening to this beautiful music, which thankfully never gets too sentimental or sweet.

Elfman also wrote five songs for the film, and these open the soundtrack album. "Wonka's Welcome Song" is a bizarre little one minute song, used as source music in the film. It's more annoying than entertaining, actually, although it is rather catchy. As for the rest of the songs, they are all sung by Elfman himself (after inhaling a whole tube of helium, it seems), with lyrics by Roald Dahl, although often slightly adapted by Elfman, and performed by the Oompa Loompas in the film. The songs take some time getting used to - I just found them to be weird at first, but I have grown to really like them. They do, after all, add some much needed quirkiness to the film and its soundtrack. This is where Elfman's Oingo Boingo roots come in handy. "Augustus Gloop" features some catchy big band and swing rythms, with groovy brass and percussion, while "Violet Beauregarde" is filled with funky guitars, disco strings and brass. "Veruca Salt" is a Beatles sounding pop song, that ows a lot to the 60's and bands such as The Beach Boys, with The Beatles sound hightened by the use of sitar. "Mike Teavee" sounds like a mix of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and some of the songs from Elfman's own The Nightmare Before Christmas. All in all, imagine some quite weird, but also charming and catchy songs and you have a pretty good idea of what these songs sound like.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a beautiful, melodic score. It's only noteworthy disadvantage is that Elfman really never allows his themes to really shine. The themes are in there, to be sure, but I feel that some really strong statements would have made this a five star effort. Instead, it's a really, really strong four star score. A wonderful score.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 09/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
In the age of Rowling, I still think that Roald Dahl's fantasy allegories are far more inspired and were always my favourite books as a child. Although a number of his books have been made into films, few have been outright blockbusters, although the original version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (re-titled as Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) has seen its reputation increase over the years, even though it's a rather soft take on the material and features a number of risible songs ('Oompa Loompa dippidy doo' and so on). On the other hand, Tim Burton seems the perfect Dahl interpreter for the big screen and the results are every bit as wonderful as one would hope for. Similarly, Danny Elfman is the perfect choice for such a project and his work for Burton is invariable some of his finest.
The album opens with five songs - one for Wonka and one each for the four objectionable kids who are amusingly dispatched by some of Wonka's marvelous candy inventions. Wonka's Welcome Song is deliberately and outrageously cheesy, the sort of song that makes me never want to visit Disneyland and curiously reminiscent of the Duloc welcome song from the original Shrek. For the kids, Elfman mixes and matches his musical styles; Augustus Gloop and Violet Beauregarde are funky and slightly Broadway-ish (some have suggested Bollywood influence, but I'm not convinced), while Veruca Salt is an hilarious 60's hippy anthem but my favourite personal favourite is the crazily rocktastic Mike Teavee, which sounds like Bohemian Rhapsody had it been written by Elfman. I'm sure there are some who may find the songs annoying, but I'm only disappointed that they aren't longer. To add to his achievement, Elfman performs all of the vocal parts - genius.

Like his last Burton collaboration Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a little eclectic but effortlessly filled with fine moments. The Main Titles introduces his crazily martial six note main theme which is used fairly sparingly in the body of the score. Curiously, there is little of the joy or wonderment one might expect for a film about a sweet factory, emphasising the industrial chocolate making process and Wonka's mild lunacy. Some strange, but effective synth and vocal additions only add to the off kilter vibe. For Wonka's First Shop, Elfman pulls out all the stops for a stirring orchestral barrage, while The Indian Palace goes off at a tangent with a smattering of sitar. Wheels in Motion introduces the rather lovely (if slightly Thomas Newman-ish) piano theme for Charlie and his family, adding some rather welcome warmth and humanity. As the only really likeable characters, it is fitting that Charlie's family receive the most genuine and 'normal' musical treatment. The Oompa Loompa's receive a dollop of jungle drums and chanting in Loompa Land while the various 'delights' of the factory vary from the heavenly The Golden Ticket - Factory to the rather wild River Cruises.

The Finale reprises the family theme for a surprisingly gentle send off. However, the End Credit Suite mixes all five songs together, without the lead vocals (ideal for Elfman Karaoke nights), concluding with a little devilish Loompa laughter. Unlike many of his fans, I rarely find myself pining for the Elfman of old - the macabre orchestral carnival composer - but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory brings back some of that style, while throwing in some of his more recent, slightly skittish mannerisms. It lacks the ephemeral beauty of something like Edward Scissorhands and its melodic content isn't quite so strong (although the songs have great tunes, just a shame they are only used once), but Elfman is still a composer working at the top of his game and while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may not have the first time impact of his scores from ten years ago, Elfman continues to offer more delights and imagination than almost anyone else working in Hollywood today. Wonderful.
World Soundtrack Awards: Soundtrack Composer of the Year (Nominee)

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Bolt (2008)
Lizzie McGuire Movie, The (2003)
Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective, The (1992)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
Jungle Book 2, The (2003)
Suske en Wiske 'De Musical' (1995)

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