A Johnny Depp Disaster Is Climbing The Charts On Netflix

By Michileen Martin | 1 month ago

johnny depp

There was a time, believe it or not, when the name “Johnny Depp” could come up in conversation and the subjects of domestic abuse, franchise-shifting scandals, and who did or did not mistake a bed for a toilet didn’t even enter your mind. You might think “eccentric actor” or “the Pirates guy” or, if you’re old enough, “21 Jump Street” or “that dude who was in Platoon for six seconds.” It was during this innocent time — four years before Depp would meet Amber Heard on the set of The Rum Diary — that Depp made perhaps his most divisive film. He starred as the iconic Willy Wonka in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While fans seemed unable to agree on the movie back in 2005, today the musical fantasy is streaming on Netflix, and it’s one of the top 10 movies on the platform, currently in the #9 spot.

johnny depp
Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

The young Charlie (Freddie Highmore) and his family are struggling under poverty, with both Charlie’s father (Noah Taylor) and grandfather (David Kelly) losing their jobs before the film opens. One day Charlie finds a beacon of hope when the reclusive candy maker Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) announces a contest. Five golden tickets are waiting within five Wonka Bars, and those lucky enough to find them will get a rare tour of Wonka’s factory; and one of the five will get a special secret prize at the tour’s conclusion. Charlie is the last to find one of the tickets after Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb), Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), and Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry).

At the factory the children encounter the strange Wonka, the wonderland factory, and eventually the singing and dancing Oompa Loompas (Deep Roy). We learn about Wonka’s troubled past, watch as one child after another fails the tests Wonka puts to them, and hopefully enjoy the musical numbers after each failure. Johnny Depp’s Wonka eventually puts a tempting offer to Charlie, and the boy’s answer ultimately leads to different kinds of salvation for most of the heroes.

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Looking at the numbers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was an unquestionable success. The Johnny Depp film grossed $475 million worldwide, becoming one of the top 20 grossing musical films of all time as well as one of the top-grossing Tim Burton films ever. Critics were impressed as well, giving the adaptation enough stellar reviews to earn it an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Dark, stylish, and fun; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was also praised for staying closer to the source material than 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The film even snagged an Oscar nomination for Costume Design, though it lost to Memoirs of a Geisha. Considering the financial return and the accolades, why — you ask — should it be a surprise that it’s doing well on Netflix?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an adaptation of the 1964 Roald Dahl novel of the same name, and decades before the Burton adaptation Mel Stuart directed Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with the late Gene Wilder as Wonka. The part became Wilder’s signature role, and all you need to do is a quick google search for all the Wonka memes from his film for proof of its endurance. This, at least in part, accounts for RT’s 51% audience score for the newer Johnny Depp version. When you present fans with a new take on something they love, a lot of them are going hit the hate button on default.

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Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Surprisingly, before the Johnny Depp film even hit theaters, Gene Wilder added his name to the naysayers. Known as one of the most gracious and kind stars in Hollywood, Wilder criticized the remake and characterized it as a money grab. His feelings towards it didn’t soften after it was released either. As late as 2013, Wilder called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a personal insult. “It’s probably Warner Brothers’ insult, I think,” Wilder said. While he had kind words for Depp, he was less happy with Burton. “I don’t care for that director and he’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him for doing stuff like he did.”

You can decide for yourself how you feel for as long as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is streaming on Netflix. Along with Johnny Depp the film stars Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, and Christopher Lee among others.