dark chocolate

Off-and-on throughout the weekend I wasn’t feeling quite up to snuff, suffering from a mild fever and general malaise. Unfortunately, I had committed to doing a fair amount of work over the weekend on a project with a tight deadline; I ended up putting in about 13 extra hours over the weekend (along with about another 6 hours in the evenings during the week itself), mostly late at night into early morning (alternating with chapters from the latest Harry Potter, two-thirds of which I’d completed by bedtime last night and the final third earlier today), so I also wasn’t particularly rested. On Saturday night we were supposed to go to a colleague’s new condo for a housewarming, but by that evening I just wasn’t feeling up to heading out, especially given the severe thunderstorms passing over (and which continued sporadically throughout the weekend).

Sunday afternoon I was feeling well enough that we did make it out to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and have some dinner, but when we got home I was still feeling a little unwell, but still went back to work on the project until after midnight. This morning I was again running a fever alternating with a cold clamminess, so I made a last-minute decision to stay home and rest, after sending in via email the work I’d done over the weekend.

I expect I’ll feel up to working tomorrow, but for the past month, I’ve already had an appointment scheduled for a physical on Wednesday anyway, so I can have it checked out then if I’m still not back to near 100 percent.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was enjoyable, if a little underwhelming in some regards. The reviews I’d seen were mostly pans, and even the more positive reviews commented, not always very kindly, on Johnny Depp’s strongly idiosyncratic portrayal of Willy Wonka. I thought Depp was fine and, if anything, understated in his performance; Wonka, after all, is supposed to be eccentric and even a little dark. I could really have done without the psychological back story, though, which added nothing and, in fact, rather cheapened the mystery of Wonka.

Tim Burton’s sets, of course, were fantastically exotic and stylistically lush, and using Deep Roy to play all the Ooompa-Loompas was quite interesting and, I think, successful. Danny Elfman’s score delighted, as always, and this movie gave him a chance really to stretch, with the Oompa Loompa moralizing tunes–featuring lyrics based on Roald Dahl’s original book–running the gamut from 70s sunshine pop to Bollywood spectacles to hard metal.

And Freddie Highmore, the young actor who plays Charlie Bucket (and who earlier starred with Depp in an affecting performance in the wonderful Finding Neverland), was simply perfect. Jeff and I saw a short feature over the weekend on the making of Charlie…, and Highmore exhibits such a maturity, and a real knowledge of the craft of acting in which he’s engaged. I’ll be eager to see what he does next.