“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination. We’ll begin with a spin traveling in the world of my creation. What we’ll see will defy explanation.” ~ Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder)
I “love” this song! As I child, I couldn’t appreciate the lyrics. I was too enthralled over oodles of candy on display. As an adult, I have a different view and it is good. It was a delight to watch Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory after 30 years. It’s a funny movie filled with lots of subtext and scenes that will make you chuckle. Gene Wilder is brilliant in his role as Willy Wonka. I loved his interaction with the children and parents. He knew those children were rotten to the core before they ever entered his factory. It was no surprise that each of them broke his rules due to their arrogance and bratty behavior. The children were all equally annoying and the child actors superbly played their roles. But let’s get to the overall theme of the movie. I will analyze the plot, some of the characters, and the moral of the story. Will this film resonate with today’s viewers?
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is a 1964 children’s novel by British author Roald Dahl. Tim Burton directed a remake of Willy Wonka and named his film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johhny Deep as Willy Wonka. That analysis deserves its own write-up. Gene Wilder melded with his ole. He was Willy Wonka. His outfit, his mannerism, and his weirdness all synced into developing a multi-dimensional character for everyone to enjoy. Willy is searching for an heir to his chocolate empire, so he sends out five golden tickets. The person that won the golden ticket will visit his factory for him to analyze and assess. Little to anyone’s knowledge, he sent his assistant to pretend to be a known competitor and whisper offerings to all of the ticket winners’ ears. The winners were Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), Charlie (Peter Ostrum), and Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen). Charlie was the only humble kid out of the bunch. Each child was accompanied by a parent, while Charlie had his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) go with him.
The children undergo hidden tests, but to a child, it was all fun and amazement. The parents suffered through it all. Willy Wonka observed all of their behaviors, reactions, and actions. He was never surprised. You will often see him roll his eyes, while he mumbles in a dry tone, “No, don’t, stop.” Those scenes made me chuckle. He knew how malicious these children are and how they didn’t listen to their parents. The parents did nothing but patronize them. Charlie was the exception, except when Grandpa Joe “encourage him” to break the rules. Charlie and Grandpa Joe had a mishap but survived the incident. Unbeknownst to them, they were being observed. Admittedly, the children were annoying but very hilarious. I kept thinking of my own childhood. I would never have been able to behave like that. I’ve come across some children who have and do.
Of course, Charlie is the last one standing. But Willy Wonka had to give Charlie one final test. He told Charlie about the rule, he broke. Grandpa Joe became furious and started sprouting how horrible person Willy Wonka is, whether this was out of Grandpa Joe’s own embarrassment for encouraging his grandson to break the rule or if it was over being caught. We will never know. I think it was the later because as Charlie held his head low and was leaving Willy Wonka’s office, Grandpa Joe mumbled about Wonka’s competitor. Charlie recalled the top secret the competitor wanted him to do and that was to steal a secret candy formula from Willy’s factory—the Everlasting Gobstopper. Charlie couldn’t do it. He’s too good-natured and returns the candy to Willy. Willy stops Charlie from leaving is was totally grateful for his honesty. Suddenly, the competitor appears from a hidden area. It turns out to be Willy’s assistant. Charlie and Grandpa Joe were shocked. Soon Willy takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe on an elevator ride that could fly, as he explained the entire golden ticket campaign was to help him search for an heir of his factory. Charlie was overly thrilled, especially when he realized his family could come live in the factory, too.
It wasn’t clear who Willy Wonka is and why the urgency to find an heir. This is something Tim Burton addresses in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What I do know is that it didn’t matter because the focus was Charlie in Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, where the remake was focused on Willy Wonka, although the title is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Again, that’s for another analysis. What I enjoyed most about Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was the moral of the story, and there were several, such as greed, gluttony, vanity, and pride all in can be found in the Bible’s seven deadly sins. Charlie was the only one who expressed humility while living in abject poverty—no food, a rickety house, four elderly, bedridden grandparents, and only his mother working. Charlie’s father deceased. No explanation was given.
Charlie still attended school and picked up a paper delivery route. He used his funds to contribute to the household. When Charlie bought a loaf of bread with his little earnings, the family was shocked but pleased. Here’s where I have a problem with Grandpa Joe. Charlie’s mother questions him about where he got the bread. This is a mother’s duty. She wanted to make sure it was gained by any illegal means. It was never explained why she asked. Perhaps Charlie’s father was a gambler, or she wanted to make sure their poverty didn’t turn Charlie into conducting criminal activities. Admittedly, I never read the book. Grandpa Joe says, and this is based on my recollection, “Who cares how he got, the point is he got it.” This is setting the scene when Grandpa Joe encourages Charlie to break the rules at the factory. In my opinion, Grandpa Joe is not a good role model.
The grandparents, two sets of them, have been bedridden for 20 years. Grandpa Joe’s gown was stained. There was “one” chamber pot under the bed. As a child, I overlooked this. As an adult, I couldn’t help thinking how that house must reek! [lol] Although the house was tattered and rickety, and in dire need of repair, it was immaculate. Then I see Charlie throw a wrapping onto the floor, so I knew the mother does the bulk of the cleaning.
I highly recommend this film. If you haven’t seen it, yet, sorry for the spoilers. I’m writing this piece based on the assumption you have watched Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at some point in your life. I love the music, especially the Oompa Loompa songs, who continually chastised each child who misbehaved. In the 21st Century, their lyrics would be classified as fat-shaming, throwing shade, and educating all at once. [lol].
You can rent Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory via DVD Netflix. Go ahead! Add it to your queue. The music alone is a treat and will have you singing . . . “Oompa loompa doompety doo. I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you. Oompa loompa doompety dee. If you are wise you’ll listen to me. What do you get when you guzzle down sweets. Eating as much as an elephant eats. What are you at, getting terribly fat. What do you think will come of that. I don’t like the look of it.” ~ Oompa Loompas
Don’t take my word for it, play the video below.
Just a nerd girl living a geek lifestyle of writing, filmmaking, photographing, and designing. Managing Editor of Your Film Review™. Believer in God/Jesus. 안녕 I'm also a Director under @DVDNetflix, where I write reviews, talk film, and more. Follow me on Twitter.