Monday, September 10, 2012

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971) Review

It's back to school (or college in my case) and I'm so disappointed that I can't think of a good introduction. I'll try harder next time, I promise. Anyway, did you like this film as a kid? So did I? Has it aged well enough to be a solid film? Let's find out.

After years of hiding in his factory, Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) decides to send out five golden tickets in five random chocolate bars and will give a tour of his world famous chocolate factory to those five people. Meanwhile, a poor boy named Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) really wants to win a ticket so he can see the inside of the fabled chocolate factory and the tickets slowly being to be found by other children from all around the world (who conveniently can speak fluent English...) until they're all gone...except the last one was a fake and Charlie manages to find the last real ticket and takes his Grandpa Joe into the factory...and this just get plain weird...

What? You want me to do a analysis of both versions? You'll have to wait for tomorrow but in the mean time, let's talk about this one on it's own. First things first, Gene Wilder is great as Willy Wonka. He can create this charming, kind gentlemen character that can be interpreted as insane and has somewhat psychotic tendencies. The boat scene is the indication that he might be insane. I guess it depends on interpretation but that's my two cents...what did I just say? Anyway, the kid that plays Charlie is fantastic mainly due to the fact that he is a believable kid. He's kind but can also get a bit greedy at times. I also have to praise that the Oompa Loompas are all individual actors unlike a certain remake that I said I wouldn't mention but just did...oh.

I heard that the author of the original book, Roald Dahl, didn't like this film which I can understand as there are certain things changed such as squirrels being replaced by geese but I don't think a few changes could really soil a film. I, for one, thought that it lived up to the book and is often considered the definitive adaptation and has probably gone on to be the most recognisable look for the characters and sets. This film has lots of memorable moments including one of my favourite moments in film history ("YOU GET NOTHING!"). You watch this once and you will remember it forever.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a fun film that will leave an impression. It's a film that everyone should watch, like the Wizard of Oz. The cast is great, especially Gene Wilder, and, for the time, had some incredible sets. The film has gone on to be the definitive Roald Dahl adaptation that most people I talk to remember fondly. There are some things that haven't aged as well as the could have but is still a solid film.

A fun film with some fantastic acting. Although it doesn't stay true to the source material, there is still a lot to take from it.

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