← Back to Reviews

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Musical Comedy / English / 1971

Roald Dahl's dead, Mel Stuart's dead, and Gene Wilder just died and there will never ever ever, in the rest of the recorded history of the world, be a better excuse to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

Candy, Cream, Centipedes, Mink, Antlers, Bees, Geese, Chicken, Roast Beef, and Bratwurst.

It must seem somewhat hypocritical to praise Willy Wonka after condemning Tombstone when both movies feature on-set animals and Willy Wonka is ostensibly all about that kind of stuff.

However, to be fair, a large degree of it is abstracted out (giant intelligent geese that lay chocolate eggs?) and little is actually seriously said about anything to do with the production of anything coming out of the factory. Obvious disdain goes to the "Creepy Tunnel Scene" which nobody likes anyway despite having grown on me still features a chicken getting beheaded, I mean what the actual **** was that about? Wonka, get your **** together.

I'd like to think they used stock footage, but I can't really be sure and all it would have done is make a terrible scene slightly less terrible.

Even so, at least it wasn't played for laughs like that ******* scene in CHARLIE and the Chocolate Factory.

It's funny because animal abuse is funny.

All that crap is in a sharp minority to everything else in the movie though, there aren't horses in the shot every 10 minutes and the movie isn't trying to make some sort of false moral distinction about what it's doing. And because of that, I can mostly focus on the story and still appreciate the characters.


I used to think that I don't watch very many old movies, but it never really quite occurred to me that the VHS tape I would pop in regularly was made in the early 70s and based on a book even older.

I had read the book, always stopping at the sequel where the Great Glass Elevator takes Wonka into space to fight meat monsters (yes, that actually happened) and it reminds me that Dahl never actually liked this movie and that maybe Dahl's exact vision wasn't exactly the most compelling in the first place.

It's also curious to consider the shocked response The LEGO Movie received when it, at base, is a marketing vehicle. Willy Wonka did it too, and it's an utterly perplexing paradox where the most standard movie has all manner of creativity sucked out of it in the raw spirit of greed only for it to fail when the most blatant of product placement movies are born passion projects and become cult classic staples of cinema. How in the **** do we let this happen?

Well it happened, and to be honest, while this movie naturally appeals to me as a musical for it's catchy songs and strong deliveries, it's also a comedy.

But I never really found it to be terribly funny.

Frankly, I'm not sure I ever even really laughed at the movie.

I'm noticing a very BIZARRE trend with my favorite movies. They're not exactly movies that seem like they would appeal to me.

I don't drive vehicles, yet I love Mad Max: Fury Road.

I don't celebrate holidays, yet I love Nightmare Before Christmas.

I don't even eat chocolate, yet I love Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


Anyway, despite numerous jokes in the movie, I don't think it's charms end at the punchline so much as the jokes it chooses to the tell and the way it attempts to deliver them. I'm not saying they're bad, though I might concede that many of them are weak, it's really the really the characters that are fun to watch interact with each other.

Charlie is about as easy to root for as you would hope for (even if he does have that one really off moment where he punks his whole family that he found a golden ticket, that was a pretty dick move) and Grandpa Joe is a classic archetype played to a T. He has his opinions, and he's rather stuck in his ways, even literally so, but lines like "when a loaf of bread looks like a banquet, I have no business buying tobacco" and then later dissolving suspicions of that claim really goes to show he's more 3-dimensional than he may initially appear. He's not just Charlie's hanger-on, he's a doting grandfather, he likes to live vicariously, and his relentless optimism has a tendency to manifest itself in negative ways.

The other kids, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Mike TeeVee, and Violet Beauregarde play the spoiled foils to Charlie very well and so do their walking doormat parents. Although Augustus gets comparably little screentime compared to the rest, they all seem rather distinct despite sharing space beneath the same umbrella. It's especially easy to hate Veruca who gets her own entitlement song "I Want It Now", but the movie mercifully grants us the mental image of her burning to death in a garbage furnace so that's nice. Good family-friendly fun here.

Naturally the star of the show is, perhaps unintentionally, Willy Wonka who steals his way into the title of the movie by virtue of the Vietnam War at the time (way to pussy out, guys). Wonka, who was at one point considered to be played by one of the Monty Python crew (can't you see an Eric Idle Wonka?) is played by Gene Wilder and he's just great at it. Gene's since ceded much of his comedic acting to good writing, but it's hard not to credit him for bringing a lot of life to this character.

Eccentric is the key word here. Wonka may not be funny in quite the way I that makes me laugh in other movies, but he's very eccentric and acts much as I would and do... or maybe I act that way because of this movie? I dunno. But I do know that it's easy to find a good bit of myself in Wonka's mix of passion, cynicism, wisdom, and random deadpan whatthe****ery just to see how people react.

Randomly speaks in different languages? Check.

Makes concerned references to Noodle Incidents? Check.

Casually shrugs off the probable violent deaths of children?

He's just fun to watch and contributes the vast majority of memorable quotes.

It's really just the same tone from his first appearance to last save for the ending when Charlie is denied the lifetime supply of chocolate and when Grandpa Joe inquires he totally flips his ****.

Originally Posted by Willy Wonka
You STOLE Fizzy Lifting Drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to washed and sterilized so you get NOTHING! GOOD DAY SIR!
It's Charlie's predictable humility that gives us the happy ending, but I have to admit, I've always been a bit down on the ending, the Great Glass Elevator always did feel a bit anti-climactic, especially that "he lived happily ever after" line. Pfffft.

Altogether it's not really the story that pulls it altogether, and it's not even entirely the themes that I enjoy, though I do enjoy them.

It's the fact that this really heartfelt magical movie will stop dead as some bug-eyed creeper with a cart full of knives will suddenly sneak up behind Charlie to monologue about "fear of little men" and "nobody ever goes in and nobody ever comes out" before menacingly squeaking away that gets me. WHAT THE **** WAS THAT!?

What is this movie? What this beautiful movie that gives us a creepy man with a throaty German accent saying the phrase "bring it to me so I can find the secret formewlah", that's fantastic.

I really like the songs, I have trouble picking my favorite. It might be Cheer Up, Charlie, it's really sweet.

Get it? Sweet? CAUSE IT'S A MOVIE ABOUT CANDY? HRHRHRHRHR you know I gotta say this one thing: PUNS, they're a thing in this movie and I've heard people say that puns are the lowest form of comedy.

No. Puns are not the lowest form of comedy, you know what is?

MEMES. ****ing memes.

People don't even use the word "meme" correctly anymore, it's just a catch-all term for a reference that's been repeated AD NAUSEUM to such a degree that it ceases to be a reference anymore, it exists for the sake of existing. It's funny because it's supposed to be funny.

Willy Wonka exists online most recognizably as this:

Notice how the caption is unrelated to Willy Wonka, isn't anything close to something Willy Wonka ever says, and can just be inserted anywhere irrespective of it's relevance to Willy Wonka.

It's just a random screencap that unoriginal people hijack as a vehicle for their own opinions and always in Impact font. You ****ing hacks.

That this is what kids nowadays recognize Willy Wonka for disgusts me. It's no perfect movie and I won't even hazard to say it's exceptional in any single department, but I will say that it's a joyful disregard for convention by people who know better, and they know you know they know better.

If that makes any ******* sense at all was zum teufel ist los mit peeple, das so ein guten film ist, kann ich nicht verstehen, warum CABBAGES so schwer zu verstehen, Je ne peux pas vraiment parler d'autres langues, собирается бросить в немного русский сейчас здесь, 这是真正的只是谷歌翻译, 雄大なムースを含みます, and that's just Wonka Wash spelled backwards.

Final Verdict:
[Friggen' Awesome]