Monthly Archives: September 2012

Late to turning violet! A review of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka: If the good Lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.

In my lifetime, I have managed to break several rules of film watching. Some of my favorite movies (Casino, for example) are movies I watched on television only. When my dad showed me the Star Wars movies for the first time, he accidentally had us watch them out of order (Return of the Jedi before Empire Strikes Back— I was extremely confused). I’ve seen the more recently made Godzilla and King Kong movies but never the originals. What can I say? I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

(Yes, I have seen that movie)

Watching a remake of a classic movie (especially when that remake is spectacularly terrible) before seeing said classic movie is probably the worst crime you can commit, according to many people I know. Unfortunately one night when I was just a young lass (22) and curious about the world and its meaning (I was wasted), I saw the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory listed on the TV guide and decided to finally watch the classic movie I had never seen (lit’rally [Chris Traeger] I thought the quote “these snozzberries taste like snozzberries” came straight from SuperTroopers). It took me a few seconds to realize that this was, in fact, the terror created by Tim Burton and not the original movie starring my boyfriend Gene Wilder. Whatever. I decided to keep watching it and I was horrified. The movie was really creepy and, to put it eloquently, it made me feel like I was on drugs. Dislike.

Fast forward to 2012. I’m still young (27) and curious about the world (not as wasted), and after getting teased by some people I trust and respect (RIP the WAVE) over the “snozzberries” comment, I decided to finally give in and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

So as it turns out, the original movie is also pretty awful. The random musical numbers are very strange and awkwardly placed, and the set looked pretty busted, even for a movie that was made in the 70s. The acting— as I’ve already established, Gene Wilder is my boyfriend but I felt like he was very low energy in this movie. He seemed legitimately bored in most of the scenes, rather than playing bored. Contrasting this role to, let’s say, the role he plays in Young Frankenstein and he’s seems completely off his game. Maybe he had eaten too much candy? Maybe the sight of four grandparents living in a bed together and never moving affected his performance? Maybe it’s because he was acting alongside some of the worst child actors I’ve ever seen? That’s probably it. Yikes.

I’ve read the Roald Dahl book (along with James and the Giant Peach and Matilda— I’m extremely well-read, you see) and I understand that it wasn’t a feel good story to begin with. But something about seeing the story in action came off as creepy. I have to caveat this by saying that I have not seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and I’ve heard the movie is very good. But maybe Roald Dahl books just make really awful movies. Matilda was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (partially because of that actress’s speech impediment, my god) and James and the Giant Peach was pretty terrible too. It’s just a theory I’m working on. Maybe I’ll watch Fox someday and realize that I’m completely wrong. Maybe.

(Probably not)

Face palm moment:
Gene Wilder is a perfect example of how someone who is not particularly attractive becomes attractive because of their sense of humor.

Favorite part:
I’m going to revise this to be “least favorite part” because I’m on a diet and this stupid movie made me really want candy.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment:
Obviously….

Willy Wonka: Try some more. The strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.
Veruca Salt: Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?
Willy Wonka: [grabbing Veruca’s mouth and pinching it a bit to hold it open] *We* are the music makers… and *we* are the dreamers of dreams.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10):
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory joins movies on my list like Big, A Christmas Story and Princess Bride in that category of “movies people like as a kid that I didn’t like watching as an adult.” Some people (Kevin) believe these movies are made to be watched when you’re a kid and more innocent and/or naive, and once you become an adult you lose your imagination and your tolerance for candy and bubbles, you can’t possibly begin to appreciate them. Okay, but why did I enjoy Goonies? PeeWee’s Big Adventure? Karate Kid? These are all movies I first saw as an adult and wound up really enjoying them. So maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s that these movies my friends enjoyed as kids are actually quite awful. Just a thought.

(Please don’t kill me)