Tag Archives: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Jonny Depp

Nessa asked in the comments below if there’s any role that he can’t play?

Yes, 90% of the ones he’s cast in.

disclaimer: I know that’s just my opinion, but then it’s my blog, so that’s OK

But really, his Willy Wonka was bad. Very bad. And I’m not just saying that because I loved Gene Wilder in the role.

I suppose I will go and see Sweeny Todd if it’s got Alan Rickman in it, but to be honest I’m getting really bored of the Tim Burton/Jonny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter thing. Far too samey, very dull.

The last word

So before I start on the festival reviews I’ve decided that on the Charlie thing that it’s my blog so I get the last word.

I did find it slightly amusing that there were no comments on the book review. I will presume that’s because I’m right on, and you all agree so much you feel there is nothing to add :P

We’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest. Ness I’m not sure whether “I’ve said my peace” was a typo or not, but I liked it.

You know, Maggi Dawn never gets any of this.

Heeere’s Johnny…

I was going to leave the Charlie review as it was, but I’ve been goaded into further analysis. I will take each point turn by turn:

Nessa:
well, you *know* my views about the ooompa loompas in both the book and original movie(imperialistic hoo ha).

I’m not sure I did get that impression from you Ness. I will agree that these days they can be seen as imperialistic, but Dahl, especially in the earlier books was a writer of the old school. Little people are a fantastic plot device used by Tolkien, Rowling, Lewis, Blyton… in fact they are such a staple of the children’s and fantasy genres that many books that don’t use them seem a little flat.

Wood:
I particularly loved the new Oompa Loompas – they avoid the problem of imperialism (and little people, too).
This will need more explaining from you I’m afraid Wood, I don’t see how a parade of identical top-knotted little people is less imperialistic than orange men with green hair and white eyebrows capable of proper harmonies. Plus in the new film you can’t make out more than every other word of Danny Elfman’s over-over-over dubbed lyrics. They did mostly use Dahl’s text for the songs but the production meant they were far less effective when compared to the first films re-written lyrics.

Nessa:
although i’m not sure if i’ve expressed how unfortunate i thought the original music was.
This is a point of view you have expressed before, I’m afraid, and I know I’ve mentioned several times on this very blog that I love it. It’s my blog, and my opinion. Deal with it ;)

Nessa:
however i will give credit where credit was due, gene wilder was fantastic.
Wood:
Gene Wilder was a better Willy Wonka.

Mark this day down in history – a point agreed by all three of us :D

Nessa:
i haven’t seen the new one yet, but i can’t imagine that johnny depp was anything but wonderful.
Wood:
Johnny Depp was pretty good – and he tries to get across how complex the feelings of a man dedicated to making sweets for children must be… but he has this Michael Jackson impression thing happening, and it’s not *quite* right.

Johnny wasn’t all bad, but I found the Michael Jackson thing rather spooky – letting selected children into his dreamland, his empire, they leave damaged for the most part, apart from the one who really understands him. Everything is blamed on his father. It’s not a comparison I would have made naturally and I rather resent Depp and Burton for planting that rather sordid thought into my childhood memories.

And is it just me that’s getting really bored of Tim Burton’s casting? There are thousands of actors out there that would have made fantastic Willy Wonkas, Johnny was the dull no brainer choice. Kiefer Sutherland however… that would have been a fantastic film.

Wood:
In all other respects (except for the Christopher Lee subplot, and even that was rescued by the thing with the disappearing house), the Burton film was better.

Nah the Christopher Lee subplot sucked badly, and it spoiled the ending, the film looked too deeply. Dahl characters never need a background history, they just are and what’s more the kids don’t care why Wonka is the way he is, Dahl understood this. Once you overlay the Burton template onto the story however there has to be a resolution. Wonka is not evil enough to be a baddy and need his comeuppance, so he needs a redemption. Actually, Tim, he doesn’t. That is why the subplot sucked.

Nessa:
(i still keep my eyes open for a movie we might agree on. i believe it can happen. i mean, we’ll always have bridget jones…)

And Dead Poets Society, Truly Madly Deeply, The Princess Bride, Harry Potters 1-3 (and probably the rest when they’re released)…

Slightly more than a couple of hours later…

… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was good, but not great. I was going to do an exciting comparative table detailing where it does better than ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, but my technical support is busy at work having taken an extended lunch break to help me get my passport sorted (gah).

Here instead are the points where ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ wins:
– Charlie himself
– Sticking to the book better (although minus points for the tangential plot involving Christoper Lee which meant it finished awkwardly)
– The town and general scenery outside of the factory, very bleak, Burton on good form.
– Grandma Georgina
– The special effects (even taking into account the 30 year gap between the 2 films)

‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ however remains the better film, partly for these reasons:

– Willy Wonka himself
– The music (minus points for ‘Cheer up Charlie’ though)
– The Oompa Loompas
– Grandpa Joe
– The other children apart from Charlie

So there you have it. I was very pleased to recieve a special edition region 1 dvd of ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ for my wedding anniversary. It is the definitive version on film.

The book still wins hands down of course, preferably with illustrations by Faith Jaques rather than Quentin Blake, but that’s a different story…

Waah

OK time for a late update.

They say life mirrors art. Something mirrored something today, not sure what, but well, you know I talk a lot in this wiblog of Harold Bishop of Neighbours fame? And earlier today I was talking about ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’? OK. I was watching Neighbours today, as I am wont to do, and Harold walks into the Kennedy household (which if you haven’t watched lately comprises Dr Karl, his wife Susan, their 25 year old recently widowed daughter Libby, and Libby’s son Ben). Harold is clutching a dvd that he has obviously borrowed from the family the dialogue went thus…

Karl: Did you enjoy it?

Harold: What? Aah… yes, 30 years on, still a classic.

Libby: My favourite bit is the lickable wallpaper.

Susan: Yeah, she nearly licked a hole in the bedroom wall when she was 7!

freaky.

Some questions answered…

Nessa – My arguments always stand up, why do you say otherwise?

Nessa again – You may certainly watch the film with me, then you’ll see what good cheesy music is all about.

Nessa (and also Dave and possibly Chris?) – Yes, I noticed the character limit in making a comment the other day on Tracy’s log, what’s that all about?

Some links

In researching today’s song I seem to have inadvertently stumbled across an interest almost out of proportion to it’s merits. However I think I’ve separated the good stuff out now, and can proceed.

May 9th: Pure Imagination.

(Sorry about the bad midi file, I’ve just had to replace a bad link.)

I was on a bit of a film thing yesterday, and it was fun, so I’m carrying on with it. Different song, different film. ‘Pure Imagination’ is the song sung by Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) as he leads the kids into the ‘nerve centre’ of the factory, an edible scenic meadow, complete with a chocolate river. The movie was meant as an advertisement for a new chocolate bar from Quaker, who funded much of the production, unfortunately they couldn’t get the formula right, and had to abandon it. These days, Wonka candy is available these days, but the closest chocolate I have found to what I always imagined Wonka’s to be is a Thornton’s Fudge Whip bar (50p at your nearest outlet). They really should re-name them ‘Whipplescrumptious Fudgemallow Delight’. Incidentally, those Wonka kids? Look at them now! (From left to right, Charlie, Violet, Mike, Verruca and Augustus.) All this is making me want to see this film again and again in glorious dvd quality… Anyway, back to the song. It was written by Leslie Bricusse OBE and Anthony Newley. Yes that Anthony Newley, who sadly passed away in 1999. They wrote all of the songs for this film, and Bricusse for many others, including ‘Stop The World I Want to Get Off’ and ‘Scrooge’ the Musical.

That’s enough links for now.

Nessa, no, the Lost Boys is cheesy fun, ABBA is music for people who don’t like music.

More proper music tomorrow.