Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! It really came down to the wire on this one, as Eyes Wide Open made a huge come-back and ended up tying the score right up to the end. And in the end, it was Eyes Wide Open who won it out by a single vote. Real underdog story there. Congrats! For the next battle, we’re skipping back a bit and hitting up the one we had to skip a while back. Since the skip, one of the contestants had to drop out and a back-up came in to take the spot. This time we’re looking at the classic musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Read, vote, comment, enjoy! You have until Monday. Below is the updated bracket. Click to make it bigger.
By R.L. Logan
It wasn’t until re-watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory did I realize that they don’t make magical films like they used to. Sure, there are films where you are whisked away to a mystical land or inhabit a world filled with wizards and witches, but I’m talking about the feeling of magic that the viewer gets while watching a film. The transition from black-and-white to color in Wizard of Oz, the Tramp seeing the flower shop girl after she regains her sight in City Lights or George receiving the money from the townspeople in It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s that magical feeling you can only get from watching a movie. My first experience with that kind of magic was with Willy Wonka when he led the kids into “a world of pure imagination.” The lights, the color, the score, everything about it just worked in a way that moved me and still moves me to this day. Magic, pure and simple. But I’m not here to reminisce, I’m here to review. Does Willy Wonka still hold up after all these years? In a word: yes. In a silly word: it’s scrumdidilyumptious!
Based on the bestseller by Ronald Dahl, the film follows Charlie Bucket, a down on his luck kid living in a house with his mother and grandparents just trying to get by. One day, Charlie (and subsequently the rest of the world) learns that famed candy-maker Willy Wonka will be putting golden tickets into five of his chocolate bars. What do these golden tickets entail? A lifetime supply of chocolate and a tour of his factory, which he keeps locked away from the public as to make sure nobody steals his formulas. One by one the tickets are picked up until only one remains. By some stretch of luck, Charlie is the final winner and taking his grandfather along with him, he and the other winners venture into the factory to see what awaits them. Needless to say, what they (and subsequently the audience) see is nothing that they ever could have imagined.
Despite quality performances from Jack Albertson and Peter Ostrum, this is Gene Wilder’s film and his alone. From the moment he hobbles out of the factory and onto the red carpet till the screen fades to black, nobody can touch Wilder. He encompasses the joy and energy of the factory, one minute wide-eyed and child like, the next completely manic and irrational. Whether he’s singing, dancing, sitting or waltzing around the factory in his colorful costume, he demands attention and you as the viewer will give it to him.
Underneath the colorful craziness and whimsical musical number lies a deeper film though. One of morality, choice and innocence. The Oompa Loompas act as a musical moral compass throughout the film, warning those in the factory as well as those at home what they should avoid to prevent the downfall of their fellow ticket winners. Each character represent something, be it greed, over- indulgence, pride or arrogance, with each passing the Oompa Loompas deliver their word and hope that the viewer, as well as children, heed it. Charlie, who for most of the film is portrayed as a pure and innocent child, is faced with temptation on many occasions and we as the viewer are tasked with seeing whether or not even Charlie can resist.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a timeless masterpiece full of wonder and magic. Gene Wilder is brilliant, giving his best performance he’d ever given and, even after multiple viewings, I still want to go to a world of pure imagination. It’s a feel-good film with a deeper meaning and one that should not be missed by anybody.
By Kevin Smith
Never eat chocolate that comes from a crazed a-hole.
Reclusive candy baron Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) invites five lucky children to spend one day touring his unbelievable factory, where all sorts of crazy adventures are to be found and valuable life lessons are to be learned. One of them is a poor boy named Charlie (Peter Ostrum), who wants nothing more than to just be noticed and meet his hero.
This has been a film that I have seen plenty of times. When I was a kid, I always used to watch the hell out of this whenever it would come on stations like ABC Family (yeah, so what I that I watched that channel) or even the Disney Channel. I loved it all of those times then, but now, not so much.
What bothered me about this flick right from the start was how damn slow and corny everything was for the first 45 minutes. Before this story goes into the Chocolate Factory, we are stuck watching all of these people, from all around the world, going around and searching for the Golden Ticket and even though some parts of this may be amusing, other parts just come off as schmaltzy and total-kiddie fare. I feel so cool that I can say stuff like that, yet, I feel so old as well. There was a whole bunch going on here that wasn’t as interesting, but luckily, once those first 45 minutes are over, we are treated to Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory, and that’s really where the film picks up for sure.
What’s so fun and exciting about the time that we spend in Wonka’s Factory is that everything is just so great to look at that you almost have to stop the movie sometimes, just to gaze at what director Mel Stuart brought to this production. There are so many wild and zany colors here that they just pop-out at you in every scene and Wonka’s factory actually has some pretty neat-o machines just laying around that make you wonder just how much Stuart studied the classic book this film is obviously based on. But it isn’t just the colors that make this film fun, it’s also the musical numbers, which I’m sure everybody knows by heart right now and are probably humming the “Oompa Loompa” song right now that I just mentioned the music here. There’s a whole bunch of other songs that are catchy here but it’s always the “Oompa Loompa” that everybody comes back to. Just goes to show you that people love the dwarves. No matter how creepy they may seem to look in their bright-ass orange paint.
Actually, that’s one thing about this movie that always had me scratching my head. I never understood how nice and peaceful this movie could be by showing all of the neat little machines to make all of this delicious-looking candy, but then come out of nowhere with these crazy-dark scenes like where Violent inflates like a balloon and of course everybody’s favorite, the tunnel sequence. But what’s even weirder is how those two different styles gelling coming together here, actually gel very well and don’t make this film seem uneven at all. In fact, that actually adds a lot more of a stranger twist on this story and makes you think just what the hell was going on with Roald Dahl when he originally wrote this story, or just what did Stuart get from it. Who will ever know the answer. All I know is that I was freaked out by some of these scenes as a kid, and now that I’m older and wiser, I’m still a tiny bit scared. Just a tiny bit, though.
The real reason why this film is considered as weird as it is, even by today’s standards, is probably because of Gene Wilder’s iconic performance as the one and the only crazy candy-maker, Willy Wonka. Wilder is a legend in comedy with almost everything he does and he bring so much fun and energy to this role, and even to this film, that you can’t help but love him even when things start to get a little sour for his character. Yes, Wonka does get a little dark and show you that this guy has a true imbalance in his brain, which is something you believe, but you also believe him when he shows the love and wonder inside of his character that makes you look at him as if he was just another kid, checking out a chocolate factory. Wilder’s dry wit and sardonic humor works well here and you can just tell that this guy is really getting pissed off at all of these little spoiled brats that keep on messing with his crap, and also not taking everything they have for advantage. Surprise we don’t see Wilder pop-up in much today, but we still have this film, along with plenty others to remind us why this guy was such a comedic force way back when and could really do it all, no matter what the story may have been.
However, my problem is that I feel like the character of Willy Wonka gets so dark, that it’s almost too hard for the film to ignore and even though they did, I still felt like it was a bit of a missed opportunity. By the end of the flick, there’s this really strange and out-of-the-blue scene where Wonka just yells at two characters at the top of his lungs, for no reason and you can see that there is something going on behind those eyes, but the film never does nor says anything about it and it was strange because right after that, everything went right back to normal as if nothing every happened in the first place. Now, I’m not asking this film to totally ditch it’s kiddie-roots, I just wanted it to be a lot darker, like it’s title character seemed like he promised, only to show his mental insanity every once and awhile. It would have been awesome if Willy Wonka went crazy and started knifing all of these people that came on-tour with him but then we would have a totally different movie in general, and also one that could never be shown to kids. Even though I think I would because I wanna be that cool parent. Oh great, here I go once again just talking about being old.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may not be the iconic childhood classic I once remembered, due to some strange directions for Wonka himself, but Gene Wilder is great in the role, the look of this film is colorful and lively, and just also brings you back to your childhood days where that tunnel scene scared you then, and still does now.
seven.five out of ten