I don’t have any great connection to Willy Wonka. To be honest, there are midgets in that movie, and they scare me to fucking death. Because of this, I bring to you, my faithful followers, a GUEST BLOGGER. That’s right.
His name is David (“Reverend David B Loco”, here on WordPress). He’s my main squeeze, the apple of my eye, my partner in crime. And, apparently, he has about three paragraphs to say about Willy Wonka. I hope you “like” him as much as I do (see what I did there?).
There are two movies that I associate with my pre-teenage childhood: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Planet of the Apes. And Tim Burton remade both. I have mixed feelings for Tim Burton. I like Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish. However, I also describe Tim Burton as depth for the shallow. In other words, the types of people who typically marvel at the latest incarnation of X-Men or whatever the hell is setting new box office receipt records go to Tim Burton movies to get a more meaningful movie experience. That, of course, does not make Burton meaningful. Is this a knock on Burton or his audience? I don’t know. I only know that I haven’t seen either of the Tim Burton remakes and have no desire to.
Dealing specifically with Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I’ve often heard, as in this L.A. Times article, that it is much truer to the book. I haven’t read the book since I was five or six, but isn’t that the epitome of laziness? If I wanted the book, then I would read the goddamned book; I wouldn’t watch the movie that is more reminiscent of the book. In effect, because I am a reactionary bastard, that makes me want to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory even less.
On the other hand, Mel Stuart’s 1971 opus, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which Burton described as “sappy,” has perhaps received mixed reviews over the years, but it always fills me, the reactionary bastard, with a feeling that anything is possible and things, no matter how bad, can work out. This is especially encapsulated in the ending scene in which Wonka, played by Gene Wilder, bequeaths his chocolate factory to Charlie and reminds him what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. “He lived happily ever after.” Sappy? Probably. Definitely, but I guess the only thing I can say is that I want my chocolate sweet. If I want bitter, heavy, meaningful, whatever, I will be unlikely to seek out Tim Burton or Mel Stuart, though Stuart, thankfully, doesn’t try to slip a worm into my candy bar.
My point? Isn’t this a great bit of embroidery? Shit yes.