Willy Wonka And The Chocolate FactoryYear Of Release:
My Estimated Age When I First Saw It:
As much as I still like it, I can definitely tell how this was deemed Rifftrax-worthy
: many of the effects don't exactly date well, the plot and the acting are pretty mockable, it all just looks so early 70's, and let's face it, oompa-loompas are creepy. But I don't think it would have been the same movie without any of that, honestly. You can't even really fault the shrillness of most of the child actors, because well, they're supposed
to be annoying brats.
The main element that makes the film for me is of course Gen Wilder's performance. I'm kind of biased because like a lot of people this is the first adaptation I was exposed to, but to me he just is
Willy Wonka. He's terrific at going from slipping in Stealth Insults
and veiled threats to kids and parents alike one moment and being a complete wide-eyed idealist the next without either canceling the other out, and one really does get the sense that there's no telling just what he'll do.
I also really like the gimmick of Wonka tossing off literary quotes - basically it adds up to a movie where there's jokes you'll immediately get as a kid, ones that will be lost on you until you're an adult
, and a few you might not even get when you are an adult
. As a kid I don't think I even got the pointed absurdity of the whole world going crazy over a tour of a candy factory, and the media circus spoof that ensued. Probably because I was just waiting for them to get to the factory.
The one issue I do kind of have with the movie is apparently the same change from the novel Roald Dahl
disagreed with: The arguably Broken Aesop
that results from Charlie breaking the rules and drinking the fizzy lifting drinks but getting the factory anyway. There's really no reason I can think of for having this happen other than someone involved in the film deciding they really
wanted to do the whole flying effect. However, I have sort of thought of a couple of ways that there could be logic to it: Notably, this was the only time an adult
instigated disobeying the rules - Charlie wasn't exactly protesting too much, but Uncle Joe suggested the idea the very moment Wonka left them alone, so that could kind of be a mitigating factor. It seems very much in character for Wonka to deliberately leave them alone for a moment, then covertly spy on them somehow. A bit more reasonably, given how the scene where they're confronted about it plays out, the aesop could actually be "being selfish and breaking rules is wrong, but even a morally upright person can have a moment of weakness, which is okay as long as you admit you've made a mistake and don't do it again".
This is definitely something I only see myself pulling out once in a great while out of nostalgia - in fact I bought it from a closing-down Blockbuster late last year and didn't end up watching it until now. However, I did still enjoy it despite it's slight imperfections.