Acceptable Lifestyle Targets: Augustus Gloop and Angina Salt are both mocked in-story and in the narration for their obesity; the Salt family in general is also the epitome of obnoxious, spoiled rich people who use money to get everything they want.
Mr. Willy Wonka is either a genius, a monster, or a combination thereof. As he is an Interpretative Character, every major adaptation takes him in a different direction. The 1971 film portrays him as a traditional Trickster Mentor, while the 2005 film presents him as a strange recluse who refuses to grow up — and serves as a foil to Charlie, whose poverty and responsibilities leave his childhood almost joyless. The 2013 musical presents him as a Sugar and Ice PersonalityAnti-Hero. Each of these provides fodder for unique Alternate Character Interpretations, but questions that can apply to most any reading/viewing include:
Is Charlie merely a patsy, intended to inherit the responsibility for the multiple acts of child abuse, unsafe working conditions, and slave labour committed in Mr. Wonka's factory?
Could Mr. Wonka be an example of Asexuality? His devotion to a field of work most would consider only a hobby and the fact he didn't get married and chose to find an heir rather than have children suggests he might be a Celibate Eccentric Genius.
Is Mr. Wonka an Aesop Enforcer and Chessmaster, deliberately steering the unknowing brats towards their various fates as a Radish Cure of sorts or a way to Scare 'Em Straight? Each is taken out of the running when they go to steal or use something that clearly isn't safe but they still want, all playing right into their various vices — which Mr. Wonka is likely aware of, having presumably followed the press coverage of the contest. It would also explain why the Oompa-Loompas seem to know so much about the kids (a question actually broached in-story in the 2005 film). In adaptations, Mr. Wonka usually seems to be decidedly unconcerned with rescuing or stopping the kids, so...
In a related issue, are any or all of the tickets intended to fall into the hands of the kids who find them, that they may be punished or rewarded as appropriate? Depending on which version one's reading/watching, the possibility may be unaddressed, teased, lampshaded, and/or confirmed!
So, Grandpa Joe has spent decades in bed, being waited on hand-and-foot by his daughter-in-law, while his son slaves away to earn the pittance that the family exists on. As soon as his grandson gets some good news, though, he's straight out of bad and taking the opportunity to be Charlie's escort. Which raises the question: did the good news really jolt some life and vigor back into Grandpa Joe, or is he actually a lazy individual?
Angst? What Angst?: The Golden Ticket tour group learns how dangerous Wonka's Factory can be — not to mention how nonchalant their guide is — when Augustus Gloop winds up sent to who-knows-where via the pipes, but it doesn't dampen their enthusiasm for the rest of the tour, even as further members are eliminated in similarly absurd disasters. No matter what they witness, no one ever asks to leave if they aren't directly affected by events, and the Audience Surrogate is having the time of his life. Granted, the disasters are all played for Black Comedy and the victims are all repulsive brats and coddling parents. The 2013 stage adaptation plays with this trope a little, again for laughs — even though the party is horrified by what happens to Augustus (and in this version it's suggested he might not survive), when the impatient Mr. Wonka asks them "Anybody want to go home?" not one answers in the affirmative! As the party further dwindles, though, anxiety creeps into the wonder of those still standing...
Anvilicious: The fates of the bratty kids. Lampshade Hanging in the 2013 musical gently tweaks this: "True, we lost a few children along the way...but we all learned something and that's the important thing!" according to Wonka.
Applicability: The novel has enough of this going on that Lucy Mangan's Milestone Celebration retrospective Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory devotes two sidebars to examining Marxist and Freudian interpretations, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Let's not even get into the adaptations...
Designated Villain: Mike and especially Violet have the potential to be seen this way due to Values Dissonance; in the source material, they are considered "bad" primarily because they are addicted to television and chewing gum, respectively. Most 21st-century adaptations deliberately give both of them unlikable personalities so that they do not end up Unintentionally Sympathetic.
Charlie Bucket is poor but virtuous and has as warm and loving a family as one could wish for. They suffer quite a bit early on... then he not only gets the rare chance to visit the factory he's always wondered about plus a lifetime supply of sweets, but also winds up becoming heir to the place! True, life as Willy Wonka's guest (and, in the sequel, sidekick) is sometimes terrifying — but so long as you follow the rules, it's never, ever boring.
Willy Wonka himself: A Renaissance Man extraordinaire, possessed of remarkable wit and intelligence, he doesn't just live in The Wonderland but created it. Moreover, while the real world can a harsh place for the good and too-comfortable for the bad, in his world, be it by chance or plotting, Laser-Guided Karma prevails. For anyone dispirited by just how unfair the world can be, this is a deeply satisfying fantasy.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Marilyn Manson, a longtime fan of the 1971 film, expressed interest in playing the role of Willy Wonka in the 2005 film, and has a theory that Wonka is Satan, tempting and leading the damned souls (the children) into Hell!
Fandom Berserk Button: Feel free to debate the merits of the two movies — but remember that the novel came first.
Fandom Rivalry: The fandom has many rivalries within it over the novel and its adaptations (making it an inter-media example).
Is the 1971 film a wonderful, tuneful Pragmatic Adaptation that makes Charlie truly earn his happy ending and has become just as iconic a story as, if not moreso than, the book...or is it an Audience-Coloring Adaptation that violates his noble character, has drippy songs, and unfairly overshadows the novel and all other versions of it, including more faithful ones? Notably, Roald Dahl hated the film...
Is the 2005 film beautiful, lavish, Truer to the Text and worthy of Dahl's novel...or is it a soulless parade of weird imagery that derails the wonderful character of Willy Wonka to push a Loners Are Freaks/"family knows best" message that is the antithesis of Dahl?
The rivalries get even more heated over how the '71 film impacted the '05 film's public perception. Attackers will cite that the first film has become such a cultural touchstone that trying to re-adapt its source material would lead to nothing but failure (as evident by the fact that, for example, there hasn't been a straight adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz after the 1939 film's success.) Defenders appreciate the Truer to the Text and agree it would be a lot more well-liked if it wasn't in the first film's shadow.
Is the 2013 West End musical a darkly lovable Pragmatic Adaptation, clearly created by people who wanted to preserve Dahl's spirit and humor, that manages to step out of the shadow of the film versions even with a Bootstrapped Theme and some Internal Homages...or is it just another flashy spectacle lacking drama and heart, with a boring first act and frantic second one, and songs that don't hold a candle to those of the '71 version? Many people who don't like this show state that they would have preferred a straight Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of the '71 film instead, and/or hope that the announced rewrites for the American market will sub in more material from that version (though Dahl's estate likely wouldn't have allowed the former option, because he hated that version).
Fetish Fuel: According to the internet, the various adapations' depiction of the bloating Violet is what has led many expansion and transformation fetishists down that path. Squick.
First Installment Wins: Raise your hand if you didn't know there was a sequel... Even Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory barely acknowledges its existence.
Harsher in Hindsight: The Amusing Injuries the kids suffer are much more terrifying if one remembers that children used to work in factories, and often suffered horrific actual injuries (sometimes fatal) in case of a slightest mistake.
Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: To an extent. Willy Wonka is the standout character and the most famous adaptation, a 2005 American stage musical, and a defictionalized candy brand are named after him rather than poor Charlie. But other adaptations use the original title without any trouble.
It Was His Sled: Between all the adaptations and parodies, The Reveal that the Golden Ticket contest is a way for Wonka to find an heir has become this; some adaptations (most obviously the 2005 film) pull Not His Sled twists to compensate.
Just Here for Godzilla: Many fans of the novel and/or adaptations are Just There for Willy Wonka and tend to complain that he doesn't get enough "onstage time" in favor of that boring poor kid and his family (go to any theatre message board discussing the 2013 musical and there will be complaints that boil down to this). The 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka tries to address this by opening the show with Mr. Wonka and his Oompa-Loompas discussing his Zany Scheme and giving him a King Incognito identity as a candy vendor, but this has the effect of killing the mystery the novel and other adaptations build up around him and his world.
Magnificent Bastard: While little in the novel suggests that anything related to the Golden Ticket contest and the tour (i.e. the bratty kids' fates) is deliberately planned by Willy Wonka, it's not uncommon for adaptations to tweak things to turn him into this to varying degrees.
In the 1971 film, the whole business with "Slugworth" turns out to be a Secret Test of Character masterminded by Mr. Wonka.
In the 2005 film, other characters note that the Oompa-Loompas' 'improvisation' of their songs smacks of conspiracy. This ramps things straight into casino territory, as it rather implies that Mr. Wonka cherrypicked those kids specifically.
In the 2013 musical, tropers are directed to the Walking Spoiler folder on the character sheet for the details...
Memetic Mutation: Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory briefly discusses two that are certainly not limited to the Internet: "'Willy Wonka' is now shorthand for any kind of innovator or eccentric genius.[...]Having a Golden Ticket is synonymous with getting an access-all-areas pass to anything desirable." The former's memetic status is reflected on this wiki with Mr. Wonka becoming a Trope Namer — one of the few remaining ones that's named after a specific character.
Slow-Paced Beginning: The first third of the book is devoted to backstory and Developing Doomed Characters, but once the tour begins, wheeeeeee! Also applies to all adaptations, which easily split into two halves — the first set in the mundane world, the second in the absurd one.
Squick: Augustus Gloop goes for a swim in chocolate intended for eating. A few days later someone in the world will be eating chocolate that a fat boy has been swimming around in for a few minutes....
The novel both addresses this and makes it worse with Mrs. Gloop yelling that Augustus will be spreading his cold into the chocolate.
Toy Ship: Though many fanworks age them up a few years, shipping the kids happens pretty often.
Violet's primary vice being gum chewing has aged poorly, so starting with the 2005 film the character is tweaked in adaptations to make her the proudest or vainest of the kids, with the gum chewing habit endemic of the larger issue.
In the 2005 film, she is a Competition Freak who has to be a winner in everything she sets her mind to, hence her becoming a world-champion gum chewer.
In the 2010 opera, she is vain and obsessed with being thin. She chews rather than eats.
In the 2013 musical, she is an airheaded starlet who, with her dad's help, parlayed her "talent" for gum chewing into a multimedia Cash Cow Franchise.
Augustus Gloop's status as an Acceptable Target was subject to considerable criticism by the time of the 2005 film, due to weight and body-shaming being far more sensitive issues in the 21st century. That doesn't keep that film and later adaptations from sticking with a straight Fat Idiot / Fat Bastard portrayal, though, probably because the primary reason he's fat is because he's greedy and overeats.
Values Resonance: Gum chewing may not be seen as a vice anymore, and Mike's plot thread leans on New Media Are Evil, but by and large the obnoxious behavior of the brats and their parents' willingness to indulge them are timeless issues that are easy to adapt to whatever The Present Day is, which might be a reason the story has been consistently popular and frequently adapted for 50+ years.
Vanilla Protagonist: Charlie's Nice Guy lack of vices sets a contrast when he's surrounded by the colorful brats; he's their foil. There's also his lovable Grandpa Joe, and eccentric Mr. Wonka.
We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Post-1980s adaptations, particularly in their efforts to update Violet and Mike, can easily run into this trope. The 2005 film has a sight gag involving an Oompa-Loompa watching Oprah Winfrey; the 2013 stage musical has a Boastful Rap for Violet and Cyberpunk Is Techno for Mike in the Genre Roulette. Of course, most all of this is being Played for Laughs, and it helps that both of the above-mentioned versions take place in Retro Universe settings and, again, make their of-the-moment vices endemic of more timeless issues.
The Woobie: Charlie, for all the criticism about his being a Useless Protagonist, is clearly a good, selfless kid who's been dealt a lousy hand by life and deserves a break. He's particularly woobie-ish in the 1971 film (see that version's YMMV page) and the 2013 musical (see below).
Woobie Species: The Oompa-Loompas, if one doesn't regard them as just exceptionally tiny humans (their children are only a few inches tall). Their lives might be Happiness in Slavery now, but it's still a substantial improvement on their previous existence in Loompaland...
Woolseyism: A mild case. Veruca Salt's surname was changed to Paprika in the Hebrew translation because "Salt" doesn't have a meaning in Hebrew and young readers wouldn't understand there's a connection between the name and the dad's business.
Violet is a lot more sympathetic than in most adaptations, as it's made abundantly clear that her brattiness is the result of years of psychological abuse by her hideous Stage Mom, who is the true Hate Sink of her arc. This has likely contributed to her being one of the most popular characters of this adaptation.
Memetic Molester: Willy Wonka. Beyond the Nightmare Fuel elements of Johnny Depp's performance, when the film hit theaters it was in the wake of Michael Jackson being found not guilty on child molestation charges. As Depp's Wonka and Jackson are superficially similar in appearance, the film was the butt of jokes and questions as to whether this was intentional.
One-Scene Wonder: Christopher Lee as Dr. Wilbur Wonka gets only a few short scenes, but they are significant and lots of fun regardless of what one thinks of the Adaptation Expansion. He takes all of the Dracula and Saruman mannerisms and transposes them onto a dentist. Just imagine Christopher Lee throwing his resonant basso into the word "Lollipops."
The Scrappy: Willy Wonka himself in this adaptation. Johnny Depp's performance was panned especially in comparison to Gene Wilder's much loved take on the character. Not helping matters is the change from the book in which Wonka wants Charlie to abandon his family completely to work in the factory. His resemblance to Michael Jackson was also much remarked upon, especially since the film came out at the height of his sex scandal.
Americans Hate Tingle: U.K. reviews ranged from straight-up pans to "fun but not as good as Matilda" to a few raves. U.S. critics universally panned it. This may be a reason why the 2017 Broadway production is seeing an extensive Retool.
Applicability: As noted above under Alternate Character InterpretationDouglas Hodge, who originated the role of Mr. Wonka in this show, regarded him as "almost autistic". Indeed, Mr. Wonka does have several traits overlapping with high-functioning autism/Aspergers (sometimes Literal-Minded, often brutally honest, thinks logically, fully devoted to his craft, no close friends, extremely energetic) and in this adaptation is also a Motor Mouth who Hates Small Talk, and, as played by Hodge, is prone to extravagant arm/hand gestures. With all that in mind, his "I Am" Song "Simply Second Nature" — and his quest to find someone who has a similar creative spirit and understands his way of thinking to become his successor — becomes even more poignant than it already is in context. (And cold though he can be at times, the brats and their parents, via insults and looking down on his motivations, come off as picking on someone who is trying to be a good host and sincerely hopes they'll appreciate his work...)
Critical Dissonance: As noted above, professional critics thought it merely okay or panned it outright — and everyone compared it to not only the film adaptations, but the otherRoald Dahl musical on the West End (as well as Broadway by that point), the highly-acclaimed Matilda. Nor is there much love for the show on musical theatre message boards. Nonetheless, it lasted three-and-a-half years in London, breaking West End one-week sales records twice over in 2013 and setting a one-week house record for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane over the 2014 holiday season.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Mrs. Teavee. Not only does she survive the longest (sans the Buckets and Mr. Wonka) on the tour, she also provides a great deal of comedy throughout the show with her alcoholic Stepford Smiling tendencies. She also gets a surprising, funny resolution to her character arc: she comes around to Mr. Wonka's way of thinking and is happy Mike's been shrunk.
Friendly Fandoms: At least on Tumblr, there's some overlap between this show's fanbase and that of Matilda. Beyond the obvious connection of being Roald Dahl adaptations, they also share a choreographer, their respective book writers touched base with each other on the challenges of adapting Dahl, and owing in part to the need for West End shows to triple/quadruple cast child roles a few child actors wound up logging time in both productions. One adult actress, Lara Denning, played Miss Honey in Matilda and Mrs. Bucket in this show.
Memetic Molester: Averted. In the runup to the opening, the catastrophe of the Jimmy Savile revelations (for non-U.K. tropers, he was an eccentric Top of the Pops and children's show host posthumously revealed to be a horrifically prolific serial pedophile/rapist) was still fresh news, and Douglas Hodge acknowledged in interviews that launching a musical about an eccentric chocolatier whose world is highly dangerous for bratty kids was skirting the latter trope under such circumstances. But in practice, the show didn't elicit the unsavory comparisons that the 2005 film did — likely because it fully embraces the Black Comedy of the source material and presents Wonka as an Anti-HeroDeadpan Snarker with a Sugar and Ice Personality, rather than the Uncanny ValleyStepford SmilerMan Child of the '05 version.
Replacement Scrappy: Poor Alex Jennings, the first replacement Willy Wonka. As early as his Olivier Awards performance of "Pure Imagination" in May 2014, a month before he took the stage at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the role, he was getting unfavorable comparisons to Douglas Hodge from fans. Once updated show trailers were uploaded to the show's offical YouTube channel in July, the bulk of the viewer comments were lamenting the change. Those who saw both performers were split on which actor did a better job with the characterization (Jennings' icy-yet-still-playful approach versus Hodge's extravagant-even-for-Wonka hamminess), but general consensus was that Hodgenote who has a side career as a Singer Songwriter was the better singer.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: There was real disappointment in some corners of the fandom over Alex Jennings and now Jonathan Slinger choosing to play Willy Wonka as clean-shaven rather than following Douglas Hodge's precedent of a prosthetic makeup-based neatly-groomed mustache and chin tuft combination (though understudies still follow said precedent). This is partially because Mr. Wonka does have a goatee in the source novel and illustrations thereof — sometimes with a mustache added — a detail both movie adaptations, and from there pop culture in general, ignore in favor of clean-shaven Wonkas.
Tough Act to Follow: An unusual case, in that it's with regard to other adaptations of the same story and/or the other work of the source material's writer rather than having the same creative team as a previous hitnote Though both this and Matilda share a choreographer. Considering the status of the 1971 film and the critical acclaim given to the otherRoald Dahl musical on the West End, Matilda, this was inevitable. While critical reception was mixed, the show has proven to be an enormous financial success, and even though it's not quite as beloved as the '71 movie, it's far less hated than the '05 film.
Visual Effects of Awesome: All the projections, the Department of the Future sequence (particularly the perfect timing of the dancers with the television images in "Vidiots"), the Great Glass Elevator gliding out over the first few rows of the stalls (though some viewers think it wobbles too much)...even the simple trick that sends a paper airplane flying up to the balcony gets oohs and aahs.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: For a megabudget family-friendly musical to rival any of the Disney stage productions, there's a lot of potential offstage (if lovingly described via the songs) Death as Comedy here — visited upon children no less. Nigel Planer (who originated the role of Grandpa Joe) explained to the Daily Mail: "There were contingency plans if it scared children too much; if it was too dark. But after a few days of previews it became apparent kids love that. They laughed as they watched Veruca Salt going down a grinder. Kids find that funny. They’re nasty, kids, aren’t they? I think they enjoy someone telling it like it is; we soon realised we could be as gruesome as we liked." This has a bit of Lampshade Hanging early on in the show: When Charlie asks to hear the story of Prince Pondicherry (who, in this version, died in the melting ruins of his chocolate palace), Grandpa Joe quips: "Oh, you like the scary ones, don't you Charlie?"
The Woobie: Charlie. Part of it is that he's the most rounded version of the character since the 1971 film: A Cheerful Child prone to daydreaming who works so hard to make the best of his meager situation, a light in the lives of his toiling family, who wish they could give him the life he deserves but just can't (as seen in "If Your Mother Were Here") — really, they're all woobies. In any case, a lonely kid who has dreams that he can't attain is a sad sight indeed, and watching him fall into a blue funk as each Golden Ticket is found is heart-tugging. Even when he gets his golden chance, the poor, shy kid keeps bringing up the rear come tour day, lost in the shadows of the limelight shed on the other finders. This makes The Reveal that Willy Wonka, the man the boy admires more than any other, was secretly looking out for him all along quite touching and gratifying.