Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
However small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance was there.
-Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
This colourful and delicious film is based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, written by Roald Dahl and published in 1964. The works of Roald Dahl are have become iconic for their oddball characters and wacky wisdom. The screenplay for this particular work was penned by Dahl himself, making the translation from page to screen seamless in a way book lovers and filmgoers alike are rarely able to enjoy. This also meant that the absolutely bonkers nature of Dahl’s original story was well-preserved and even amplified in some ways, especially in the absolutely flawless casting of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.
Now, unless you grew up under a rock, you know the basic premiss of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The extremely poor Charlie Bucket lives with his parents and four bedridden grandparents. He goes to school and has a job as a paper delivery boy and eats a lot of cabbage soup. He just happens to live right down the street from the Wonka Chocolate Factory, which has been closed for years to prevent others from stealing delicious candy formulas. One day it is announced that Wonka has hidden five golden tickets somewhere amongst the millions of candy products sold across the globe and whoever finds them will get a tour of the factory. Everybody goes BUCK.
People are fighting in the streets, spending their life savings, inventing faulty golden ticket finding machines, and generally acting insane because this factory is essentially chocolate coated heaven on earth. This segment actually seems pretty reasonable compared to the rest of the film. Everyone is flipping their shit and Wonka’s hanging out in his factory like:
We all know what happens next, Charlie Bucket miraculously finds a Golden Ticket, fulfills his dream of exploring Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and insanity ensues.
The best thing about this movie is that basically everyone is a dick, with the sole exception of Charlie Bucket. First of all, let’s talk about Charlie’s family. His mother seems like a lovely supportive angel, but she takes every chance she can get to stomp on Charlie’s dreams of finding a Golden Ticket, under the guise of ‘not getting his hopes up’. He’s like fucking eight! Then there are Charlie’s grandparents. Overall, they’re not too awful, apart from the fact that they’re sucking away the family’s limited finances while contributing absolutely nothing, instead of just dying like decent people. Grandpa Joe is the worst of them all. He consistently tells Charlie that he is FO SHO going to get a golden ticket, makes the family pay for his tobacco habit, and is a big fipping faker. Charlie finds a golden ticket and he can suddenly and mysteriously walk again?! Puh-lease.
Side note: how the fuck did they go to the bathroom if they hadn’t been out of bed in 20 years?
Now, what about Charlie’s neighbours? Well, we know the owner of the local candy shop is a huge douchebag because he gives out candy willy nilly to about a thousand children in the opening sequence, and then when poor little Charlie comes around he’s like:
There’s also his teacher, who basically calls Charlie out for being a poor idiot when he humbly confesses that he only opened two Wonka Bars during the contest. However, he does have some of the best lines.
Of course you don’t know. You don’t know because only I know. If you knew and I didn’t know, then you’d be teaching me instead of me teaching you – and for a student to be teaching his teacher is presumptuous and rude. Do I make myself clear?
Now we move onto the other golden ticket finders. We have a glutton, a spoiled brat, a media junkie and a gum chewing braggart. Basically we have a small sampling of the results of bad parenting. If you don’t want to punch all of these kids in the face at least once while watching Willy Wonka, you’re a robot.
These little turds run around doing literally exactly the opposite of whatever Willy Wonka tells them to and as a result they face the righteous wrath of the fearsome and intimidating OOMPA LOOMPAS.
Which brings us to the man himself, the wonderful and splendiferous Mr. Willy Wonka. This guy is the Sass Master. He doesn’t give a fuck about anything except his precious candies and his Oompa Loompas. He’s a little jaded because of the whole recipe-stealing fiasco and has decided that everyone is awful. Despite, or perhaps because of, this distrustful nature Willy Wonka retains a kind of manic wisdom. So much of what he says sounds like utter nonsense and you’re never quite sure if he’s pulling your leg, but for some reason his insanity seems to makes more sense than the cold logic we usually associate with adulthood.
Part of Willy Wonk’s wisdom is definitely the knowledge that giving literally no fucks will lead to a happier life. Everybody in the world wants a piece of him (haha, candy puns) and he has learned to avoid them all exquisitely. I think one of my greatest goals in life is to acquire the ability to dodge direct questions with Willy Wonka’s level of skill.
Then there is his factory, which is clearly in violation of every health code that has ever existed. First he guide’s his guests through a twisting funhouse of candy walls, shrinking rooms, and musical locks, before they finally get to the magical and unhygienic Chocolate Room.
After potentially murdering one of the contest winners via chocolate river, he takes the survivors through the Tunnel of Doom. I’m sure we all remember the infamous tunnel ride, where we see Mr. Wonka at his most mentally unstable.
What the fuck was up with this scene? Wonka’s startling and vaguely psychotic ramblings are nothing compared to the various disturbing images that appear behind flashing colourful lights. Maybe the director was having a bad trip when he storyboarded it.
After traumatizing them, he preservers in eliminating the unruly brats one by one. He blows one up, incinerates one, and shrinks the other, until only dear sweet Charlie Bucket remains. Charlie’s altruistic act in returning his precious Everlasting Gobstopper wins him not only a lifetime supply of chocolate, but an entire factory of the stuff. This part is also pretty great because Wonka essentially confesses that he wanted to choose a child as his heir because they would be easier to brainwash.
Not too bad of a deal, in my humble opinion. You have to live in the company of a clinically insane recluse but you also get as much candy and chocolate as you want for the rest of your life.
At the end of the day, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory teaches you that you should try not to be a total asshat, but if you are, you can just blame it on your parents.
More ‘Weird as Hell’ movies to come, but for now I say to you,
Bonus: Fiona Apple’s lovely and haunting rendition of ‘Pure Imagination’ featured in a…Chipotle commercial?