0545: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.jpg

Rating: 7.5/10

I grew up watching this movie but it was an edited-for-time, taped-from TV, VHS copy. Watching it now I saw a lot of scenes I’ve never seen before, especially in the first half-hour. There’s even a song I’ve never heard before, the one sung by Charlie’s mom. I’m sure it’s just TV execs saying “Willy Wonka is in the title, we have to get to him faster!” Of course, they also get more time for commercials. I don’t know if I should be upset about this though as the scenes removed didn’t really add much. I dunno…

I think Gene Wilder does a fantastic job in the only part people remember him playing anymore. Which is too bad because he’s awesome in everything. He really steals the show from the point he comes into this movie. I guess it should be noted that most of that isn’t in the book, of course, no movie is as good or quite the same from the book it’s based on but I do know that most of this movie didn’t happen quite the same way. It’s also called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I dunno, I think they’re really just different from each other and that’s that. But, I also know that Roald Dahl said that that no one was ever allowed to adapt the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, I think I heard he even put stipulations in his will to ensure no one could ever adapt it. So, I’m guessing he didn’t like this movie very much. The Tim Burton made Charlie in the Chocolate Factory might have been more accurate to Dahl’s book but it isn’t better than this movie. I guess Hollywood needs to stop trying to remake things simply for some kind of a cash grab, “but it made money in the past?!” they cry in disbelief as yet another remake fails, never realizing whatever it is that makes movies good, it’s not putting their foot in everything.

Anyway, this movie loses points because there aren’t any non-white people in it, well, unless you count Oompa-Loompas. I don’t because it’s not like we ever learn any of the backstory on any individual Oompa-Loompa and instead they just sing a song here and there and otherwise reside to the background. I guess in the 70s they felt that only white people could be rich? I say that since outside of Charlie and his family, the other main characters are all the rich spoiled kids that also won the contest. I guess they are all rich and spoiled, so maybe they didn’t want to seem like they were being racist by portraying them that way but it’s just weird, and kind of more racist, from today’s perspective.

Why it’s on the list: Though it’s not a very accurate adaptation of the book, it is a terrific kids movie and musical.

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