Anthony's Film Review

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

This magical fantasy is filled with colorful humor and fun...

The title of this movie already gives you an idea of what it's about. In other words, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a film adaptation of the children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, written by Roald Dahl. Immediately, you see the difference. The title of the movie centers on a different character in the original story. Why do I mention this? Because it fits one of my observations about this movie. The focus seems to be somewhat more on Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, not the children. That's not to say this is a bad thing. On the contrary, the entire movie still holds together.

Before I talk about Wonka, let's talk about the children in the story. The main one is Charlie, a poor young lad who lives in an old house with his grandparents, all crammed into a few small beds. The boy loves one thing more than any other in the world: chocolate from Willy Wonka's factory. One day, he purchases a Wonka chocolate bar that contains a golden ticket as a prize to tour Wonka's factory. Four other kids find golden tickets, including Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teevee. Charlie goes to the factory with his grandfather just as the other four kids arrive with their escorting family members.

From there, the attention turns to Willy Wonka. His first appearance is an interesting one. He presents himself as mysterious but pleasant. At one point, he falls over and smoothly rolls back up. If you were going to be part of this tour, I imagine you'd be delighted to have this man as your tour guide. You'll be even more delighted to see the factory itself. There are plenty of colorful rooms of wonder as well as Oompa-Loompas carrying out the functions of the factory. Not to mention singing memorable tunes.

Soon, it becomes clear what Roald Dahl had in mind: moral lessons. As the tour proceeds, various things happen to four of the children as a result of flawed character. For example, Augustus the gluttony kid tries to drink from a chocolate pond but falls in and gets stuck in a hydraulic system. Later, Violet proudly eats a piece of candy that causes her to expand and turn blue. This is a way to warn children that bad kids ultimately get punished, and the good ones will be successful. As you might guess, this is ultimately what happens with Charlie.

Though I still think Willy Wonka is the center of attention here, I appreciate that the other characters aren't underdeveloped roles just for Wonka to interact with. The movie overall is quite good not just because of Gene Wilder but because of the other stars, not to mention the set design of the whole chocolate factory. So don't get thrown off by my comment about how the movie might be lopsided in favor of Wonka. There's definitely something enjoyable for everyone in this magical film.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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