Starring: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum
Director: Mel Stuart
Running Time: 100 mins
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is an American film about five lucky children who discover world-sought ‘golden tickets’, that give them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a tour around the world-famous Wonka chocolate factory, owned by the eccentric Willy Wonka.
Well, this is fantasy and imagination at its best. The concept may be completely ludicrous, however its quieter and less extravagant setting makes it a whole lot more convincing, and leaves you trapped wide-eyed at the wonder of Willy Wonka’s wonderland.
While the credits for the story still need to go to Roald Dahl, you have to say that this is a fantastic adaptation (which can be hard given the forgettably dull and psychedelic 2005 remake). It hits on some darker undertones, which make the experience in the chocolate factory all the more bizarre, while also striking the tone of wonderment perfectly to make for an awesome viewing experience.
The most interesting part of the film is Willy Wonka. For kids, he’s a fun and crazy inventor, however when you look past that, you see that Mr. Wonka is perhaps one of the most complex characters in film history.
His constantly changing attitudes towards the children and the situation shows this perfectly, because despite being an eccentric, you can see the dramatic changes in his personality from purely nice and welcoming to downright creepy, and that side plot, the story of Willy Wonka, is fascinating.
And the main reason that Wonka is so interesting is Gene Wilder’s incredible performance. With an eccentric personality and a Young Frankenstein-ish hairdo, he gets the mad professor bit of Wonka covered superbly, while his near sarcastic approach to some of the kids is not only hilarious, but also shows that he is a real person, not some sort of chocolate god, and that actually makes him easier to relate to and understand.
Away from that, there are hundreds of other elements that make this film so brilliant. It’s got a beautifully family-friendly atmosphere, without ever being too cheesy for adults or too dark for kids, a group of young children to make kids watching this believe that they can too go to the chocolate factory, and an amazing soundtrack.
This is the most original part of the film. While it has to take license with all the sets and story lines, the songs are pure imagination. From fast-paced tunes to oompa-loompa advice, from annoying rants to a delightful sing-song, this film is non-stop enjoyment for both the eyes and the ears, and that’s why it gets an 8.5.