So, several weeks ago, someone said to me “Hey Micah, the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate but I’m just gonna shake shake shake shake shake it off. Shake it off.” And once Taylor Swift was done someone else said to me “Hey Micah, you should do a retro-review of Willy Wonka!! But don’t do that thing you usually do wear you don’t watch the movie or do any research cause that would be lame and less engaging.”
Well friend, here I am to fulfill at least the first half of your request!!
Micah Retro Reviews: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
And none o’ that Tim Burton mess either. No no no. The original, extra crispy, side of fries, psycho killer version, thank you very much.
So… there’s this kid named Charlie (who needs to cheer up) and he’s impoverished. He puts the “pov” in poverty. And then there’s this other dude in a candy shop who sings a song all about how “the candyman can” in a song that takes the line between consumerism and idol worship and dances merrily upon it while sucking on a candy cane (because candy will make all your troubles go away, America.)
Anyway, there’s this other guy named Willy Wonka and he owns a huge candy store located (for some reason) in the most depressing town in the entire world. If you took Chernobyl and combined it with 1920’s Detroit and a dirt covered sponge you would still live in a cheerier town then wherever the heck old Charlie lives.
So Willy clan Wonka has locked himself inside his candy factory for the last fifty years or so but now is ready to let five lucky children tour his factory and slowly and inevitably get picked off one by one until there is only one survivor left. This is basically The Hunger Games with candy is what I’m saying.
So Charlie (because this is after all his movie) and four other inevitably doomed children, all find “the Golden Ticket” and after a brief musical number they get set to head inside of the chocolate covered death machine that is: Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
The first to go is a guy by the name of Augustus Gloop who commits the horrible sin of drinking from a river in an area where Willy Wonka explicitly told them they could eat everything and anything. But in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory every yes is a no, every no is a yes, and behind every caramel flavored fruit snack is an Oompa-loompa with a baseball bat who will jack you up.
After him (in some order) go a bunch of admittedly stupid children who refuse to listen to adults but at the same time they’re children. Children are stupid. If you leave a child in a room alone with only a pillow and a teddy bear that child will find some way to spill something on the bear and impale itself on the pillow. Call children bulls in China shops is a horrible insult to bulls everywhere. Bulls probably say to themselves “Oh that Brett the Bull, he’s like a human child in a candy factory.”
Anyway, one of them gets transformed into a child blueberry in a scene that will horrify your nightmares forever. And she gets sent to the “juicing” room where I can only assume she had four or five different holes poked into her and then was allowed to just sort of bleed/juice out. Then some kid turns himself into a mini-version of himself and thus inspires the entire ant-man comic book series.
Then some little girl sings a song about “wanting it now” and for many of us as children that was probably the first time that we legitimately wished bodily harm on someone. I mean, most of the other kids were just sort of jerks or idiots or… well kids. But that girl was the devil in a jumper… whatever exactly a jumper is.
And finally after all the other children are dead or severely dismembered, Charlie is the last one standing. And as a reward for not somehow getting himself murdered in what was essentially a gauntlet of deathtraps specifically designed for him, Charlie becomes the owner of the Chocolate factory where he will go on making up new ways to murder unsuspecting children for years and years to come!
Willy Wonka is a legitimately terrifying movie. Oompa Loompa’s are for all points and purposes slaves. Children are sucked up tubes, inflated, shrunk, dropped down into furnaces, and nearly chopped up into sushi by huge whirling death fans that are (for some reason) kept in the same room as an experimental, levitation inducing soft drink.
That said, it’s still probably a pretty great movie, Gene Wilder is (as ever) amazing and it’s still definitely a classic. The songs are catchy, the morals are strong, and your children may spend months afterword being deathly afraid of eating gum!!