The Great Willy Wonka Debate
Today, June 6th, 2011, is the anniversary of the opening of the first drive-in movie theater! So we wanted to write something about film. We at Sulpice Chocolat have decided to answer a question that's been debated for the last 5 years, which Willy Wonka film is better. Keep in mind this is a purely subjective piece and not based on which one portrayed the book better (I’ve read that it’s the 2005 version). I feel like there’s more to say and debate in this than I have written, so comment with your opinion and we can discuss!
Charlie is the films' bright-eyed protagonist, a young poor boy who wins the prize of a lifetime, one of 5 golden tickets for a visit to Willy Wonka's mysterious and magical factory that no one has entered for years. Charlie is honest and good-natured, while the other five children are selfish, bratty, gluttonous, lazy, and mean. In the end, Willy Wonka makes Charlie the heir to the chocolate factory. But which Charlie is the best, which Charlie best captures the overall spirit of the character, the kind-hearted, honest boy?
In our opinion, it is 2005's Freddie Highmore that takes the cake…well, chocolate bar. Freddie Highmore destroys Peter Ostrum in the downtrodden, yet bright-eyed and idealistic adorable department. Plus, he chooses family over chocolate at the end of the film.
Best Side Cast: Personally, I’m a fan of the side cast fellow tour members of the 2005 version. I feel like their faults are more exaggerated through their physical appearance and actions. Augustus’s make up makes him look like the spokes child ripped straight from the packaging of a candy roll you could find at IKEA. Violet embodies the overly-competitive child. Veruca I feel is pretty much the same in both films. I like that Mike TV is super smart and his flaw is being too sure of his knowledge, not that he just likes TV. I mean, without a love of TV and film, these movies wouldn’t exist.
Best Chocolate Portrayal: 2005 loses automatically because of the opening scene that uses CGI to show the chocolate making process. Not only does it not look interesting, it looks bland and like plastic. The opening sequence of the 1971 version shows real chocolate being mixed and prepared. Tim Burton, we know you’re the artist that likes to play with extreme colors and textures to make everything look whimsical, but using CGI to show chocolate destroys the magical feeling of chocolate that the original film captured so well.
Best Ooompa Loompahs: 1971. 2005’s Ooompah Loompah’s got danceable reboot, but lost what the original did so well. The 1971 Ooompah Loompahs’ song mocked the selfish children as the each fell victim to their own vices. The “Ooompa Loompa Doo Pa Dee Doo” was a sign that a harsh lesson was to be learned and the child and parents ridiculed for their shortcomings and failures.
Best Willy Wonka: 2 votes for each, so the tie-breaker and most important aspect of either films, who was the best Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp. While Johnny Depp created a fascinating character with an interesting back story, the Willy Wonka that is the greatest representation of what Willy Wonka is suppose to be—a kooky, mysterious chocolatier who holds the contest with the goal of finding a child with a pure heart to become an heir to the factory—is Gene Wilder.
Perhaps it’s the unconcerned, bored way that Gene Wilder says “No…don’t do that” when one of the children is about to fall victim to one of his many traps, or the way that he tests the children by having someone pose as a competitor willing to pay top dollar for one of his creations that Gene Wilder seems in charge of the situation. The factory is a funhouse, albeit a weird and possibly scary funhouse, but beneath the guises of fear it seems harmless. Johnny Depp’s factory is terrifying. Maybe they don’t have the scary chocolate river cave, but he acts sincere about not knowing whether or not a child is in harm’s way. He chooses Charlie because he is the last one remaining, not because of some personal quality that makes him particularly suited to the job, just because he’s still there. Plus, Depp’s Wonka beats cows to make whipped cream. Which is just wrong.
Agree with me? Feel free to post your opinions in the comments.