Archive for the ‘Willy Wonka’ Category

Ha. Yeah–Burton’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Ol’ Chop actually bought that one to study exactly what went wrong. What a waste of great production design. And it was actually called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like the book. Although it was more about Wonka. Yet the first is called Willy Wonka but is more about Charlie – D’oh!

Depp as Michael Jackson's Dream Self -- minus the kid obsession

Wonka’s backstory in Burton’s film was nothing short of idiotic. How can you keep a mythic character mythic when you demystify their past? If they were gonna do that it should have been bugnuts abstract – Burton could even have gone insane with the German Expressionist stuff he loves so much (as do I)! He coulda gone full-steam Dr. Caligari with that shit. Stylise the crap out of it so you still don’t know whether it’s actually the truth or not – at least then you’d be deepening it yet not actually giving any more clarity – which is TOTALLY Dahl! But best not go there in the first place.

I do have inside knowledge that after many assurances to the Dahl family, Depp and Burton basically just went off and did their own thing, and the Dahl’s  family was not happy with result.

Speaking of which–THE CHOPPAH loves the original WONKA film (though it does struggle with sap factor–e.g., “Cheer Up Charlie”).

I also love the original novel by Dahl.

A Tale of Two Wonkas

Interestingly enough, though, Dahl despised the first film, despite being the primary screenplay author.  My guess is that he–like Stephen King with Kubrick’s The Shining–felt marginalized and alienated by the adaptation (which was amended quite a bit from his original screenplay draft). 

Dahl “remained convinced that his first choice – comedian Spike Milligan – would have been better for [Wonka than Wilder].”


“He thought it placed too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie.”

HA! He would’ve just LOVED Burton’s adaptation then!

Dahl was also particularly pissed of that, “…the movie turned sweetshop rival Slugworth into a Wonka spy and encouraged Charlie and Grandpa Joe to belch their way to salvation.”

Go figure.  I think the Slugworth subplot was one of that film’s greatest assets.  And the concentration on Charlie almost killed it for me.

Oh, here’s an ironic quote by Burton sometime before his Wonkabortion was released: 

I don’t want to crush people’s childhood dreams, but the original film is sappy,” Burton said. 

“I responded to the children’s book because it respected that children can be adult, and I think adults forget that.”

As he began to create a 192,000-gallon chocolate lake to engulf character Augustus Gloop, and training 40 squirrels to pounce upon Veruca Salt, Burton said the new film would feature “a sort of foreboding”.

“Very sinister things are very much a part of childhood,” he said.

What do you do when your kid is a brat? If you're Wonka, you incinerate them.

Yeah, ironic that–considering that the original movie was 100 times LESS sappy and LESS goofy than Burton’s adaptation. In fact, although the first film did struggle with “sappiness,” it ALWAYS was tempered by a healthy creepiness factor–a very black (macabre at times) humor. 

CHOPPAH’s papa was the manager of a movie theater when the original Wonka was released, and he occasionally relays the story of numerous little brats leaving in the middle of the film, crying hysterically in terror at the fate of some of the less pleasant children.


Back to top