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Wisest men still reish ‘Wonka’

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By Erin Tobin

By Erin Tobin

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” may have melted in the hands of the box office and the script may of been hated by Roald Dahl, who wrote the book the movie was based on, but somehow the film is now viewed as a scrumdidilyumptious classic.

Why this movie, which was released in 1971, still delights audiences of all ages is a riddle that even Oompa Loompas would be hard pressed to sing a merry tune of the answer to. The reasons are too many to contain in one stanza of that jaunty song.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is a children’s musical at its sugary sweet heart. Willy Wonka is one of the world’s leading chocolate makers, but a betrayal caused him to close his factory. He is now re-opening the factory with a contest. The entire world is scrambling to find the five golden tickets Wonka hid in his candy wrappers.

Little Charlie Bucket is no exception, but his family problems and limited pocket change make it hard for him to keep up with the hundreds of candy bars eaten by his peers. Although he only gets his hands on three candy bards, Bucket finds a golden ticket and heads off on an exclusive tour of the factory along with his grandfather, four other little boys and girls and the always confusing Wonka.

The plot might be geared towards children, but the humor is more adult and that is all due to the portrayal of Wonka. Gene Wilder created a masterpiece with his performance as the candy maker. In Wonka, Wilder is a sarcastic and twisted, a creative maniac.

The songs in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” might be light, but the movie’s humor is dark and Wilder’s screen time makes no exception. His flat and sarcastic quips about the children’s “accidents” are delightful in their truthfulness. Not only would the humor go completely over the head of any child at some moments, scenes like the nightmarish boat ride might actually frighten them. When Tim Burton finally releases his vision of Dahl’s book, Johnny Depp will have a challenge to impress a Wilder-devoted audience.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is an everlasting Gobstopper of a movie, it has lasted these last three decades and will still be a delicious treat for years to come.

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