Saturday, July 2, 2011

527. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Mel Stuart
Written By: Roald Dahl, from his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Main Cast: Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Jack Albertson, Julie Dawn Cole, Paris Themmen


Today, the Netflix is back on, but last night it wasn't and the wife and I were forced to once again find solace in the waiting arms of our DVD shelves (yes, our DVD shelves have arms). This time we plucked "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" off the shelf, a film that she brought into the collection and one that until last night, I don't think I'd ever seen in full.

Charlie Bucket (Ostrum) is a young boy living in London with his widowed mother and four grandparents. He's a charming young child, who's just about the best young boy you could ask for. He goes to school all day and when he gets a chance he delivers papers, to try and help his poor household. He even buys food for the family with the earnings he gets from his job. His best friend is his Grandpa Joe (Albertson), who shares a big bed with the other three grandparents, who are all bedridden. Everyday Charlie passes by the great factory of the famed candy maker Willy Wonka (Wilder) and wonders what it could possibly be like inside and wonders why Willy never shows his face. One day it is announced that Wonka has placed, inside five of his Wonka Chocolate Bars, five golden tickets. The finders of the tickets, which are to be shipped all over the World, will be invited inside the Wonka Chocolate Factory for a tour and be awarded with a lifetime of candy. Although he is poor, Charlie musters up enough dough to buy three candy bars during the weeks that the contest is underway. After four of the five tickets have been found, Charlie purchases his third Wonka bar, peeling the wrapper open to reveal a strip of gold and the opportunity to fulfill his dreams. Charlie and Grandpa Joe (who is so happy for Charlie, that he gets out of bed and finds new life) make their way to the Wonka Factory the next day, along with the four other golden ticket winners and inside...well inside is "pure imagination".

WOW! I'm actually surprised at how much I liked this movie. I go in expecting a full blown children's film and what I get is an absolutely magical experience, filled with eye popping images, comedy and sensational acting from the great Gene Wilder. The film does a fantastic job of creating a mystique around Wonka and his factory, prior to us even venturing inside. It does such a good job, that when we finally get inside, we feel like one of the holder's of those illustrious golden tickets and what we see inside is an experience that we'll never forget, just like the children in the movie. For 100 minutes, we are all children, traveling in the land of pure imagination. And yes, I keep saying "pure imagination" because what a fantastic song and it encapsulates the film so well. I wouldn't even go so far as to label Wonka a children's film, because I'm 26 years old and I thought it was brilliant.

You know at this point in my writing, I'm kind of coming up blank on what else to say about this film. I think my ultimate reason I was so attracted to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is because it allowed me to just forget (totally forget) about things for a little while and just have a really fun time with a movie. I've had fun with some films recently, but not this much fun and this wasn't only fun, but it was also really good movie making. "Wonka" defines the term "escapism in films", because it doesn't ask anything of you, it simply invites you in and gives you some moving pictures to enjoy and has a really fun plot to boot. This film is psychedelic, funny and pure. Steven Jay Schneider wasn't lying about the 527th entry into his "1001" text - "Wonka" is truly a MUST SEE.

RATING: 10/10 By the way, if you want to see someone make a TOP 20 list that contains both this and "Reservoir Dogs", then meet me back here in 26 movies and you just MIGHT.


July 1, 2011 11:43pm

1 comment:

  1. Lowes48SuperstarMay 5, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Love This Movie "a world of pure imagination"


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