Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

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hearthesilence
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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#1 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:23 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:And if we're going with childhood favorites, I even went to see Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the weekend it opened - and I don't think I'm alone in thinking it was completely awful and wondering why he could've possibly found fault with the existing film adaptation, but was it a sacred cow because of my own childhood nostalgia? Of course not. Remake away. If the original film really is as great as one remembers, a remake can't possibly sully its legacy.
Hah, I actually prefer Burton's remake, in a lot of ways I think it's a better representation of the spirit of the book. I don't dislike the older film, Wilder is excellent, but I was never really a fan either and never bought into any nostalgia for it thrown upon me.

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Re: Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016)

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:36 pm

I think it's a prime example of an adaptation being smart about what to keep and what to change from its source material to make itself more cinematic. The whole Slugworth invention, the groovy 70s aesthetic, and particularly the almost otherworldly setting (when I was a child I had no frame of reference to where this movie was set, where there were people with all sorts of accents in these old fashioned homes, and it felt more magical than scattershot [still does]) work extremely well in my eyes, where Burton's film was very careful to take the book very literally, and abandoned a lot of charm in the process. The warmth of Wilder's Wonka was sorely missing from Depp's interpretation. But it's been years since I saw the Burton one. Just never been a believer in a film needing to be in lock step with the book it's an adaptation of - quite the contrary, if anything.

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Re: Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016)

#3 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:59 pm

I agree with that general idea of adapting any published material, but I wasn't so taken by what the older film did - nothing wrong with what they did, but I preferred the tone of the later film, which to me had a very-welcome darker edge, and that's something I always loved about Dahl's work. The comeuppances for each rotten child came off nastier and more vicious in the way they were shown - the squirrels alone were brilliantly done.

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Re: Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016)

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:12 pm

I'd add the Fry and the Slurm Factory episode of Futurama as one of the more amusing recent Willy Wonka adaptations - "Hey, look! Those disgusting little men are starting to sing!"

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#5 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:05 pm

"Tell them I hate them" is one of the all-time great Futurama quotes

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#6 Post by djproject » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:47 pm

Honestly, it's an apples and oranges situation for me. I like both Stuart's and Burton's for completely different reasons. They both have their charms and their flaws but in the end, they both satisfy me.

I grew up with Stuart's (obviously) so there is a slight nostalgia factor. While I enjoyed it, I was not the biggest fan of the songs save for "Pure Imagination" and their take on "Candyman". Looking back on it now, I feel as if the songs were what stop it from being seen as a more "realistic take" on the Wonka factory. In fact, the sections I like the most now are the little vignette scenes where various people perform situations involving finding golden tickets in Wonka bars from a therapy session to a computer demonstration and even a kidnapping involving ransom. The five children feel more like real children where they are not entirely bad but just strongly misguided. Also Charlie Bucket seems more like a real kid where even though he's good-natured in the end, he's not without his flaws. Wilder's Wonka has an air of the pragmatic, considering he oversees a factory involving Oompa-Loompas and making various contraptions like the Everlasting Gobstopper and Fizzy-Lifting drinks. There's imagination but also wisdom. And yes, it is very informed by the 1970s =D

Burton's I could tell was following the book more closely and making it completely distinct from Stuart, which to me is the best kind of remake (doing its own thing without callbacks to what was done before ... or if there are, it's extremely subtle). The whole story is a fable and thus the children are much more extreme in their characteristics and not real children. Thus the four are really irritating and obnoxious. But as a result, Charlie is *way* too good-natured for even a kid to pull off. Depp's Wonka is very much an eccentric creative/magician. Though I wonder if the whole backstory - which I *think* was a creation for this film - of a father who disapproves of his interests was a bit of a detriment to the character since what you could see is a bit of resentment. Wonka, from what I could surmise from the book, is a creative genius who fosters the power of a child's imagination and yet is not one to suffer fools (especially when it's children).

Again, each has their strengths and weaknesses. But they clearly do their own thing - and even with the flaws, it succeeds - and thus can be seen as two distinct works that should not negate each other.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#7 Post by Feego » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:01 pm

Jumping in with my two cents, I generally liked most of Burton's version, but (to paraphrase Roger Ebert), I hated, hated, hated Johnny Depp's performance. This to me truly did mark the point at which Depp stopped inhabiting characters and just started being weird for the sake of being weird. His accent, mannerisms, facial expressions and overall deranged demeanor never added up to a fully realized character. They just seemed like bizarre acting tics, and I was never able to get passed the fact that I was watching an actor. For that reason, I've never been able to recommend it, even though I find the art direction inspired and the rest of the cast terrific (though I didn't particularly care for Deep Roy playing all of the Oompa Loompas either).

I grew up watching the Wilder version, and while I would never have gone so far as to call it a masterpiece or a personal favorite, watching the Burton version actually made me appreciate it so much more. The original, for my money, is actually much darker than Burton's film. While Wilder's Wonka does go kind of sappy and sweet at the end, that ironically makes his callousness and perhaps even delight at the bratty kids' demises earlier even more horrifying. That this man who is capable of exhibiting warmth and affection can also gleefully put children in harm's way makes him a more complex and frightening figure than Depp's manic cartoon. I also hated that the later version pretty much spells out that Wonka has orchestrated each child's comeuppance, while the original left it more ambiguous.

The parents in the original film are also an unsung strength for me, and as an adult, I love watching their interactions with each other and their reactions to what's happening to each others' kids. Again, it all comes down to how they are depicted. Burton's version gives us rather one-dimensional caricatures (take Violet Beauregard and her mother, who wear matching jumpsuits and are basically the same character at different ages). In the original, the parents come across as irresponsible but basically normal people who allow their greed to overcome human compassion (they become less and less horrified by the children's fates as the film progresses). I can't remember if I read it here or on anther forum, but I once saw someone jokingly suggest a double feature of Willy Wonka and Salo. It's an extreme suggestion, to be sure, but it's not without a point.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#8 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:17 pm

A lot of brown stuff, that's for sure.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#9 Post by beamish13 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:19 pm

I felt strange being the only person in the theatre laughing at the acid trip joke from the Burton version. Another thing I also liked about it was the Indian prince story being utilized. On the whole, though, it wasn't very good, and much of the CGI looked awful, particularly in the ending.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#10 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:34 pm

I definitely remember that waxy sheen along with Depp's absurdly white teeth and vampire makeup - it definitely felt like a product of its era, of a piece with those dreadful live action Dr. Seuss adaptations

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#11 Post by Feego » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:05 pm

The waxy sheen seems to be Burton's M.O. these days, turning up in his versions of Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland as well. Quite a 180 from the tactile makeup designs in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Today, all of his characters look like CGI.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#12 Post by beamish13 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:09 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I definitely remember that waxy sheen along with Depp's absurdly white teeth and vampire makeup - it definitely felt like a product of its era, of a piece with those dreadful live action Dr. Seuss adaptations
Funny you should bring up The Cat in the Hat-it was the sole directorial outing of production designer Bo Welch, whose spectacular work on Batman Returns still gobsmacks me. It's beyond fucked-up and incompetent, but I proudly keep a DVD of it. :D
Feego wrote:The waxy sheen seems to be Burton's M.O. these days, turning up in his versions of Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland as well. Quite a 180 from the tactile makeup designs in Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Today, all of his characters look like CGI.
I *hated* how the stop-motion in the truly abysmal Corpse Bride was meant to look like CGI with its total reduction in facial motion blur.

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Re: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

#13 Post by Roscoe » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:15 am

For me the deal breaker with the Burton film was the tacked-on PRO-FAMILY coda, the heavy-handed moralizing about the importance of family, with Charlie helping Wonka mend fences with his own father who has been shown in flashbacks to be a cold-hearted dentist who won’t allow the young Wonka to eat candy or pursue his dream of being a candy maker. After the reconciliation, we are told that Wonka repeats his offer of the chocolate factory, and Charlie says yes this time, on condition that his family comes with him, to which Wonka assents.

The problem is that the big Pro-Family message of the film has nothing to do with the film itself. Mike Teavee, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt and even the apparently single-parented Violet Beauregard all come from families, too, and all are ghastly, largely because of the families they have who either encourage their worst qualities or do nothing to curtail them. Wonka’s own family life (elements of which are shoe-horned in to the plot solely to create a final reconciliation between father and son) has been a disaster.

The final scene of the film is very curious: Wonka and Charlie arrive in the Bucket family home after a hard day’s work, Wonka is asked to stay for dinner, the table is spread with family dinner trimmings like turkey, side dishes, etc. The camera pulls back though a broken window, and it is revealed that the Bucket family home has been transported as is, holes in the wall and poor but honest squalor and apparently permanent winter intact, to the Chocolate Room in the Wonka Factory. This has always bothered me. Why the giant salt-shakers pouring snow over the house? Why is the great free-flowing chocolate river, a marvelous symbol of Wonka’s demented creativity, shown to be frozen over? Why are the Buckets kept living in that collapsing house? If Wonka can keep his factory extra warm for the Oompa Loompas, why does he make it cold for the Buckets? And where is Dr. Wonka in this sudden orgy of frozen domestication?

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