Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ★★★

Probably not gonna make many friends with this one, but the truth is I feel very little nostalgia for this film--saw it maybe once as a kid. I was still expecting to rate it higher than this just because of the considerable reputation the title carries with it. Honestly, I was kind of shocked to notice just how dull and un-cinematic most of it feels. The visual pleasures are almost exclusive to the production design. The lighting is flat and the camera never does anything interesting. It looks almost like a three camera sitcom with a bigger-than-usual set budget. It really limits the magic feeling the production is striving for.

Still, most of the more celebrated elements do work. The songs are generally good--"Golden Ticket" and "Pure Imagination" are iconic for a reason. And not enough love can be heaped upon Gene Wilder's turn in the title role--he's the perfect combination of mildly maniacal, and kindhearted. It's easy to see why people who grew up loving it would be forgiving of any flaws long into adulthood.

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