Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ★★

If you ask around, especially people between the age of 25 and 40, whether they like Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, chances are they will tell you how adorable this film is. They may even offer a little story from their childhoods. They will use words like whimsical, jazzy ans free-spirited. They may even throw in a direct comparison to The Wizard Of Oz. So can you please tell me, beyond the pure nostalgic connection, what do you actually see in this film? Or maybe more accurately: are you able to take off your rose-tinted glasses and recognise that Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory has massive problems?

I actually like the frequently used reference to The Wizard Of Oz exactly because of how misplaced it actually is. In contrast to Fleming's classic, this film lacks two fundamental qualities needed in storytelling: a conflict and a main theme.

If you think about it and examine the narrative structure of this story, nothing really happens in it. Almost fifty minutes are spent on getting to the part where Charlie finds the last remaining golden ticket and then an ensemble cast of obnoxious child actors takes a tour around the factory where they are being picked off slowly on account on their ill behaviour. And you would think this is the entire point of this story; that Charlie is going to be rewarded for being an underdog and will inherit Wonka's fortune exactly because he is not an obnoxious bellend. But he is no different to them. He is just as vacuous as the other kids and all he ever wants in life is to have it easy like the privileged bunch. And his wish is granted because he was the least annoying. Hurrah! The end. Roll credits.

All Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is is a thinly veiled metaphor for a rich pedophile grooming his victims. And it even fails in that regard, because Wonka is never uncovered as a sociopathic villain he clearly is and Charlie doesn't have to grow a pair and save all the other kids. And this is something the narrative flow simply asks for!

How disappointing it is that Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is merely a collection of songs and set pieces that lead absolutely nowhere! As I said: without conflict, there is no story and this film is nothing more than a fluff piece congratulating corporate-inspired carnivorous consumerism with exactly two memorable songs.

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