Ryster’s review published on Letterboxd:
Here's the thing with Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, it just might be my favourite adaptation of any Roald Dahl piece. I love this film. When I was a young kid I was whisked away by the magical atmosphere and fantasy like set pieces that it was always pure bliss to watch. I hadn't watched Willy Wonka in years and when the cinema decided to show it I just couldn't say no. I got into the cinema, quite excited because of memories, and then the film started. I started to realise that I forgot an awful lot of this movie, especially the first act. What I also forgot about was how terrifyingly scary some of the things and ideas portrayed in this film are. Honestly that boat scene still unnerves me and the fact that you never truly know what happens to the kids was surprising. The screen wasn't packed but there were a few families in with little kids and I was really surprised that they weren't even startled by anything or even bored at times, I was kind of glad though that they were watching this classic than some of the other kids movies that are out now.
The Wonka bar is one of the best selling chocolate products there is. Kids love them, adults love them, everybody loves a Wonka bar. For years the factory where the chocolate is made has been closed off from the public and people have started to wonder what happens behind the gates. When news breaks out that there's 5 golden tickets, each one in a different Wonka bar around the entire world there's a frenzy in which everyone is buying hundreds of bars, everyone except Charlie Bucket. A poor boy that wants it more than anyone.
Gene Wilder is perfection as Willy Wonka. His performance in this is nothing short of masterful. He's mysterious, funny, strange and always amazing to watch. As soon as he appears on screen the film picks up a pace that it had been lacking and the film becomes more than just a family film. His line delivery shows exactly what type of character he is. He's lonely, more than a bit crazy and just wants to make the world fun. I'll mention the scene involving the boat again only because he changes drastically from being a fun and quite nice person into a terrifying and creepy one in the matter of seconds, and it's seamless. It doesn't feel out of character at all. And the final act of this film is really quite sad and it's due to Wilder's performance. The kids in this film also do a fine job, well most of them do. The actor who plays Charlie Bucket is very good and does a great job in portraying emotion at times, especially happiness. The actress who plays Veruca is really good too. Her character could've easily been played in a way in which she would've been annoying but she's not, she's actually really funny. The rest of the kids are just alright.
The story by Roald Dahl is timeless and, even though the man didn't like this adaptation himself, I think this film does a great job in transferring it to the screen. The first act in which all of the golden tickets are found is surprisingly long. I wasn't bored by it but I definitely felt the time mounting up. I was very surprised when I found out that this film is only an hour and forty minutes long, it felt a lot longer. Like I said before once Willy Wonka is introduced the film picks up pace and begins the magical entertainment. The first act does have some fun stuff (most of it went right over my head as a kid and I probably didn't find the jokes funny), I loved the strange little cuts to around the world in which people are searching for a golden ticket. Like the scene in the auction house, to the woman deeply thinking of giving up a box of the chocolate to save her husband, to the newsreader asking himself if anything else is actually going on in the world. It's all fun but when Wonka appears, that's when this turns into a masterpiece. There's some good messages sprinkled throughout, even though with some thought it's done in a rather cruel way. The kids that are bad get what's coming to them and the ways in which they can be saved (that's if they can be) are funny at first but are surprisingly cruel. I love that about this film though, it gives it that edge. Most of the songs are fantastic with only a few seeming cheesy and quite uninteresting. The set designs are fantastic and still look amazing. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a fantastic family film. It's perfect for everyone. Children will adore the idea and the story while adults will love the humour and the fact that this doesn't feel like a children's film.