Anomaly Supplemental | The Chocolate Factory Debate

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For July, the Anomaly Supplemental are entering a “world of pure imagination”…

A few months ago, Sue and KC asked listeners to vote on their next topic and the winner was 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate” starring Gene Wilder versus 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring Johnny Depp. For the sake of title length, we have called this episode The Chocolate Factory Debate, but as Sue mentions at the beginning, this discussion may not be much of a “debate” after all. Topics range from the original book by Roald Dahl, the performances of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, the musical aspects of both films, the controversial Fizzy Lifting drink scene, and more. And so, as one Mr. Wonka said to his group of visitors: “Are we ready? Yes. Good. In we go!”

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Special Thanks

The theme music for Anomaly Supplemental is the song “I’ll Still be a Geek After Nobody Thinks it’s Chic (The Nerd Anthem)” from the album “Got To Fly” and is used by permission of Marian Call. Visit her website for more information and music.

KCCo-Host/ Anomaly Supplemental
After misspellings of her first name and confusion with her middle name sounding like “Klingon,” she now uses her initials as her nom de plume.
SueCo-Host/ Anomaly Supplemental
Sue is a trekkie, a tap dancer, a juggler, a sports fan, an amateur photographer, a Henson fan, a blogger, a theatre nerd, a reader, a board-gamer…and therefore an “Anomaly”.
By | 2016-12-22T14:25:04+00:00 July 24th, 2013|Anomaly Supplemental, Classic Movies, Show Notes|3 Comments

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  1. Mike Poteet (@Bibliomike) August 2, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Fun discussion, but…

    The family subplot in the 2005 film makes *perfect* sense (at least in my judgment), because Wonka’s dentist dad is introduced quite early on in a flash back. I respect that you don’t like the 2005 film, but I don’t think you’re giving it a fair shake based on what is actually on screen. The plot structure is sound. I don’t think they *needed* to add a subplot with Wonka’s backstory, but what’s there works on a structural and thematic level — and, if anything, the Burton Charlie is far more faithful to the character than the 1971 version, as you point out.

    My son and I had read the book when he was six or so, and then I showed him the Gene Wilder version, and he was outraged. “They totally ruined Charlie!” Charlie is supposed to be the only good kid in the bunch. In the 1971 version, there are effectively *no* good kids in the bunch. Charlie is just the least bad. How is it you are able to forgive that film’s flaw and still enjoy it, but not the more recent’ film’s which, I would argue, are far smaller flaws?

    If you want to get right down to it, I’m not sure Wilder’s Wonka has any more interest in the children as children than Depp’s. “I couldn’t get an adult to do it,” says Wilder in the clip you played; “they’d want to do things their way, not mine. That’s why I had to find a child.” There it is: Wonka is fundamentally self-interested, in both versions. I would argue that Depp’s version has a far more substantial character arc than Wilder’s.

    The 1971 film is entitled as it is because Dahl was so displeased with it, and also because it was to help Nestle (or whomever) launch the real-world Wonka candy company that is still with us.

    Incidentally, if you would like to read an entertaining young adult novel that has some surface similarities to CHARLIE/WILLY WONKA but goes in some interesting different directions, check out THE CANDYMAKERS by Wendy Masse. My son (now almost 12) read it as part of his summer reading, and then recommended it to me. It was a lot of fun, and nice to have a shared book!

    Thanks again for a fun and thought-provoking discussion. I guess I’m in the minority, arguing the merits of the 2005 film, but I do think it has quite a few, and improves upon the Wilder movie in several respects. I am 41 years old, grew up on the Wilder version, and loved it (and still like it quite a lot); but, for sure, nostalgia is trumping some objective analysis here. You don’t have to like it better, but it doesn’t deserve quite the drubbing you gave it. (Your podcast, your perogative, of course!)

    • KcGeekChic August 2, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Thank you for your feedback, Mike! Even though I’m not a fan of the Burton version, I wish we had more comments like yours while we were recording. As much as I’m devoted to Willy Wonka, I think it would have been more interesting to hear from the Charlie defenders. I’m going to try to mention and address your points in the feedback part of our next recording, if that’s alright with you. :)

      • Mike Poteet (@Bibliomike) August 16, 2013 at 11:02 am - Reply

        If you want to, that’s fine, though certainly not expected or required! If I’d been listening more faithfully before you recorded, I could have contributed to the discussion. I’ll try to make up for it going forward!

        Incidentally, my family and I just went to see our local children’s theater put on the “junior” version of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” a stage musical that combines much from the Wilder film (namely the songs and some of the character business) with many elements from the novel (as well as Dahl himself as the narrator, which was kinda weird, but, oh, well). They even did a stage version of the crazy boat ride – while ingeniously staged, it wasn’t near as cool as what Gene Wilder did. :) It ditched the “spy/double agent” plot but did have Charlie confess to Wonka at the end that he tasted the fizzy juice, which convinces Wonka that Charlie is the one. I still don’t like that as much as having Charlie just be good from start to finish, but it was all right, and the kids did a great job with the show.

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