Monday, February 22, 2010

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl

I've seen the the old movie with Gene Wilder a ton of times, but I haven't seen all of Tim Burton's version with Johnny Depp. I can understand, now, why Tim Burton decided to do it again. The old version with Gene Wilder is a classic, but it didn't follow the book too well. Not exactly. There are so many parts that are not the same in the first version of the movie. Even the descriptions of the Oompa Loompa (in Tim Burton's version) follow the book better.

I remember seeing bits of the newest one, and it freaked me out...but the Wonka in the book has a high pitched voice, and the Oompa Loompas aren't orange with green hair. If you're one of those that would rather see the movie than read the book? Watch Tim Burton's. It's more honest.

People might think that Tim Burton's film version of the book was scary, but it actually FOLLOWS the book. The Gene Wilder one? THAT one is a big druggie acid trip, AND scary. Especially that scene while they're on the boat? And Wilder starts to sing all morbid and possessed? "Is it raining...is it snowing?" And then giant insects and things that bleed appear on the walls of the tunnel they're traveling in...

Um, director, sir? Mel Stuart...what kind of candy did you eat while directing this?

The writing of Dahl's book isn't an acid trip. It's a wacky mess of crazy. The descriptions and ideas in the book are completely whimsical and fun, completely void of frumpiness. It created a world that Dahl could've returned to time and time again. I don't know if he knew it, but if Wonka's Factory had been written in this day and age, it would've had more sequels than just "The Great Glass Elevator." It would've had Charlie and his family with adventures inside the factory. We would have flashbacks of what made Wonka...well...WONKA. We'd have more Oompa Loompas coming out and becoming main characters, without all the songs...

Wonka was sitting on a landmine.

I know Tim Burton tried to do a "history" with Wonka in his take on the movie, but it didn't work. Dentist? Could it BE any more cliche?

What I'm saying is...have you seen children's and teen books lately? They're ALL series and sequels. Some of them strong, others, not-so-much. That just shows the difference between ideas back in 60's when Dahl had "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" first published. They had a couple books and then they let it go. They let the idea just be.

In today's world, they beat the ideas until they are well past dead.

My favorite it was how he told all the kids (minus Charlie) how they were annoying in totally subliminal ways.

"I can't hear you, boy, speak up!"

We're doing inferencing right now in my English class, and I asked my students, "so, how does Wonka feel about those kids?"

"He can't stand them!"

Right-o.