Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Posted in children by Kathy on October 27, 2008

I watched this movie for the first time recently, and must say I was very pleasantly surprised. Having grown up on Gene Wilder’s version (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), I was tentative to say the least at messing with a good movie. When I was little, I assumed that Willy Wonka was true to the book, but I’ve never read the book; I have, however, read the sequel — Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator — and enjoyed it. Since that time, I’ve heard that the original movie was not that close to the book, and I remember hearing that the author, Roald Dahl, did not like the movie, or regretted that he’d sold the copyright, or whatever. Still, I wasn’t sure that the new movie — even if it were taken directly from the book — could be better than the old. I was wrong.

When I was at the library a couple of weeks ago, I saw the movie available for borrowing — and you can’t get better than seeing the movie for free! — so I got it, knowing that my mother-in-law was going to be coming in late the next night, and I expected to wait up alone for her (my husband has to get up early in the morning, and doesn’t sleep well, so typically goes to bed around 8-8:30), and decided that watching a movie would be just the ticket to pass the time. I figured I’d screen the movie first, and if I liked it, recommend it to my husband, or recommend that he stay away from it — he was more fond of the original than I was, and I rather suspected that his reaction to the movie would be similar to someone suggesting that we need to alter the Bible somehow. In other words, that the old movie was near-sacred! 🙂 (Exaggerating for clarity, here.)

Well, it didn’t work out that way — my husband came home and took a nap, and we stayed up together to wait for his mom. I tentatively suggested watching the movie, and he agreed — and loved it!! I was so surprised!

At first, I was a little unsure (Johnny Depp’s “Willy Wonka” reminds me of Michael Jackson after all his plastic surgeries), but it was a very good flick. Being 30+ years newer than the old one, it had a lot more technology at its disposal (computer animation techniques and I don’t know what else), so the special effects were very believable. My only problem with the movie is that some of the parts scared or concerned my son — which is totally acceptable, because he’s not quite 4, and the movie is rated PG. If you’ve seen the original movie or read the book, you know that all of the children except Charlie are disposed of as they go through the chocolate factory — Augustus Gloop falls into a river and is sucked up a pipe; Mike Teavee is shrunk in a TV; Violet Beauregarde turns violet from chewing gun; and Veruca Salt and her dad fall into a garbage chute. While all of these things are basically benign, my 4-year-old didn’t have the background to understand what was happening, and he was really concerned about what happened to all of the children. (When Mike goes into the TV, the Oompa-Loompah is sitting there changing channels, and most of the channels have a little something scary to a 4-year-old on it — a scene I think from Psycho, where you see a hand stabbing into a tub — which is where Mike is, and he dodges the huge knife — no blood, of course — and adults “get” it, but Keith doesn’t have a clue; plus several things that look like MTV videos, with the Oompah-Loompah [in all the roles], as Kiss, Van Halen, Whitesnake, or other various hard-rock or heavy-metal groups, which are funny to adults, but can be scary to kids who have no clue why the people have weird or scary face-paint on, or are jumping around with raucous music in the background — that sort of thing.)

But I could recommend the movie, which doesn’t happen very often! 🙂



One Response

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  1. notimeforclocks.wordpress.com said, on November 7, 2008 at 3:50 am

    I probably read the book a dozen times as a kid. The Tim Burton version was much closer to the book than the Gene Wilder one but theyre both good in their own way


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