This is a fantasy movie I’ve seen over and over again from the day it was released, in 2005. I’ve loved the interpretation of Willy Wonka by the brilliant Johnny Depp. It’s amazing how he manage to really “be” the characters he plays.
Directed by Tim Burton, this film was a success all over the world.
Willy Wonka, the owner of a chocolate factory, has decided to invite five children into his chocolate empire. To choose which children would have this privilege, he hides five golden tickets in the wrappers of the so called “Wonka Chocolate Bars”. After have chosen the five lucky winners, the journey into the Chocolate Factory begins.
Through the children, we have the representation of gluttony, vice, competition and maliciousness, but also kindness and humility, through the character of Charlie Bucket, interpreted by Freddie Highmore. He is grown up with his grandparents and parents in a modest home, but he is happy because he is surrounded by love. The other children, on the other hand, have grown up in a very materialistic way, and the result is that they will be ejected from the factory in comical and mysterious ways, through temptations to test their self-control.
Also, the character of Willy Wonka is analyzed during the entire story, with flashbacks on his past, explaining how he created his fortune and the conflictual relationship with his father. This is a movie that is highly symbolic, from the first scene to the last.
But, what is the story behind this amazing plot?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an adaptation of the children’s fantasy novel written in 1964 by Norwegian author Roald Dhal. He grew up in England and he was inspired in writing the book after a personal experience: in fact, the British multinational confectionery company Cadbury would often send test packages to his school and many others, while he himself was a child, in order to test the products before releasing them on the market.
Dahl’s book is now considered a classical children fantasy book.
The interesting thing is that recently we have found some “lost” chapters of this novel in some unpublished drafts of the author that reveal that he planned to insert in the original story more children and more temptations.
There has been also another motion picture adaptation, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, in 1971.
But, going back to Burton’s version of the movie, another characteristic that I love is the voice of the external narrator of the story (of actor Jeoffrey Holder), so deep and charismatic, in addition to the entire scenography and locations of the movie: from the Bucket family home (influenced by Burton’s visit to Roald Dahl’s writing hut), to the fantastic world inside the factory. Last but not least, the magical music by Danny Elfman, that creates the perfect atmosphere during the entire movie.