May 26, 2004

Willy Wonka in the 21st Century

AMC last evening showed a "family film," Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a film originally released in 1971, I believe.

I remember seeing it with the family the first time in the small theatre at Ft. Benjamin Harrison on a Saturday afternoon. Even back then, at about 15 yrs old, I was taken aback by the total "Drugginess" of the movie. It was psychedelic and just a bit sadistic, from the sets and props, to the swirling lyrics that popped and shimmied onto the screen during the Oompa Loompa songs.

Oh, and lest we forget, how about the Kubrick-2001-esque trip through the tunnel with the ever quickening light show, disturbing projections and chicken decapitation? Pretty big gamble back in 1971, wouldn't you say? And no, I don't remember seeing Salvadore Dali's name in the credits anywhere. I looked.

During the film last night, two young couples ate chocolate fondue in what we are asked to imagine was living room of one of couples and discussed the film in brief segments at the commercial breaks. One of them stated that Gene Wilder was not the only person considered for the Wonka role, that one of the others considered was Fred Astaire. I imagine that would have been interesting, what with the psychedelics and such, we would have had the added interest of orange faced Oompa Loompas in tap shoes, shuffling back to Oompa Loompa Land.

Well, rumor of rumors, it seems that nothing is sacred these days (like we didn't know that), and there's a play being made to remake Willy Wonka. (I guess Wizard of Oz was not available, or they'd have taken a shot at that one, too.)

Interesting. Given the times now compared to the times then, it would certainly be different. The Oompa Loompas would probably be into either Hip-Hop or Ozzie. But who would play Charlie or Wonka? Or Grandfather? Or Slugworth? Not to mention those moms and dads and thier vile offspring?

Imagine Quentin Tarantino directing Willie Wonka... Ewww, that would probably mean John Travolta as Wonka. Can't handle that. Could be worse though. Penny Marshall directing would probably inflict Rosie O'Donnell on us as Wonka/Wonkette (sorry, Wonkette). Michael Moore handling it as an anti-Bush diatribe with George Soros as Wonka, destablizing entire governments in his global Gob-Stopper Market Manipulation.

Even worse, Billy Bob Thornton directing and cast as Grandpa, and one of those kids from the Welchs Grape Juice commercials as Charlie. Now I'm scaring myself.

Posted by Mamamontezz at May 26, 2004 07:53 PM

It's actually Tim Burton directing Johnny Depp as Wonka.

Posted by: Laurence Simon at May 27, 2004 06:22 AM
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