Thinking of going to see the movie Wonka?
That is a real god damn commitment! So you might want to check out a review on Wonka first.
Unfortunately I have seen all the reviews on Wonka and guess what?
There is only one fucking good one!
Fortunately it is by me. And you are reading it right now.
But first let's get a few housekeeping things out of the way.
1. I have had a pretty strong sidecar, which is an excellent cocktail that Queens are partial towards.
2. I have not seen the movie Wonka.
But fuck that!
I am unpopular, I swear a lot in this post, I am on the Internet, and I am supremely confident in my opinion about Wonka.
Trust me on this one.
I mostly do.
Now you are probably wondering:
"If you haven't actually seen the movie Wonka, what are you going on in your review?"
Good fucking question clever reader!
I, unlike the irrelevant people who weren't asked this question, will answer it!
I am going on the following things. There are a surprising number.
1. I have seen Timothy Chalamet in the following films:
a. Don't Look Up
b. The French Dispatch
d. Love the Coopers
e. To the 1:39 mark of the music video "(You Made it Feel Like) Home"
One of these was a masterpiece.
2. I have seen the movies Paddington and Paddington Two more than once (no, Paddington Two is not better than Paddington One). These are excellent auteur films and are by the director of Wonka.
3. I have seen Hugh Grant in all movies where he plays a romantic lead, often several dozen times. I consider him the greatest overall Romantic Comedy lead actor of all time and likely the best chat show guest ever created.
4. I have read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 15 times and written about the book back when Hugh Grant still had floppy hair.
5. I have seen the wonderful film with Gene Wilder, called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, many times.
6. I have seen the terrible movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory once. It is a movie where the talent and, possibly, the very humanity of Johnny Depp broke and fell back violently. Seeing it once was three times too many.
7. I have seen all the previews for Wonka.
8. I have watched every chat show and promotional feature involving the cast of Wonka.
Now, before we get started, you probably want to know what's wrong with all the other 973 reviews, on the Internet, of Wonka.
This is complicated. And I don't want to get into the weeds on this one, but...
The Internet has gone down two tracks:
Vehement and Professional.
Sometimes the vehement people are professional, but, whether they are or not they are always marked by ignorance. The professional people are marked by professionalism and this means they hedge their words because businesses hedge their words because they are businesses.
I am neither ignorant nor professional!
"Wait a second!" You cry out. "You are vehement and yet you claim not to be ignorant while not even seeing the movie you are reviewing!!!"
First of all, look who's calling people "vehement"!
Second, point to you. Well done!
But you absolutely fucking know I'm on to something here, and so do I!
So what am I on to?
I can smell every single reviewers tepid professionalism and unconsciously inherited knowledge when it comes to Wonka. I have not seen a shred of independent creative analysis of the Wonka oeuvre.
The professionalism appears as all the reviewers equivocate in their recounting of the past Willy Wonka movies. Whether they liked the first (they did), or they didn't like the second (unclear), they say that opinions vary on how people felt about these.
Opinions vary on how people felt about fucking The Godfather! Who cares. It is a masterpiece!
So, one can discount the credibility of any review that does not state the obvious:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum was obviously a culturally important and excellent movie.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp was clearly and unequivocally a misguided and bitterly unsuccessful remake.
With this alone one could dismiss every virtually every review I have come across, because they are not grounded in anything. But there's more, a deeper sin.
Possibly every review I have seen has also inherited an unconsidered reinterpretation of Gene Wilder's characterization of Willy Wonka, and then measures that blindly inherited knowledge against the film Wonka. This reinterpretation of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka as a darker, more complex and even sadistic character has the patina of insight, but is south of the point of the character, plot, and movie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I am not sure where this reinterpretation came from originally. I don't even think it is without merit for consideration. But I would say every critic who has been taken in by this reinterpretation has embraced it without analytic consideration. They have taken it as almost their own insight, even though it is merely an alternate take on the character against what is clearly presented in the text and the film and the performance of that first movie.
Willy Wonka is simply a person betrayed by the world who remains deeply moral and is trying not to be destroyed in that.
Also, I am keen to point out that the main character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Charlie. And the actor portraying him, a mere child, is brilliant. It is significant that this doesn't come up in these reviews I have read.
Every review I have read or watched complains at least a little about the Wonka version of Willy Wonka not linking to the later, half broken Willy Wonka appearing at the start of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Those same reviews complain about their initial feelings that there is a pointlessness to a prequel to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story. But these two issues go together. The biopic version of showing Willy Wonka's rise and then fall to where he started in Charlie would indeed be pointless.
However, there is a movie to be made of the inspirational Wonka's rise, from the time he rose in love and creativity, and was a person of integrity and purity. This we know was there in his past from his desperate pursuit of finding it again in his contest and in the very person of the pure child Charlie, and by his conferring the inheritance of his life's work upon this impoverished, soulful kid. We know that the complex, Gene Wilder Willy Wonka, full of sadness and just a sliver of hope, has a clear eyed soul that was blinking out, and we know that it brought him to triumph in the past.
Wonka is the story of that past!
So, was it a good movie?
Fuck if I know, I haven't seen it yet.