The 1971 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (renamed Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory for the film)has reached its 50th anniversary. But the joyful film that captivated millions of people - taking them on a ride with a golden ticket and a dream - has been reevaluated as “clunky” by a film critic.
And fans were not pleased.
In the recent review from The Guardian, critic Guy Lodge spoke of Gene Wilder’s portrayal of the chocolatier directed by Mel Stuart as an “eerily underplayed interpretation of Wonka” and “a sinister-sweet antihero who has haunted as many dreams as he has launched memes.”
The critic also spoke about Tim Burton’s 2005 adaptation starring Johnny Depp, and his “off-puttingly fey” of Wonka “largely sunk the reputation” but feels that this adaptation is better than Stuart’s version for “cinematic verve and vibrancy.”
Fans on Twitter talked about the magic the film brought to their lives as children.
“It’s a gloriously dark and funny movie that has gallantly stood the test of time thanks to a wicked tone, wonderful songs, and Gene Wilder’s bravura performance,” someone wrote.
“Whoever wrote this has horrible taste in films. This movie alone made children lifelong fans of the late great Gene Wilder. Who cares if Dahl hated it? Most authors do,” someone else said.
“When I watched it as a youngster, it felt like magic,” another added. “When I watched it as I got older, I started to appreciate its wry humour too. Love it.”
On the other hand, some people had similar sentiments to the film critic but understood the effect the movie had on many.
“I think pretty much all of the criticism is pretty valid. Pacing is whiplash-inducing. [The] movie can’t decide on its characterisation; production values show the budget all too much. Wilder’s performance and the score carry the whole movie. Neatly sums it up to me,” one person said.
“A lot of the criticisms in this article are valid (the design isn’t great, storytelling is a bit clunky), but it misses the point that the sheer oddness of the film is a big part of why it’s so well-loved. 50 years from now, children will still be delighted and weirded out by it,” another added.
Check out other responses below to the film review.
@Sproutlore99 @guardian A children's film that isn't REALLY a children's film. I loved it when I was young, and my… https://t.co/CbfMPrFa6x
@guardian @guardian Don’t ever disrespect Gene Wilder like this again!
— The girl with no name (@The girl with no name)
Last month, Call Me By Your Name actor Timothée Chalamet is reportedly assuming the role of Willy Wonka in a new Warner Brothers film that will chronicle the earlier years of Wonka’s life before he opened up the chocolate factory.
Paddington director Paul King is slated to direct the prequel.
This will become the third time Warner Brothers would bring the character to life.