July 22, 2005

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Emily and I came out to see the first film adaptation of Roald Dahl's book before seeing the new movie this weekend. This original adaptation of the Roald Dahl book holds a lot of sentimental value for me, but isn't as good as my memories of it from childhood. The songs are horribly dated, the tone is stickily sentimental. The Oompa Loompas are completely different from the characters in the book (why the midgets have orange skin, green hair, and white eyebrows is a mystery to me!). In order to pad out the length of the book into a feature-length movie, the world's mad hunt for the five Golden Tickets is illustrated with a series of slight vignettes (a computer is developed to calculate the location of the Tickets; a man is kidnapped for a chocolate ransom; Bucket's math-deficient teacher is obsessed with Wonkabars). As a result, it feels like a majority of the movie takes place away from Charlie and Willy's stories. There's also an added subplot where Wonka tests Charlie's loyalty by kicking Charlie out on a technicality sans candy. I found this to be a needlessly cruel trick at the end of the movie- Instead of betraying Wonka to his rival Slugworth, Charlie proves his worth, Wonka says "just kidding!", and Wonka gives him the whole factory.willywonka

Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell, Boston MA: WBZ is the main sponsor of this series, so weatherman Ed Carroll introduced the movie. He assured us that there were no thunderstorm cells in the area. He said there were storms in the Berkshires, and north of the city, but they should be able to squeeze in the movie. After making this inaccurate prediction, I'm sure Ed Carroll hopped in his car and sped away, leaving us to weather the consequences. During the movie, we were treated to quite a light show. The thunderhead-filled skies behind the Hatch shell were constantly illuminated by lightning. We could not hear the thunder, so I assumed the system was too far off. However, right as the Oompa-Loompas say farewell to Veruca Salt, the wind picked up and a few big fat drops of rain began to fall on us. Emily thought I was over-reacting, until she looked up and got one in the eye! We immediately packed up and headed towards Charles Street. We were soaked by the time we got there. After weeks and weeks of stifling hot and rain-free weather, I really didn't care that I was soaked!