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Sitting here singing along to Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Newell said "Once you've seen that new version, you can't think of any other Willy Wonka." Well, much as I love Johnny Depp, Gene Wilder will always be Willie Wonka to me.  Don't get me wrong, I thought the new version was amazing...but I remember going to see the original when it opened in 1971. Nothing can compare to the wonder that it inspired first viewing on a big screen.

And, if you have ever seen the original drawings in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder looked exactly like the frazzle-haired Wonka pictured therein. There is an innocence about the original film. Even when the horrific comeupances hit the wicked children, they seem fitting and believable in the context of the wonderland of the Chocolate Factory. The new film was so much darker. Of course, I have only seen it once--as opposed to a dozen times for the older version, so I need to rewatch it to be fair. And watching the Wilder version is definitely putting me in the mood to do so.

What is amazing to me is how well the film quality of the original holds up. Although it looks dated  in places, the effects and visuals still look great (at least to me), even after more than thirty-five years.

Which do you like better?


Dec. 19th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
I never saw the Wilder version -- I was 15 years old in 1971, and kids' movies weren't on my radar. (Nor, frankly, were most other movies; I've never been much of a moviegoer.)

I have seen the Depp version, and I like it a lot. And yes, much of that has to do with Depp's performance; it feels as though it needs to be dark and scary, and of course Depp is fabulous at playing emotionally-scarred characters.
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
You Really Should...
If you get a chance to see Wilder's version, you should. You would like it, I think. I was 12 myself when it came out, but I had three younger sisters, and we had a tendency to do a lot of family movies. :)

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