Having proven itself as a favourite film of children around the world, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
is every bit as entertaining now as it was when originally released in 1971. There's a timeless appeal to Roald Dahl's classic children's novel, which was playfully preserved in this charming musical, from the colourful carnival-like splendour of its production design to the infectious melody of the "Oompah-Loompah" songs that punctuate the story. Who can forget those diminutive Oompah-loompah workers who recite rhyming parental warnings ("Oompah-loompah, doopity do...") whenever some mischievous child has disobeyed Willy Wonka's orders to remain orderly?
Oh, but we're getting ahead of ourselves ... it's really the story of the impoverished Charlie Bucket, who, along with four other kids and their parental guests, wins a coveted golden ticket to enter the fantastic realm of Wonka's mysterious confectionery. After the other kids have proven themselves to be irresponsible brats, it's Charlie who impresses Wonka and wins a reward beyond his wildest dreams. But before that, the tour of Wonka's factory provides a dazzling parade of delights, and with Gene Wilder giving a brilliant performance as the eccentric candyman, Wonka gains an edge of menace and madness that nicely counterbalances the movie's sentimental sweetness. It's that willingness to risk a darker tone--to show that even a wonderland like Wonka's can be a weird and dangerous place if you're a bad kid--that makes this an enduring family classic. --Jeff Shannon
A poor little boy wins a ticket to visit the inside of a mysterious andmagical chocolate factory. When he experiences the wonders inside the factory, the boy discovers that the entire visit is a test of his character.