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Gene Wilder vs. Johnny Depp

Twice have film versions been made of Roald Dahl's most popular book. The first, released in 1971, features Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (whom the title was changed to accomodate because of concerns over racial slang) and Jack Albertson as Grandpa Joe and is something of a cult film. The second version, directed by Tim Burton and released in 2005, features Johnny Depp as Wonka, and a supporting cast that includes James Fox, Missi Pyle, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, and Deep Roy (many many times) and is intended to be slightly closer to the book.

Fans are divided on which is the superior film.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

  • Adaptation Expansion: The entire Slugworth plot. In the book, Charlie got the factory as soon as the other kids were out of the running and didn't have to pass a final test.
  • An Aesop: The Oompa-Loompa songs.

 Oompas: Who do you blame when your kid is a... BRAT?

Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese Cat?

Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame.

You know exactly who's to blame:

The Mother and the Father!

    • Charlie's is temptation, Veruca's is greed, Augustus' is gluttony, Mike's is laziness, and Violet's is pride. All are tied by the common theme of self-indulgence.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: In a brief scene during the "world-wide obsession" segment, this scene:

  Tech: Gentlemen, I know how anxious you've all been during these last few days, but now I think I can safely say that your time and money have been well spent. We're about to witness the greatest miracle of the machine age. Based on the revolutionary Computonian Law of Probability, this machine will tell us the precise location of the three remaining Golden Tickets. [He punches some computer buttons, and reads the card it emits] It says, "I won't tell. That would be cheating." I am now telling the computer that, if it will tell me the correct answer, I will gladly share with it the grand prize. [pushes more buttons] He says, "What would a computer do with a lifetime supply of chocolate?" I am now telling the computer exactly what he can do with a lifetime supply of chocolate.


 Wonka: But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.

Charlie: What happened?

Wonka: He lived Happily Ever After.

  • Big Door: In the Chocolate Room. The door was small on one side and big on the other.
  • Big Eater: Augustus, his father even moreso.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Wonka's random bursts of French and German.
    • There's also a bicultural version. When Mr. Beauregarde asks Mr. Salt what business he's in, he replies "Nuts." To a Brit this may seem like a very straightforward answer, but in the US it's the equivalent of "Get stuffed."
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: A bit inverted: While the scene with Julie Dawn Cole's character Veruca Salt and her "demise" after her "I Want" Song was filmed on October 26, 1970, the actress realized in real life that the date on which it was shot was actually her 13th birthday and no one remembered it and that Denise Nickerson would be Veruca's singing voice according to the DVD commentary.
  • Blatant Lies: "You're going to love this. Just love it."
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Wonka cares more about the production and the quality of confectionary than the safety of children. I have been told that this is not usual.
    • Granted, he is testing them, so his concerns for their safety are probably nonexistant. Plus, he talks about the solutions as if they were standard emergency procedures, likely because they do have accidents like those from time to time.
  • Book Ends: The DVD Commentary begins and ends with Denise Nickerson (Violet) asking for gum.
  • Brick Joke: When Wonka is looking through his mail near the end, he says, "I really must answer that one from the Queen." During the "Looking For The Tickets" sequence early on, the Queen of England shows up to an auction of the last case of Wonka bars in the UK. She was likely not amused when she did not find a ticket.
    • Violet tells Veruca, "Can it, you nit!", and then says to her, "Stop squawking, you twit!". Finally Grandpa Joe says she won't listen to Wonka "Because she's a nitwit."
  • Broken Aesop: Charlie is no more able to resist temptation than the other children. He (and Grandpa Joe) simply have 1) the good sense to not give in while everyone else is standing around and 2) the good fortune to survive relatively intact after doing so.
    • The final test likely absolved their temptation, at least in Wonka's eyes. A poor boy, whose family sees a loaf of bread as a banquet, is offered what amounts to a king's ransom for a piece of candy given to him by the man who dashed all his dreams. Pretty big temptation right there. Note that Veruca, Violet, and Mike showed no signs of returning their Gobstoppers.
      • Not that they really had had much of a chance to do so before their own personal misfortunes...
  • Burping Contest: Charlie and Grandpa Joe have one to bring themselves down after ingesting Wonka's Fizzy Lifting Drinks.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Wonka is pretty much like this throughout the movie. He reaches his high point when Mike decides to jump into the TV teleporter; Wonka, having given warnings to the other kids before the factory claims them, attempts to warn Mike in a tone somewhere between exhausted and bored. You can tell the guy's done caring by this point.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Willy Wonka.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mr. Salt just laughs when Veruca falls down the garbage chute and Wonka says it leads to the furnace, but jumps in to rescue her when Wonka speculates that she could just be stuck inside the chute.
    • Arguably, given how Veruca treats her father, he reacts to it as if he may finally be rid of her!
      • Or, alternately, the laughter could be because he's in shock.
  • Cool Old Guy: Grandpa Joe.
  • Crowd Song
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: Charlie and Grandpa Joe narrowly escape these during the Fizzy Lifting Drinks scene.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wonka and Grandpa Joe.
  • Depth Deception: The hallway to the Chocolate Room.
  • Disappeared Dad: Charlie's dad died sometime before the story starts.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "There's no earthly way of knowing... Which direction we are going..."


Violet: What is this, a freak-out!?

  • Enfant Terrible: Veruca Salt.
  • Enforced Method Acting
    • The cast wasn't allowed to see the Chocolate Room set until the moment when the scene where they first emerge into the room was shot, so their reactions are genuine.
    • Charlie's reaction to Wonka declaring he would get nothing due to defying the contract ("Good day sir!") is also genuine; in rehearsals Gene Wilder (Wonka) intentionally held back how angry he would be so Peter Ostrum (Charlie) would be surprised.
    • For the riverboat scene, Wonka's ranting poem was not in the script, hence the disturbed looks on the actors faces, who thought Wilder was actually losing his mind.
  • Establishing Character Moment: See Obfuscating Disability below.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The factory from the outside.
  • Face Palm: Wonka during Veruca's "I Want" Song, watching her smash up the golden egg room.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Food Porn: The opening for those who love chocolate.
  • Free Prize At the Bottom: The golden tickets being hidden inside candy wrappers is a variant of this trope.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • "I am now telling the computer exactly what it can do with a lifetime supply of chocolate!"
    • Wonka would enjoy it if you licked his snozzberries.
    • "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." Which is a quote from Ogden Nash about how to get a woman into bed.
    • That weird machine exploding cream all over the place looks mighty suspicious. Especially when it gets Mrs Teevee right in the face.
  • Greek Chorus: The Oompa-Loompas.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Grandpa George.
  • Hollywood Law: Wonka makes the children sign a contract before the factory tour. A minor cannot legally enter into a contract. In real life, their parents (or, in Charlie's case, Grandpa Joe) would have had to sign for them.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Spitting is a dirty habit." As she's picking her nose.

 Wonka: I know a worse one.


 Wonka: (dropping a shoe into a pot) Gives it a little kick.

  • "I Am" Song: Played with: "The Candy Man" celebrates a title character who hasn't been seen in years and who turns out to be more eccentric and tricky than the song implies. Wonka himself sings "Pure Imagination", which not only fits better, but has some of the best I Am Choreography one could want.
  • I'm Thinking It Over: "It's your husband's life or your case of Wonka Bars!"
  • "I Want" Song: Veruca has "I Want It Now", appropriately enough, which crosses this over with Villain Song.

 I want a feast!

I want a bean feast!

Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts so good you could go nuts. / No, now!

I want a ball! I want a party!

Pink macaroons and a million balloons and performing baboons and / Give it to me / Now!

  • Karmic Death: If the kids actually died, the deaths count as both Disproportionate Retribution and this. A glutton gets carried away for drinking too much chocolate, a gum-obsessed girl gets deformed by gum, a boy who can't stop watching TV gets shrunken by a TV, and a bratty girl and her ultra-indulgent father die while she's insisting on being given everything in sight.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: "She was a bad egg."
    • Happens to all the other children as well (though in Charlie's case it's good karma being rewarded)
  • Merchandise-Driven: The only reason this film was made was because Quaker Oats wanted to develop a new candy line, and agreed to put up the US$3 million the movie cost, in effect as an advertisement for the new candies mentioned in the film. If you see the film, you will note that the copyright owners are the Wolper Corporation and The Quaker Oats Company. (The candy flopped because of a botched recipe that left the bars literally melting on the shelves, meaning they had to be pulled. The Wonka brand was later revived by Nestle and still exists in a case of Defictionalization).
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Mouthy Kid: Veruca and Violet.
  • Motor Mouth: Violet really takes it to ridiculous levels.
  • The Musical: An all-out example compared to the structure of the book and the 2005 film lampshades this.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: #3 Diegetic. Lampshaded in both films.
  • Nice Hat: Willy Wonka's caramel topper. There was no way this couldn't sound like a euphemism.

 Veruca: Who says I can't?

Mr. Salt: The man in the funny hat...

  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Done quite deliberately. All of the cast who not explicitly identified as being from a certain location/region just use their own accents. This is particularly obvious in the scenes set in Charlie's hometown, as not being able to pin down a common accent increases the feeling of Where the Hell Is Springfield?. For everyone else, it just emphasises the global nature of the ticket hunt (though the main accents are German, British and American).
  • Obfuscating Disability: Willy Wonka's introduction. As Wonka walks out limping with a cane, he sets the cane aside and does a somersault. Gene Wilder wanted to do this as a warning from the first moment that neither the audience nor the characters could completely trust Wonka.
  • Oktoberfest: During the scene where we first meet Augustus Gloop.
  • One-Scene Wonder
    • Several examples during the world-wide scramble for the golden tickets, but the standout is probably the English comedy-actor Tim Brooke-Taylor as a... peeved... computer operator. (See Getting Crap Past the Radar above.)
    • David Battley as the teacher Mr. Turkentine...who can't seem to do a lick of math (or chemistry). The director mentioned that Battley's part was originally going to be very small, but was expanded slightly because he did such a wonderful job.
  • One-Book Author: Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie, never acted again after this movie. He's now a veternarian.
  • Out of Focus: Augustus Gloop barely speaks in the film, mainly because the actor spoke barely any English.
    • Not surprisingly, he hardly speaks during the "reunion" DVD commentary, either.
  • Perspective Magic: Wonka's factory has fun with this.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Early on, we're shown a woman whose husband has been kidnapped. She says she'll do anything to get him back... and then the kidnappers demand her case of Wonka bars. All of a sudden, she needs time to think it over.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation
    • Actually, both film adaptations address the problem that at the moment Charlie begins the factory tour, he becomes a completely passive non-entity who does nothing to earn the prize at the end outside of staying out of trouble.
    • Dahl left the production because his original script made everyone unlikeable.
    • The switch from squirrels/nuts to geese/eggs probably resulted at least in part from recognizing that even if they sprang for the special effects required it would have almost certainly ended up looking pretty bad done with the technology of the time.
  • Pretty in Mink: Although Veruca had furs because she was spoiled, Julie Dawn Cole actually wore a custom made little mink coat made for the part.
  • Read the Fine Print: Part of the "You lose!" rant points out a clause concerning Fizzy Lifting Drinks. A very small clause.
  • Regal Ringlets: Veruca, the upper class brat.
  • Riff Trax: Mike Nelson and Neil Patrick Harris tackled this movie.
  • Secret Test: The Slugworth plot, which serves to show that at least some of Wonka's quirkiness was Obfuscating Stupidity so that no one formed any outside attachment to him.
  • Shout-Out
  • Shrink Ray: The Wonkavision TV camera that shrinks down thing (and people).
  • Solid Gold Poop: The geese that lay golden chocolate eggs.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Wonka has a flute key, and the door to his main chocolate room opens to a tune by Mozart.
  • Stoner Flick
  • Surprise Creepy/Surreal Horror: The boat ride.
  • Tempting Fate: Grandpa Joe in the Fizzy Lifting Drink room: "A swallow won't hurt us!"
  • Too Many Halves: Willy says "Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple." Mrs. Teevee points out that that adds up to 105%.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Wonka himself.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: While the bratty kids' countries are identified (Augustus is German, Veruca is English, Mike and Violet are American) Charlie's and thus Wonka's is left vaguely American-English-ish. It was shot in Munich, and this was intentional on the part of the filmmakers so the story would retain some timelessness.
  • World Gone Mad: Wonka's factory, particularly his office, in which there is only half of everything.
    • It's possible that Wonka is a genuine Half-Wit, and here's the proof.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

  • Acting for Two: All the Oompa-Loompas, even the female ones, are played by Deep Roy. Some (jackhammer, boat-rowers) are completely animatronic.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Wonka's backstory and his dentist father who hated chocolate. Practically the same reasons as the '71 version to try and give the story a more complex ending.
  • Anachronism Stew: Burton likes making his settings more symbolic than realistic.
    • To see Charlie Bucket's family living in near Charles Dickens-style poverty in one scene and Mike Teevee's Playstation in the next is a tad jarring for some, despite the Buckets having their own TV.
      • Actually, Mike Teevee plays a modern FPS videogame with an Atari 2600!!!
    • Charlie's grandpa gives him a Peace dollar--An American, silver, 1920s/30s dollar.
  • Art Shift: Music shift to be more precise. Each of the Oompa-Loompa's songs has a different theme.
  • Ascended Extra: Mike Teevee is more prominent here than in the 70's film, and more antagonistic.
  • Asexuality: Willy Wonka, possibly. His devotion to a field of work most would consider only a hobby and the fact he didn't get married and chose to find an heir rather than have children suggests this.
  • Badass Baritone: Even a dentist can have a majestic deep voice when he's played by Christopher Lee!
  • Balloon Belly: As always, Violet swells up after chewing on the three-course gum. In this adaptation though, she inflates up to the size of a parade float while her stomach growls up a storm.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Violet bloats up so big during her transformation sequence that her jacket can't keep stretching and eventually starts showing off her navel.
  • Big Door: Again, in the Chocolate Room. Inverted Trope, with the door being incredibly small so Oompa Loompas can get in.
  • Bowdlerise: After explaining how he got his ticket, Mike says that "a retard could do it." The term "retard" is considered to be a slur, and the line doesn't air on TV.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Willy Wonka as a child.
  • Broken Aesop: Yes, children's movie, tell us all about how you shouldn't let your children watch TV at all.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The Oompa Loompas do one during the "Augustus Gloop" song.
  • Character Exaggeration: Not only does Depp exaggerate the oddness and enthusiasm of the original, he also picks up on the not-quite-hidden apathy for the other children and turns it into outright dislike. He's also much more obvious in his Magnificent Bastardry, like not opening the gate in the nut sorting room: if you watch closely, he 'finds' the right key before Veruca goes down the chute, but the gate doesn't open until she's already gone.
  • Cloning Blues: Not the Oompa-Loompas, but rather the actor playing them.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Grandma Georgina. Poor girl's mind is slipping in her old age.

 Everyone: (talking about Chocolate Factory)

Georgina: I love grapes.

    • Willy Wonka, who's probably the WEIRDEST version of the character in any adaptation.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mike, while explaining how he got his ticket. He apparently deduced it from so many facts, then found out what store the ticket would be in. When asked about how the chocolate bar he bought tasted, he says...

  Mike: I don't know. I hate chocolate.

  • The Comically Serious: Mike Teevee, who can't appreciate the amazing World of Chaos that is Wonka's factory and would rather point out how everything shouldn't be able to work/exist, even when zapped by the shrink ray.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Mike doesn't really do anything but snark, and the questions he asks and things he points out are usually justified, yet (at least, in the TV room) everyone acts like he's completely wrong and that he deserved his fate. Then again, maybe he did.
  • Creative Sterility: What seems to be Mike's problem, in addition to a video-game-induced violent streak: he's so jaded by TV and videogames and so focused on facts that he's completely unimpressed by Wonka's factory.
  • Cultural Translation: Both Mike Teevee and Violet Beauregarde are American in this version (and Augustus Gloop is German) — although since the characters' nationalities were left deliberately ambiguous in the book and the tickets were explicitly said to be available all over the world, this is a relatively realistic touch. On a less thought-out level, though, several of the English characters use Americanisms (like "candy" when referring to sweets), and their currency is, for some reason, dollars.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Violet at the end, who is now permanently blue, but with a body that can stretch like rubber. Note that Wonka and Violet's mother are the ones who view it negatively; Violet herself reckons (and rightfully so) that this "punishment" is made of win.

 Violet: Look, mother, I'm much more flexible now!

Violet's Mother: Yes, but you're blue.

  • The Cynic: Grandpa George. Ultimately subverted when he's the one who gives an idealistic speech to persuade Charlie to use the Golden Ticket, rather than sell it for cash.
  • Daddy Issues: These are basically inserted wholesale into Wonka's character and aren't present in the slightest in Dahl's original book. Part of what leads to Wonka's presentation as a psychotic man-child, to some degree.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Willy Wonka and Mike Teevee.
    • Veruca gets her moments, too.

 Violet's Mother: I can't have a blueberry for a daughter! How is she supposed to compete?

Veruca Salt: You could put her in a county fair.

  • Depraved Dentist: Wonka's father.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Willy Wonka keeps on smiling even as the kids are going through horrifying things right in front of him, with the sole exception of the scene where he runs for cover as Violet turns into a blueberry.
  • Enfant Terrible: Veruca and Mike.
  • Fat Bastard: Augustus, especially in this version. He offers his chocolate bar to Charlie and then yanks it away, saying, "You want some chocolate? Then you should have brought some," before giving the child-equivalent of an Evil Laugh. Presumably he knows that Charlie is quite literally starving.
  • Fat Slob: Augustus again. Oh, boy, Augustus. Whereas the previous version had decent table manners, the scene in the Chocolate Room is made genuinely unpleasant as Augustus stomps around eating everything, the area around his mouth becoming quite colorful in the process.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The melting of the singing puppets by pyrotechnics.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Willy Wonka is given one of these as part of the Adaptation Expansion. Mr. Wonka, Sr., is a dentist who doesn't allow his son to eat candy, driving Willy to rebel against him to achieve his dream of being a chocolatier.
  • First Gray Hair: This film provides the page quote for this trope. Willy Wonka reveals to Charlie that this made him realize he was getting old and drove him to start the Golden Ticket contest so as to find an heir to take under his wing and train up before he died.
  • Flash Back: Lampshaded.

 Wonka: (in a dazed way) I'm sorry, I was having a flashback.

Mike Teavee's Dad: (disturbed) These flashbacks happen often?


  • The Film of the Book
  • For Want of a Nail: Because of the increase of demand for chocolate due to the contest Mr. Bucket's job (toothpaste factory) makes extra money and decide to modernize, this results in Mr. Bucket losing his job and later he gets a better paying job at the same factory repairing the machine that replaced him.
  • Foreshadowing: When everyone is entering the factory, Wonka seems to have trouble saying the word "Parents," which at first one might just assume is part of his eccentricity, however, it turns out to be a big plot point, what, with his father issues and all.
  • Freudian Couch
  • Fur and Loathing: Veruca's coat is fake, despite the fact that the character could easily have a real one.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • "Don't touch that squirrel's nuts! It'll make him crazy!"
    • The Psycho Parody during the Mike Teavee musical number. Though we the audience never seen the girl in the shower save her legs and feet, looks like poor Mikey saw a little too much.
  • Growling Gut: All kinds of crazy sloshes and gurgles can be heard coming from Violet's stomach as she's turning into a blueberry.
  • Hollow-Sounding Head: Veruca.
  • Humiliation Conga: All of the bad kids go through this, more so than the previous versions, especially since Augustus, Violet, and Mike have their personal songs sung in front of them (though they mostly don't seem to be paying attention). One by one: Augustus falls into a chocolate river in front of everyone, gets sucked up a glass tube, is so fat he gets stuck, has to listen to a Reason You Suck Speech while trying to get free, goes through who-knows-what in the Fudge Room, then exits the factory covered in chocolate. Violet swells up to the size of a parade balloon and is rolled around, and ends up permanently blue. Veruca gets thrown down a garbage chute by squirrels covered in trash. Mike is shrunk, then stretched to ridiculous proportions. All of them exit, in some demeaning fashion, filmed and being watched by presumably the whole world.
    • Unlike the first adaption, which doesn't even hint to the children getting out at all.
  • "I Am" Song: "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka! The amazing chocolatier!" Also a serious Ear Worm. Sung by the puppets, before their accidental immolation.
  • I Can See My House From Here
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: As Charlie is shining Wonka's shoes after refusing to move to the factory:

 Charlie: "I met him. I thought he was great at first. Then he didn't turn out that nice. And he has a funny haircut."

Wonka: (throws down the newspaper he's reading) "I do not!"


 Wonka: That's what you get from chewing gum all day. It's just disgusting.

Mike Teevee: If you hate gum so much, why do you make it?

  • Kids Are Cruel
    • The other kids in the group pick on Charlie for really no reason, whereas Augustus didn't say anything to Charlie in the original book.
    • There's also Violet and Veruca's unexplained dislike for each other, and Veruca's schadenfreude at Violet turning into a blueberry.
    • The explanation is most likely that both girls (Veruca due to being spoiled and Violet due to being a perfectionist) feel a need to be the center of attention, and don't like sharing the limelight with one another.
  • Lady Drunk: How Mrs. Salt is portrayed, complete with the obligatory martini glass.
  • Large Ham: Johnny Depp not only chews the scenery, he gulps it down with vodka and asks for seconds.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Charlie asks how the Oompa-Loompas knew Augustus' name (and personality) in their Crowd Song, a Plot Hole that the book doesn't address with regards to any of the kids. Wonka claims it's skilled improvisation, but...
    • Mr. Salt remarks on how choreographed the Augustus number looks — implying that Wonka researched his victims, planned traps for them, and trained the Oompa-Loompas to celebrate their downfalls in a masterpiece of pre-planning.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Willy Wonka.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: (to a Beatles-y tune)

 Oompas: Veruca Salt, the little brute, has just gone down the garbage chute!

And she will meet, as she descends, a rather different set of friends!

Oompa: A fish head, for example, cut this morning from a halibut...