By Kat Rosenfield
With “The Fault in Our Stars” coming out next month, fans everywhere are abuzz over the big debut of Hazel and Augustus and their beautiful, beautiful love story. And that’s great, except for just one note that may be passing fans by:
“The Fault in Our Stars” is obviously a thinly-veiled homage to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Yes, it is. Think about it: the intrepid band of youngsters; the reclusive, enigmatic man whose secrets they hope to learn. Plus, how many other characters named “Augustus” can you think of?
Clearly, author John Green is a fan of fellow author Roald Dahl*, and secretly encoded “Fault” to be a love letter to “Wonka.”
Here’s every eerie parallel between “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”:
We start with a group of kids: kids with unique characteristics, some might even say afflictions, that changed the course of their lives. Charlie Bucket, the hero of the Wonka universe, is a sensitive, thoughtful soul with an unruly pageboy haircut. Gee, sound like anyone we know?
And then there’s Augustus. Pretentious, grandiose, hungry for
“It’s a metaphor! You put the thing that does the killing right between your teeth… and then you snarf it down like a wild beast.”
And when Charlie/Hazel and Augustus/Augustus meet? It’s magic.
Also, let’s not forget the supporting cast. Isaac, best friend to Augustus, is obviously a reincarnation of Mike Teavee, the TV-obssessed twit from the Wonka-verse — the cruel joke being that he won’t be watching much, because this time around, he has eye cancer. And then there’s Isaac’s girlfriend, Monica, who gets an egg-related comeuppance for her very bad behavior. Hmm, sounds familiar.
So long, Ver-monica.
Meanwhile, Hazel/Charlie is obsessed with a reclusive, enigmatic man whose life has been shrouded in mystery ever since the creation of his most famous work, An Imperial Everlasting Gobstopper. Call him… Peter van Wonka.
Incredibly, our sensitive heroes score a chance to meet this man, with a once-in-a-lifetime golden (airline) ticket…
…only to discover that the man behind the myth isn’t quite what they expected.
Actually, he’s kind of a drunken nutcase.
Occasionally, he’s downright unhinged.
And if you were hoping for answers? Well, too bad.
Furthermore, we have it on good authority that the entire city of Amsterdam is populated by oompa-loompas, who are obviously of Dutch extraction.
“Augustus, look behind you.”
And without spoiling anything, let’s just that that in both of these stories, things don’t exactly end well for Augustus.
Such are the machinations of this cruel universe, children. Because, as Willy Wonka would say, time is a flat circle. And everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna oompa-loompa doopity-do, over, and over, and over again. Okay? Okay.
“The Fault In Our Stars” hits theaters on June 6. Yes, we’re aware the book is called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” but they don’t make GIFs out of books.