Here's the main lesson we learned from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory": If a midget with green hair and orange skin gives you advice, you should take it.
On the eve of the 1971 family classic's 40th anniversary, Warner Bros. has manufactured a scrumdiddlyumptious new three-disc edition where the the snozberries taste like snozberries and everyone lives happily ever after.
For those who did not previously get their golden tickets, the film is about a dirt-poor kid named Charlie Bucket who lives with his scrappy family in a tiny house and speaks with an American accent despite living in England. The boy believes that all his prayers will be answered if he can become one of the five lucky kids to win a chance to tour the mysterious Wonka Factory, where all the most delectable sweeties in the world are made.
Miraculously, Charlie gets his chance, only to be led on a whimsically terrifying ride through the funky factory floor by the madman proprietor of the title. Willy Wonka and his tiny Oompa Loompa workers repeatedly warn the snotty kids not to do/eat/touch certain things, and do they listen? NOOOOOOOOOO, and for their insolence they are … well, they get a raw deal, let's put it that way.
"Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!"
Besides burning a severe fear of taffy-pulling into Generation X-ers, the movie has become a classic for its off-kilter sensibility, bizarre look and an unforgettably loony Gene Wilder. Young Peter Ostrum, who's terrific as Charlie, never had another role and is now a practicing vet in rural Lowville, New York.
Based on the treasured book by Roald Dahl that was later given a more direct/Depp-tastic adaptation by Tim Burton in 2005, director Mel Stuart's original is still irreplaceable for Wilder's stupendous performance. Unlike Johnny Depp, Wilder plays Wonka as a pragmatist in an eccentric's guise, whose anger-prone nature bubbles to the surface faster than his chocolate. That all may be a ruse, too, though, and when his true purposes are revealed at the end through a simple piece of candy and a child's kindness, he earns his place as one of the most beloved characters of all time.
If you are wise, you will listen to us and get the 40th anniversary Blu ... Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do.
Extras! This edition includes all-new features including "Mel Stuart's Wonkavision," "A World of Pure Imagination" and commentary by the Wonka Kids.