Willy Wonka - a new view.

With the talk about the new film, something just occurred to me that I never thought of as a child when I read the books, or when I saw the first movie. Just look at this:

Wonka has been to a distant land and brought back an entire population of coloured people to work for him. He has set them to work in his factory, in exchange for their lobour he gives them food (a diet mainly consisting of cacao beans.) They apparently receive no pay, no holidays. They never leave the factory, not ever. And he expects them to sing all the time to show how happy their lives are.

Basically, Wonka is a slave-driving plantation owner in the Deep South. What a bastard.

Except that Wonka saved them from extinction – they were being eaten alive by the hornswagglers and vermicious knids. He was their candy-coated savior.

I bet he had a cane, a crooked cane, a candy cane.

And he parted the chocolate sea.

They’re making a new Willy Wonka movie? This is news to me.

No offense–I never thought of that as a child either-- but this is not a new view. In Dahl’s original version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa Loompas were a tribe of African pygmies! This makes the slavery analogy even more obvious–though personally I don’t think that’s what Dahl was getting at. Anyhow, for several years after it was published, enough people were complaining about the political incorrectness of the Oompa Loompas that (in 1972, I think) a new version of the book was released, with a different origin and physical description of the Oompas.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands; Ed Wood; Sleepy Hollow) are teaming up again. Depp will be playing Willy and Freddie Highmore will be playing Charlie. Depp (as J.M. Barrie) and Highmore already worked together in Finding Neverland.

Since the first film adaption with Gene Wilder was such a beloved movie, a lot of people groaned when they heard that a new version was in the works. While the new film may not turn out to be as memorable as the original, with Burton and Depp involved, I’m confident that it will be very good.

But, there’s still going to be a lot of pissing and moaning before and after it hits theatres.