My daughter and I are reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Now, anything by Roald Dahl is likely to be a little on the strange side, but I can’t help thinking that Willy Wonka is maybe the weirdest character ever. I’m partial to the Gene Wilder version of the infamous Mr. Wonka; playful, whimsical, but still an adult at the end of the day. The Johnny Depp version might be closer to Roald Dahl’s vision, but it’s never been my favorite. Re-reading these books with me has given me some insight into why. Willa Wonka is weird.
That I find Willa Wonka’s weirdness a little worrisome is saying a lot. After all, I am weird. Some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth even surprises me. But there’s something disconcerting about Wonka’s weirdness. And I don’t think I ever noticed it as a kid so I think this re-evaluation is happening through my adult / mom filter. I can’t help but wonder what happened to Willy Wonka. The Johnny Depp movie has that strange dentist backstory which I actually found too creepy. Johnny Depp played creepy Willa Wonka like nobody’s business.
I really do like the whimsical Gene Wilder portrayal best. I am of the opinion that that adaptation of the book combined all the best moments of both Chocolate Factory and Great Glass Elevator. And despite the more recent remake, the Gene Wilder version is timeless. My kids love to watch it and I do too.
Which is your favorite version? Have your kids read the books? Share your stories of weirdness and whimsy!
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.