Can we discuss Wonka?
Those that know me know that there are a handful of movies that are ‘my thing’ – movies that, back in the day of VHS tapes and stegosaurii, my copies wore through. The original Wonka, Gene Wilder, 70’s perm and all, is probably the first film I can even think of that I wouldn’t stop watching as a kid. Since then, I’ve learned I wasn’t the only one and Wonka fits similarly into many people my age because of our exposure to it at the dawn of cable and the tape.
We are now getting not one, but two Wonka related movies and I am filled with the fury of a middle aged white man on the internet. So lets take a look at the rumors as to what we’re getting in the Wonderful World of Wonka and gauge how angry I’m going to be… to be clear, Depp Wonka gets me a 9 out of 10 on the Hate’Ometer, saved from a 10 solely by the CGI squirrels.
The first is a ‘young Wonka’ story, as portrayed by acting Wunderkind Timothee Chamalet (to be clear, I have no idea if he’s a wunderkind (or how to spell that)) I just know that he’s in a lot of places, and I don’t know anything about him. That said, this is rumored to be the first in a ‘Wonka Cinematic Universe’ which is a phrase that makes me wince so hard I felt my neck pop. The only saving grace to this entire concept is that the writer connected to it is Simon Farnaby who has done some notable work (including Rogue One, The Mighty Boosh) — but as the Depp Wonka taught us, sometimes, telling us too much ruins everything.
The second one is an animated series being created by Netflix and helmed by Taika Waititi of What We Do In Shadows and Ragnarok fame. This, mind you, I have less of a problem with as I have always wondered why there wasn’t a traditional Saturday Morning Cartoon about Wonka. There were cartoons for Back to the Future, Pac-Man, Robocop.. all that came well after the property had seen its golden days, so why not Wonka? A cartoon also feels quite less important in the scheme of the universe and a lot more ability to be playful without living in a green screen.
In the defense of both of these concepts, I do appreciate that they are being done by not-Americans. Waititi from New Zealand and Farnaby from England, Dahl’s humor and sensibility was most certainly not an American one and we’ve already proven we don’t deserve the rights to write a Wonka film… in the end, a cartoon gets only mild grunt from me, but a Cinematic Universe? Please don’t. Oh dot, please oh please do not. No good can come of it and what other books are you going to tie that into?! Maybe a discussion for another blog.
Unless, mind you, these Wonka properties help bring back Wonka candy bars… the ones that had the graham crackers in the blend… then you’ll get a pass as I sit on my couch with a mouth smeared in chocolate that a Gloop would be proud of.