Feb
13
2018

Oh, boy: they’re rebooting Willy Wonka.

Hey! Maybe they’ll make a kid’s flick this time! “Paul King is trading in marmalade for chocolate bars.  EW can confirm that the Paddington helmer is in final negotiations to direct Willy Wonka, a new take on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It’s apparently going to be a prequel, because why not?

…I’d feel worse about this if — look, have you watched recently the original Gene Wilder masterpiece? It could get kind of messed up.  There’s one bit in there where they cut off a chicken’s head to give you an idea of just how trippy things are getting. And the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film is — well, OK, I did like it.  And in some ways that version is more faithful to the original book. But that book could also be pretty screwed up in places, because Ronald Dahl apparently had a complicated opinion of kids, particularly when they were girls.  In other words, I wouldn’t let my kids watch either before they were fifteen. Maybe thirteen.  It’s fascinating to contemplate what an actually kid-friendly Willy Wonka might look like.

4 Comments

  • junior says:

    Dahl is viewed by many as a children’s author. While I personally have no problem letting kids read his books, I’m also aware that most of the people espousing that idea have only the most vague ideas about what actually happens in those novels. Or in other words, the same kind of people who automatically assume that if a cartoon has a bunch of rabbits in it, it must be safe for kids.

    • acat says:

      Precisely .. “James and the Giant Peach” is another good example ..
      .
      That said .. kids already know the world is scary and bad things happen .. what they learn by not finding that in their stories seems to be that they should shut up about it.. that the problem is with them, not with the world.
      .
      Long way ’round to say “let them read Dahl (but talk to them afterward)”.
      .
      Mew

      • junior says:

        Yup. Kids need exposure to the bad just as much as they need exposure to the good. Ignoring the bad just makes it that much worse when the kids-no-more are eventually confronted with it.

        IIRC, I read both Charlie books (Chocolate Factory, and Great Glass Elevator) when I was in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I had Giant Peach read to my class when I was in 4th. Kids are fully capable of handling books like this if they’ve got adults in their lives helping to ensure that the kids are properly centered.

  • Finrod says:

    But will it have Vermicious Knids?

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