Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Better die of indigestion than miss one spoonful of that medicine


While Tim Burton was marrying Johnny Depp to a corpse in the most lurid and lascivious funeral wedding he could imagine, he was working in a bath of chocolate with five children, three boys and two girls accompanied by one parent each, two fathers, two mothers and one grandfather, Charlie’s. The game, the lottery, the sweepstake of this film is nothing but the visit of a chocolate factory worked only by machines and we will discover later a new species of brownish humans who are all, absolutely all midgets, though we can never be sure with Tim Burton. Maybe their shrunken state is nothing but a visual special effect.

This film settles accounts with the industrial world seen as pure exploitation of workers as long as they cannot be replaced by machines and then of machines as long as they can work as well as or slightly better than men, knowing that machines cannot go on strike and cannot steal industrial secrets and industrial property to sell them to competitors. We live in a horrible world, don’t we? At the same time he comes to terms with the industrial folly of some entrepreneurs, those who have a lot of enterprising spirit, even if at times that entrepreneurship sounds like the undertaking of workers by undertakers six feet under.

And a whole city can live at times on only one or two factories of this type and it will die if modern technology enables the boss, the owner, the industrialist, the master to get rid of all his slaves. And the film shows that contrast between the rich and powerful on one foot and the poor and closely-knit families on the other foot, by setting one of these families, with a son, a father and a mother, two grandfathers and two grandmothers, in a derelict house, a slum indeed, in a piece a wasteland on the margin, border or outskirt of the main city built around the famous chocolate factory.

After settling his own social vision that will develop all along, Tim Burton has to settle some personal accounts with fathers. I will overlook the national accounts against Germans, Bristishers and some others. Charlie is lucky because he has two loving parents and four loving grandparents. But Charlie is Tim Burton’s dream of a family and this dream is here so much attached to poverty in financial and material means that we doubt Tim Burton has ever experienced the warmth and richness of this family in heartfelt emotions, empathy and plain love. We may even think it is too much on both sides: a caricature? Maybe.  But Charlie Bucket is the happiest child in the world who is loved by six people and loves the very same six people. No way for Mr. Willy Wonka to take that child away from his parents and his family. Charlie flatly refuses to follow Willy Wonka and take over the factory if he cannot take his family along.

But to make sure we understand the message against fathers and eventually for fathers, Tim Burton provides Willy Wonka with a dentist of a father who is a monster of cold dentistry and technology for the hygiene of his son’s teeth. The child is tortured with hygienic and orthopedic dentistry or just as much hygienic dental orthopedics which sounds like some squarely angular Police Department of tooth cavities. The child, Mr. Willy Wonka, will make his life and fortune in sweets and chocolates to pester, spite and reject his father who had never loved him with sweetness and honey pie affection.

And Tim Burton will arrange an ending that will reconcile the two father and son enemies. But that’s for you to see how.

Then to say something of the factory itself, it is a paradise of all kinds of sweet delicious pleasures and sights managed by the little brown midgets who can do everything from taking care of the parks and gardens, of the machines and robots, but also of the music and dances. We have thus a ballet of special effects to select the winner out of five. Easy task! One is a glutton and as such he will take a bath in the chocolate river and end up in a chocolate bar. Another one is a vain little girl whose vanity will cost her a happy swelling future, as big as an enormous balloon full of the hot air of her vanity. The third one is a vindictive boy who can only attack, assault and aggress anyone, Mr. Willy Wonka among others, and he will end up flattened down to the thickness of a sheet of paper, and slightly elongated. The fourth one is a girl and she is so spoilt that she requests, demands and orders her father to provide her with anything she suddenly wants. She just went too far and decided to take one of the trained nut-cracking squirrels of the factory who will find her to be a bad nut and she will end down more than up with her father down under in the garbage hole.

Only Charlie and his grandfather will survive the tests because he is polite, intelligent and empathetic. He understands the suffering of our Mr. Willy Wonka but he refuses to patronize him and he answers his authoritarian paternalism with a negative answer and after a while he accepts to be the go-between with Mr. Willy Wonka’s unsatisfied and dissatisfied past. And that was a biting decision to take because how could he have trusted such a frustrated and miserable man who did not know his father loved him though this father had never said, expressed or told him so.

So pick your handkerchief young boys and young girls, and older ones too, and shed a tear or two on poor Mr. Willy Wonka saved from perdition by a boy under ten. He sure deserves the chocolate factory. God bless the child! Yet that is not really necessary because the child has been blessed by himself and his selfish character.


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