Quoted from pinlawyer:
Depp’s Wonka—the character—was clearly inferior to Wilder’s. But the story—including the backstory—was far superior IMO, and the music kicked ass. The music in Wilder’s movie was corny AF. And the Oompa Loompas? Deep Roy kicked all their asses.
Oh I completely and utterly DISAGREE with you Pin Lawyer. Stuart’s film, like the re-make from Tim Burton that appeared over 30 years later, is faithful to the original source, which is no wonder when you consider that Dahl himself penned the screenplay with a helping hand from an uncredited David Seltzer. Several effective “additions” enhance the film’s fine strain of black comedy, like a scene when a woman tells the kidnappers who abducted her husband to pressure her into surrendering her case of “Wonka bars” that she’ll “think about it”, even with a death threat in place. In another sequence an oriental psychologist attempts to force a hypnotized patient to reveal the whereabouts of his own case of Wonka bars. The shrink’s accent is quite funny as it gleefully underlines the universal reach of the chocolate company and the intimidating potential value of an invitation to take the plant tour with receipt of the ticket. The prize is possession of the factory, which Wonka has grown too hold to govern. The film’s structure matches it’s source, with one by one dispatching of the obnoxious children, aided by the “Oompa-Loompas,” midget men with green hair, orange skin, and white pants, who serve as a kind of Greek Chorus, following on the respective child's eliminations by singing a song that mocks the various indiscretions. Despite his scathing indictment of capitalism and the refreshingly candid repudiation of anything that’s sugar coated (aside from the dominant motif of chocolate that dominates the film) Dahl ends his story on an exhilarating note when the loyal and loving Charlie refuses a bribe by returning the ‘everlasting gobstopper’, winning deserved favor from Willy Wonka in an gleeful emotional coda that’s well earned.
The film’s score was written by the British team of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, whose best collaboration this is without question. Bricusse is also famed for his scores for Scrooge, the musical re-make of Goodbye Mr. Chips and Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, the latter with Newley. Sammy Davis Jr. scored a #1 hit with the popular “The Candy Man” which is sung in the sequence when Charlie buys a Wonka bar at the local chocolate shop. It’s a bouncy and infectious song for sure, but the score’s best number of all is “Pure Imagination,” a sensual and melodious composition that Wonka sings to the kids amidst the delectable wonderments of the sweet room that they are invited to engorge themselves in near the beginning of the tour. Wonka tells the kids in song “If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it, anything you want to, do it, wanta change the world? There’s nothing to it…..There is no life I know to compare with ‘Pure Imagination’…living there you’ll be free, if you truly wish to be..” The most poignant song is one that Charlie’s mother sings to him when the boy is downcast when it appears he never land a Golden Ticket. She urges her son in a lovely evocation of pride and confidence, titled “Cheer Up Charlie” to just be himself, and all will work out. (I used the song in it’s entirety during a third-grade play I co-directed; while Charlie strolled and pensively sat on stage, and it was greeted with thunderous applause). The spirited and tuneful “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket,” sung with his joyful family after his great fortune is announced, and the ‘Wonderous Boat Ride” sequence are beautifully integrated into the plot, and the aforementioned ‘Oompa Loompa’ ditty is appropriately a recurrent coda.
As Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder’s performance, which was originally derided, has gained in cult status over the years, and is clearly more popular and more beloved than the later one given by Johnny Depp. Wilder is hammy and eccentric, and often aloof, but there are qualities that are at least in some measure consistent with the one Dahl presented on the written page. Against all odds, it is rightly seen by many now as the finest and most emblematic performance of his career. Near the film’s end Wilder is priceless when he brightens up after witnessing Charlie’s undying devotion. While no serious qualms could be voiced for the rest of the cast, special praise should be bestowed upon Jack Albertson, who is marvelously animated as Grandpa Joe, and Peter Ostrum, whose bland work as a good boy hoping for luck in a joyless life is in tune with it’s source. Without decorum, Ostrum creates the hero that every boy can only aspire to be. Of course, Dahl revisits the popular character a few years later in his book Charlie and the Glass Elevator, which unlike its famed predecessor never made it to the silver screen. Visually the film’s drab small-town English locations serve as provocative contrast to the vivid colors of the chocolate factory, and to this end cinematographer Arthur Ibbetson paints the canvas admirably. The principal photography was completed in Munich in the Bavarian section of West Germany, as it was much cheaper than filming in the United States.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has a special place in the hearts of baby boomers who never forgot the story’s inventiveness, humor and tunefulness. In fact few can think of it anymore without humming some of the Bricusse and Newley music, which have become as synonymous with the film, as the witticisms of it’s beloved creator. There can be no other choice for the pinball machine. It would be the same if a piball machine of KING KONG was themed after the 70's re-make instead of the 1933 masterpiece or if the 1968 science fiction classic PLANET OF THE APES was snubbed in favor of the vastly inferior new millennium remake. It would be unmitigated blasphemy!