What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.
Think about the most evil villains you can think of from movies. Jigsaw put people in bizarre death traps to make them appreciate life more. Deep down, he believes he’s helping these people. Darth Vader got in too deep and stayed on the wrong side of the war because he felt there was no redemption (which there ultimately was). The Wicked Witch of the West was literally trying to get back her ruby shoes that were maliciously given to the strange visitor who killed her sister. A lot of the times, the ‘good guys’ are awful. The humans in Starship Troopers are the aggressor, invading another planet, Jack Sparrow is justly hunted down, and Tyler Durden is literally a terrorist.
Willy Wonka &The Chocolate Factory follows Charlie Bucket, a boy born into poverty who wins a ticket to tour a local chocolate factory. The movie introduces us to Charlie’s life and family, showing us how important and life changing this trip to the factory would be. If this was a normal horror movie, shortly after getting to the factory, things would start going awry and the visitors would start getting killed off or horribly maimed. And let me tell you, that is exactly what fucking happens.
The group of children and their guardians show up at the factory where they’re greeted by Willy Wonka, a frail old man walking with a cane. The cane gets caught between rocks on the path, causing Wonka to fall, which ultimately becomes a somersault. Wonka leaps up to his feet, full of energy and satisfied in his trickery of the children. At this point, the guy who just tricked them has them all sign a required contract before the factory tour can begin. Non-disclosure agreements, one would assume? In hindsight, it’s more likely to be a waiver/release saying you won’t sue the company when you inevitably get killed.
In the very first room, the group of people are introduced to a psychedelic crazy candy garden with chocolate waterfalls/rivers. Here we’re introduced to the Oompa-Loopas during a musical number sung by Wonka. The Oompa-Loompas are literally African Pygmy slaves stolen from their home land to work in the factory to be paid in cocoa beans. During this song, Wonka sings the following lines: There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination/Living there, you’ll be free/If you truly wish to be. He’s telling the kids they are all going to die in this factory and it’s going to be okay. No one has too much time to pay attention to this as Augustus Gloop, one of the visitors, falls into the chocolate river and gets sucked through a drain pipe. Everyone watches in horror as this boy is ripped from the river and through a pipe that almost seems specifically designed to destroy children. His guardian is removed from the tour as well.
Now we could be picking at threads that aren’t there. No one has ever toured the factory before and it’s situations they never thought of. Apollo 1 was the first fatal mistake NASA ever had and it was due to things they didn’t consider going wrong going wrong. No one thinks that NASA intentionally murdered those people (well, except those who think 9/11 was caused by the government’s reverse vampires or whatever). Here’s why we know we aren’t: when the group of visitors get on the boat to travel down the river, there are no empty seats. Not only were those boats not going to show up until two people were unable to go any further on the tour, but they flat out couldn’t hold everyone. Wonka knew exactly how many people would be removed from the tour at this point.
The boat sequence is by far the scariest part of the movie. It’s like the last scene of The Shining where you get glimpses of the inside of various rooms. You literally see a chicken get its head cut off. Not a special effect. That literally happens. “You’re going to love this,” Wonka tells the children as they get on the boat “Just love it!” he adds, unaware what a total sociopath he is. The scenes in this movie are fine out of context, but when you break it down, you realize how absolutely insane and horrific everything is.
The movie continues on, each child being killed or maimed in more and more severe ways. Being blown up, being shrunk, being thrown into a garbage chute to an incinerator, being eaten by starving Oompa Loompas (that one wasn’t in there, but it’s not much of a stretch). Again, these could be innocent mistakes, but Wonka ends up driving the survivors at one point in a car with the exact amount of seats as current survivors. There were no other cars in the garage. He absolutely knew what number of children would be around at what times. He’s like the Joker, having an elaborate plan that only he knows about that lines up perfectly.
Once it gets down to just Charlie and his Uncle, they are left in a room with an experimental soda-pop that causes people to fly. Wonka knows this is what happens with the soda, and leaves it in a room that has a large industrial-murder-sized fan for a ceiling. The product is flat out called “Fizzy Lifting Drink” and it’s in the only room in the entire building where “lifting” results in death. Wonka gets upset when he realizes Charlie and his Uncle drank the Fizzy Lifting Drink, but in context, it really seems like he’s upset that they survived. There is just an overwhelming amount of evidence saying that Wonka was planning on murdering these children.
Fellow writer Dan Bogosian suggested this movie to me, describing the movie as “a strange candy shop owner essentially plots a mass murder of children and, after a young boy survives, bribes him with a chocolate factory”. It’s similar to Fifty First Dates, where you don’t quite realize how horrific it is till it gets explained to you. The movie is equal parts Saw and Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. It’s as if Wonka had read The Lottery and thought “I can make that worse”. That being said, it’s still a great movie, it’s just not a kid’s movie.
You know that opening sequence where Wonka tricks the children? That was Willy Wonka actor Gene Wilder’s idea. He came up with it because he saw the darkness in this character and wanted to have an opening that made you question him from the first scene. In the Tim Burton version, the screenwriter had never seen the original. After finishing his script, he watched this version and literally found it to be frightening.
FUN FACT: If you really feel that we got this wrong and that it’s a kid’s movie, look at the definition of Snozberries (thank you, Tom Hicks). You’re welcome. Now follow me on Tumblr and Twitter, I won’t trick you into death. Mostly.