Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

In this feature where we take two movies with similar themes (or an original and a remake) and pit them against each other in different film-making categories to see which comes out on top! this time it’s the battle of the Willys!:


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory trailer

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory trailer


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Jack Albertson, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone, Denise Nickerson, Dodo Denney, Paris Themmen, Ursula Reit, Michael Bollner, Diana Sowle, various dwarves

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, AnnaSophia Robb, James Fox, Julia Winter, Adam Godley, Jordan Frye, Franziska Troegner, Philip Wiegratz, Christopher Lee, Deep Roy

While the Charlie cast is fairly impressive on paper, Gene Wilder is absolutely magnificent as Willy Wonka, while Johnny Depp completely fudged it up with his weird impersonation of Michael Jackson on lithium.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Mel Stuart (Welcome Back Kotter “A Sweathog Christmas Special”; Wattstax; I Love My Wife) seemed like a weird choice, since he was chiefly a documentary director, but he basically nailed it, bringing a vibrance and sense of wonder to virtually every scene, and the decisions he made improved dramatically on the source material.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Tim Burton (Planet of the Apes; Alice in Wonderland; Dark Shadows) really Tim Burtoned this movie up in only the way Tim Burton could Tim Burton it. Why would the chocolate factory be so dark and brooding? Before I saw this it seemed like Burton would be an ideal director, but he really fudged it up. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure had more of a Willy Wonka vibe than this.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: So this movie took the basic framework of the book and changed a few things, which author Roald Dahl hated. But you know what, Roald? The movie improves on your book in nearly every way, particularly with the classic music, which you hated the most. I love that you hated it so much that you refused the sequel, The Great Glass Elevator, to be made into a movie. But you know what, Roald? That book is absolute garbage and should be erased from the pages of bookdom. So I guess by refusing to have that book made into a movie, you did us all a favor, since it would have only tarnished the greatness that is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. So go cry into the legs of your cranky pants, Roald.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The remake stays more faithful to Roald Dahl’s book, which, as I explained above, is not nearly as good as the original movie version. The original book songs are bad and unmemorable, the Squirrel Room is dumb, and Willy Wonka’s backstory (a bit more played up in this movie than the book) is a waste of time. Nothing comes anywhere close to being as fun as the original, especially the ending, where Willy Wonka ends perfectly at the chocolate factory and Willy Wonka given Charlie everything, this movie continues on, with Wonka basically wanting to force Charlie away from his family, and he has to come to a reconciliation with his own father in order to be happy. It’s bleak and pointless.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Limited by the fact that it was 1971, they still did an excellent job creating the world of the factory and infusing a sense of wonder, particularly with the chocolate room. All of the machinery looks cool as well, and seems like it could really produce crazy candy. But a lot of the movie looks a little too ’70s, particularly the text that comes up on the screen. Plus, the chocolate river always looked way too watery to me.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Well, at least they get the chocolate river to look more chocolatey this time, but, there’s a lot of CG, and it looks like it’s CG, and most of the time it doesn’t feel like anybody is actually there, which I hate. Take for example this version of the chocolate room, which is supposed to be a fun wonderland, but seems cold and dark and Burtony. The multiple Oompa Loompa effects were kind of impressive, but you just wished they’d stuck to the beloved orange-faced candy workers of 1971.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Everyone loves these timeless songs and most can sing them word for word. Everyone has a favorite Oompa Loompa song lyric (mine is “I don’t like the look of it!”). Pure Imagination is a masterwork. Pretty much every song just makes you happy when you hear it, except, ironically, “Cheer Up, Charlie,” which isn’t so good. The score is mostly Pure Imagination cues, which is great.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: If anyone remembers more than three words for any of these songs you win a golden ticket for being a fudging crazy recluse. Danny Elfman’s score is ok, it’s plenty Burtony.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Nominated: Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Nominated: Best Achievement in Costume Design

(Both Wilder and Depp were nominated for Golden Globes for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical, and the fact that Depp was nominated shows you just how fudged up the Golden Globes are.)

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory



Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: One of the most beloved family movies of all time, has spawned countless parodies and imitations, is infinitely quotable, and, again, the music is outstanding. It runs continuously on a loop on the ABC Family channel.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Just a disappointing waste of talent, which we all should have seen coming after Planet of the Apes (I went into detail about this on the blog Cara and the Chocolate Factory). Nobody is going to even realize this movie exists in another few years, which is really best for everyone.

Point: Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory


It’s a complete chocolate mudslide victory! And it wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate! No one in their right mind would choose the Burton version over the original (so that only discounts some of you). It’s just better and more enjoyable in every conceivable way, particularly in the areas of music and Willy Wonka’s portrayal. It’s truly a classic that should be seen and beloved by everyone.

What do you think? Did we score the fight fair? Which movie won on your scorecard?

Posted in VS

27 thoughts on “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

      • Shame on R.O.T.O.R.! Although I would’ve probably accepted chocolate for a bribe, too. Y’know, I’ve seen the remake so little that I’ve never even thought about that, but yeah that’s pretty bad…Yet another way in which that film contributed absolutely nothing to the world.


  1. That was an absolute slaughter! And obviously it was, I mean, get the fuck outta here already Burton. Extravagant costumes, dark lighting, and Johnny Depp have all become terrible crutches for him.


  2. Oh and also, the line “go cry into the legs of your cranky pants, Roald” made me howl with laughter. You’re the funniest person on the internet.


  3. Pingback: Parental Guidance Suggestion: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  4. Ok, Dude. I loved the remake. The 70’s version just was too childish. I always thought that Willy Wonka was a psychotic child murderer, and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” brought my vision to life. No, I’m not a hater, but I’m just saying, your reviews were really biased. I loved that the remake stayed true to the book. I’m a huge nerd for EVERY book, and movie producers almost always screw it up.


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