Now that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in theaters, I’m surprised people are still comparing Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka to Michael Jackson. Here’s why: Although the nature of MJ’s love of children is often disturbing, there’s never been any doubt he likes having them around, for better or worse. Depp’s Wonka absolutely disdains kids, and once the movie establishes that—from the moment Wonka meets the five who get to tour his factory—Depp can wear all the lipstick and face powder he wants and still never conjure the image of MJ. Wonka’s dislike for the little ones makes this a rather odd children’s movie (and book, since most of the movie stayed true to what I recall as the original story). It’s strange to see the central, eccentric character not mind a bit when children are transformed into giant blueberries or sucked up into a tube that transports liquid chocolate. Then again, the kids all around me loved those scenes most of all.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor