Thursday, August 14, 2008

Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder?

Who makes a better Willy Wonka? I looked at both movie versions along with the book (which I just read for the first time, at least as far as I remember) in today's Books on Screen column at 5 Minutes for Books. Everyone has an opinion, so weigh in with yours over on that post.

I alluded to this in that post, but the more I think about it, the more amazing it is to me: Roald Dahl's book of children's vices is almost prophetic.

The book was published in 1964. He gave us the stereotypical bad child: overly competitive and obnoxious (signified by Violet Beauregard's gum-chewing), gluttonous and lacking self-control, bratty, and TV-addicted. In 1964, how many kids were obsessed with TV (it wasn't even on all day long), or truly overweight and gluttonous, or even bratty and spoiled? But in the late 70s and 80s through today -- absolutely.

The more recent movie put a little more blame on the parents for creating the children, as did the book originally. But from what I understand, the overindulgence of children didn't really begin until the 70's when our moms were guilty for going back to work and intensified in the 80's when "quality time" replaced real parenting.

Kudos to Roald Dahl. I haven't read any more of his books either, so are there any others that will amaze me?


Beck said...

I like "Fabulous Mr. Fox" and "The Witches" a lot. But Roald Dahl - as terrific a writer as he was - really seemed to cordially loathe children, and I haven't yet introduced my own children to him.

TheAngelForever said...

If you want a Willy Wonka like Dahl's book - Depp all the way. The character was not a happy-go-lucky guy he was more dark and mysterious and had a troubled childhood.

However, if you want the more kid friendly one that generations will love, Wilder it is!

Have a fabulous weekend.

Jen E said...

I haven't read much of his works but I think you'd like Matilda - I'm guessing you've seen the movie which is brilliant, but you know the books are almost always brilliant.

Someday I want to read all his books...

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I absolutely LOVE Matilda. That is a great story. And Johnny Depp all the way- and I did hear that they did their best to capture the true Willy Wonka in that version, which makes me appreciate it even more.


Debateur said...

I loved James and the Giant Peach. Love your graphics by the way.

heather said...

That's a hard question for me. I never read the book, so I have no way to compare the trueness of the movie to the book.
I grew up on Gene Wilder.
But I love Johnny Depp.
Am I allowed to say that both brought out a different aspect to the story?
No, I honestly think I prefer Gene Wilder.
There, I said it.

Kathleen Marie said...

We are big Dahl fans here. My girls loved Matilda, the Witches and all love James and the Giant Peach and The BFG and my older kids like the Wilder version of CCF but they grew up with it. My youngest (11 yrs younger than my eldest) likes the Depp version. Personally it is not my favorite of Dahl's books and pretty much all his books have a good lesson for parents and kids. One of the books I like the best is The Vicar of Nibbleswicke.

Have a great day!

Lisa said...

I havent read the book since I was 6th grade, but I remember it fondly. Although I will always love the Willy WOnka with Gene Wilder, the Johnny Depp version was way better.

Butterfly Kisses said...

Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid. I loved all of his books. :-)