For the past several weeks now, my 4 year-old son and I have been listening nothing but the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, on the way to and from school and work each day in my car.
I’m pretty sure he and I have all the words to the songs pretty much memorized by now…
When it comes to musicals, they’re not really my thing. However, the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (not the Johnny Depp version) is the exception. It has remained, by default, one of my favorite movies since I first saw it 25 years ago when I was in 2nd grade.
This past weekend, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the DVD so I decided it was time to see what my son Jack thought of it. Not to mention, I was anxious to see it again; it had been at least 15 years for me; plus my wife had never seen it all the way through.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was rated G, back in 1971, when it was first released in theatres and that is the rating that the DVD upholds as well. It was given that raiting only 3 years after America’s movie rating system was set in place. In certain regards though, the ratings system was much more liberal back then.
I think if this version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were released today, it would at least be rated PG; possibly even PG-13.
Just for the boat ride scene alone. Enough said, right?
In addition to this part of the movie being extremely suspenseful, Willy Wonka screams about “by the fires of hell a glowing” as footage is shown of an actual chicken getting its head chopped off.
However, my son was completely unfazed by the boat ride scene. He actually seemed to like it!
For Jack, the “most inappropriate” part of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was actually some of the lyrics to one of the Oompa Loompas’ songs:
“What are you at getting terribly fat? What do you think will come of that?”
Right now we are currently teaching him how it’s not okay to say that someone is fat. So I imagine it seemed like a double standard to him when the Oompa Loompas used that phrase.
Other than that, there’s also the fact that all of the other children appear to die while in the chocolate factory. Granted, Willy Wonka (somewhat generically) assures Charlie at the very end of the movie that all the kids are okay.
It just depends on whether or not you want to believe a bipolar candyman who uses the labor of little people whom he supposedly rescued, then who turns over his candy factory to a young boy whose grandfather stayed in bed for 20 years who magically was able to sing and dance the moment his grandson found the last remaining golden ticket.
While there are some elements of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that may be a bit inappropriate for a 4 year-old, it’s still a movie that I ultimately had no concerns about exposing my son to.
In fact, most of the movie is perfectly appropriate for a 4 year-old. The chocolate, the absurdity, the songs, the pure imagination…
It was even better than I remembered it! Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a bit creepy at times, but still I think it’s less creepy than The Wizard of Oz.