Is Willy Wonka a villain?
He is incredibly and hilariously petty though
After being told about the mysterious Willy Wonka and introduced to him, we get his first comeback of many to Veruca(played by Julia Winter). This sets the tone of his attitude to everyone especially the children, with the exception of Charlie (played by Freddie Highmore), for the remainder of the movie. This was the beginning of many red flags that were acknowledged as odd but not dangerous.
Another is the moment he speaks to Mrs.Gloop (played by Franziska Troegner) that asks what would become of her son, Augustus (played by Philip Wiegratz)after being sucked up the pipe. His response is he would never allow Augustus-flavored-chocolate-coated Gloop to be sold all over the world because the TASTE would be terrible and NO ONE WOULD BUY IT hahaha hahaha.
This is the first proper indication that Willy Wonka is in fact a terrible person. The lashing out and lack of concern could be concluded to having a bad day, feeling stressed or whatever reason. However, this response to a worried mother indirectly stating his chocolate is more important than this boy’s life is a great big RED FLAG for everyone else that can hear this. Then, he tells one of the Oompa Loompa’s(played by Deep Roy) to “take a long stick and start poking around in the big chocolate mixing barrel” to find him. Is there a less demeaning way to find him? They could strain the chocolate and Augustus could get up because they won’t use that batch either way.
Mr. Salt (played by James Fox), the guardians, and children question the Oompa Loompas’ musical number about Augustus claiming it seemed rehearsed and aware of what was going to happen while wondering why Augustus’ name fits in the song that well. To which Willy says “poppycock”-the swear-sounding version of ‘nonsense’ and that the Oompa Loompas had improvised the song to silence their claims, as he does severally.
This moment is shared with the start of Willy’s expressed hate towards Mike(played by Jordan Fry) after he previously called him a “little devil”. Mike disproves Willy’s claim of his improvisation and the Augustus song being the same to which Willy silenced by telling him not to mumble because he can’t understand anything he’s saying.
I noticed (honestly, you can’t miss it)that Willy frequently has sinister glares. Is this just how he looks? Is he a villain? Because he looks elegant and regal enough to be a villain.
If there was a counter for the glares, then:
- at the pipe coming towards Augustus,
- If there was a counter for the glares, then:
- at the pipe coming towards Augustus,
- at Mr. Salt on the field,
- at the stopping boat,
- when in the boat,
- when the boat slowed down the first time from the tunnel ride,
- when speaking to Veruca about the whipped cream room,
- after he told Mrs.Beauregarde (played by Missi Pyle) what would happen to her daughter,
- when he said “to the incinerator” in the nut sorting room,
- when he opened the door for Mr.Salt to go after his daughter,
- when he told Mike to go ahead in picking a room,
- and when he said taffy puller again.
I feel he may have believed everything that happened to each child was well-deserved and the possible outcome of their brief televised character portrayals.
Knowing that Augustus loves candy and chocolates, his warning to the children to calm down and not get over-excited coupled with his tone and facial expression seemed as if he was aware of something. Also, we get a foreshadowing of the pipe that sucks up the chocolate which would also suck up Augustus later.
His look at the pipe heading towards Augustus struggling in the chocolate river was menacing. He didn’t say anything which could imply that Augustus deserved to be eliminated or get his comeuppance.
In the song about Augustus, the lyrics say “but don’t, dear children, be alarmed. Augustus Gloop will not be harmed” to avoid any claims before they admitted he would “be altered quite a bit” as “Slowly wheels go round and round And cogs begin to grind and pound”.
Then, they followed it by saying “This greedy brute, this louse who’s here” to highlight his love of candy that excited him as he left the chocolate bar he brought to eat from the bountiful field. However, the song ended by saying “For who can hate or bear a grudge, Against a luscious square of fudge?”, therefore justifying his love of sweets.
Violet (played by AnnaSophia Robb)insisted she could handle chewing the experimental bubblegum and became a living blueberry. She was taken to the juicing room where the Oompa Loompas’ were to squeeze her “like a pimple”. When Veruca asked Willy if she would be a blueberry forever, he said “No. Maybe. I don’t know…But that’s what you get from chewing gum all day. It’s just disgusting”. Her song states “This dreadful girl, she sees no wrong chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, all day long” and they intend to “save miss Violet Beauregarde” from this. Another child getting their comeuppance.
Veruca decided she could get the squirrel she wanted and was held down as the people did in Gulliver’s travel. It seemed as though Willy hesitated to find the key to the gate when her dad wanted to help her. This aided Veruca’s elimination. He did try but it felt like he was intentionally stalling with the big bunch of keys. Before she was thrown down the garbage chute(that leads to the incinerator), he had said “Oh, my goodness. She is a bad nut, after all.” when the squirrels knocked on her forehead. Another comeuppance ladies and gentlemen, another comeuppance.
With fear in the air, Willy felt the need to state, “But don’t worry. We only light it on Tuesdays.” said Willy Wonka FULLY AWARE THAT THIS DAY IS A TUESDAY. This is confirmed by Willy’s irritated face when Mike says that day is a Tuesday. So she deserved it because she is “such a brat” as her song states. Also, they don’t forget to throw her dad and a framed picture of her mum through the chute because “the guilty ones now this is sad are dear old mum and loving dad”.
Mike decided to deviate from the plan and used the ‘teleporter’ after insulting Willy. As Mike was insulting, Willy had a look at the Oompa Loompa sitting beside him which could be identified in many words such as “I can’t STAND this kid” but he turns back to the visitors with a slight smile. Mike is so awful that he didn’t listen to his dad that told him to calm down and unnecessarily knocks down two Oompa Loompas while trying to get to the machine.
On his way, Willy says “Hey, little boy…Don’t push my button.”. This is a really good statement because it could be used in two ways for himself and for the actual button-warning him of the repercussions of ‘transporting’ and telling him not to piss him off any more than he already has.
He HATES this child which is confirmed by Willy’s slight smile as the machine begins and he calmed down. Knowing there are possible effects, he said “I sure hope no part of him gets left behind.” and asked Mr. Teavee (played by Adam Godley) “If you had to choose only one half of your son, which one would it be?”.
The lyrics of Mike’s song states “Regarding little Mike Teavee. We very much regret that we, Shall simply have to wait and see, If we can get him back to shape, but if we can’t…It serves him right.”. He is the last child getting their comeuppance and the song boldly says serves him right.
Willy found most of these amusing with the enjoyable songs by Danny Elfman being performed. The musical numbers were really good and melodic albeit judgemental which is confirmed by Willy’s remarks such as “Bravo! Well done!” and his clapping.
The Oompa Loompas were always on time for their performances with each song detailing the ill manners of the children and parents. What is your favourite of the four songs? Mine is the Violet Beauregarde song. I recall Willy previously saying that they were mischievous and always making jokes, I wonder if that was a foreshadowing of the songs.
All these, represent his disapproval of children or at least children he deems awful and annoying. We know there is a difference because he doesn’t snap or react poorly to Charlie, unlike the others.
A hilariously childish example of this is his argument in the boat with the other children. Charlie and the guardians don’t chime in, in the Willy Wonka versus the rotten kids’ war. After Veruca cut him short, in irritation he tightened his gloved fist before he called them short. He looked for something to piss them off too. Their answer of still being children is not enough justification for Willy as he says that’s not an excuse. When questioned about his height as a kid assuming he was probably short too, he said he was never as short as them stating he remembered putting a hat on top of his head which they could never reach with their “short little arms”.
It’s quite questionable or alarming that each child and guardian kept on with the tour knowing someone was recently eliminated and there’s a possibility they could be next. There were several red flags to leave his factory and presence but after all the hard work to find the golden tickets and the promising prize, I guess you can understand their perseverance. Also, maybe some of them thought the children deserved what they got and did not expect it for themselves or their children. There was a face Veruca made when Violet started changing colour, it was a justifying expression that could indicate she thought Violet deserved it. This was very telling. From the point of Augustus Gloop’s elimination, I believe the others should have been a little scared for their safety which is less than assured here. Being in proximity to this potentially harmful man should probably discourage people which is why I liked the moment Mr. Salt held his daughter after Willy returned from another flashback.
This was originally written in my “Johnny Depp’s ICONIC Willy Wonka” write-up.