Johnny Depp & Gene Wilder in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

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Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder both played Willy Wonka in film adaptations of the Rahl Dahl book Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Each went above and beyond to truly encompass Wonka, and bring him to life in different but equally unforgettable ways. Wilder gives his audience a Wonka who is a master of his trade, a man whom is quite aware of his strength and maturity as a candy maker. Wilder’s humor is found in the irony of the real world, and mocking those who take themselves too seriously, or are unable to embrace their ridiculousness. Depp on the other hand approaches Wonka in a contrasting way, and makes him much younger, and less sure of himself than Wilder. One can see Depp’s Wonka struggle with his past, and try to remain a child by choosing to be a candy maker. Unlike Wilder’s Wonka, one often finds themselves laughing at Depp rather than with him. These subtle changes in demeanor and humor made by the two actors crucially change the films and the way in which the audience receive Willy Wonka and the journey through his factory. From the moment one sees Wilder, it is clear that he knows exactly what he is doing, and confident in himself and his abilities. Wilder makes his audiences see candy making as a highly skilled craft because he is so proud of his work at the factory. For example, when everyone comes into the chocolate room, Wilder is content to let everyone look on in awe, but he does not ask for, or need an outsider’s approval or compliments. He begins to sing on his own, and enter his own world, one where he relishes in his greatness, regardless of what his onlookers might say. His inner strength, and humble outward appearance makes Wilder a wonderful Wonka for children and adult viewers to trust and move with throughout the film. Furthermore, Wilder’s audience is illuminated by his insightful and very real humor. Wilder allows for the humor of the film to be found in the absurdity others, and their inability to simply lighten up and enjoy...
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