A Golden Ticket is All You Need
Andrew Pogue’s Blog
We all dreamt of going to a world made entirely out of candy and sweets when we were kids. Well this is exactly what Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory does. The film drops us in the incredible factory where the most amazing edible treats are created. Just how did our protagonist, Charlie, get this most gracious opportunity to visit such a special and extremely secret workshop that dishes out the world’s most beloved sweets? He found a golden ticket of course. With the ticket, Charlie has the chance to tour the factory with one family member and four other lucky winners. And with any great fantasy musical, they must sing about how great it is!
Charlie immediately runs home with his ticket in hand and tells his family of his finding, sparking the interest of his grandpa Joe. Bed ridden, Grandpa Joe miraculously gets out up and starts singing and dancing, screaming, “I’ve got a Golden Ticket!” over and over again. The song builds their characters by going on to show how happy the two of them are, being so poor they could barely afford a chocolate bar. The scene pulls hard on our emotions because up until now, nothing has gone well for this boy who seems to be trapped in poverty but never complains. Grandpa Joe even starts the song off with, “I never thought my life could be, anything but catastrophe. But suddenly I begin to see, a bit of good luck for thee.” Now, we get to see pure ecstasy from the two of them, prancing around their tiny house. The song is uplifting and gives them hope, not only to see the factory, but for a better life. They sing about how they had nothing good in their life, but now they have everything to live (and sing) for. The song also is familiar to any audience, even first time viewers, because the instrumental part is played during the opening credits, which gives the movie a playful feel from the start. It also makes the song tenderer and we remember it with great fondness.
Now our beloved Charlie and his grandpa have made their way into the factory, along with the other eight guests and their most interesting guide, Willie Wonka. A song sung by Mr. Wonka himself accompanies the first glimpse we get of the spectacular world. The song titled “Pure Imagination” fits perfectly in what is happening. We see the characters’ eyes open as wide as they possibly could as they try and take in all the beautiful sites the room has to offer. It also builds on Willie Wonka’s character, showing us how corky and strange he really is, with his strict walking, weird dancing, and cane smacking to make the guests feel uncomfortable but also anxious to explore such a unique and dreamy world he has created. At one point he even plucks a hair off the head of one of the guests. Even though Gene Wilder, the actor who plays Willie Wonka, is not a singer, many agree that it worked perfectly. Bruce Eder, a music critic, wrote “there is something beguiling about the non-sing Wilder working his way through those lyrics and the melody,”(Eder). The music, once again has an upbeat sound to it, with beautiful violin music smoothly playing. But the music also gives us a since of mystery when all sound stops besides a quick piano rift. The lyrics talk about how amazing imaginations are and how freeing they can be. All in all, the song perfectly fits all the colors and emotions that are released in this scene making us believe this could actually be real, taking us out of reality. The line “If you want to view paradise, just look around and view it,” shows how proud he is of his creation, and I think most people would agree, that room is pretty close to paradise.
Without these songs, this movie would be lost. They build the characters we see on screen and create the world of Willie Wonka. They pull on our emotions, causing us to feel what the characters are going through. “Beginning with the opening credits, music can serve as a kind of overture to suggest the mood or spirit of the film as a whole” (Giannetti 214). This quote is so true regarding this movie, because the music creates the mood we feel throughout the movie. We see the smiles on the actors’ faces, but with music, we can feel the emotions that visuals can’t always do. With all this being said, I give these songs both five pickles.