Children’s Picks: Movies or Books

I chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as my movie based on a famous children’s novella because I found the characterization of Willy Wonka and the overall plot shocking. The two Willy Wonkas, one in the book and one in the movie, are starkly different.  

In the novella, Willy Wonka is described as more of a positive and silly character like a clown. In contrast, the movie portrays him as more of a mysterious guy with a dark background. When I first saw the movie, as a child, I was scared of the young Willy Wonka. For example, when he was wearing enormous metal braces and smiling eccentrically, I felt threatened instead of thinking he has a bizarre personality. This is because Roald Dahl, the author, characterized Willy Wonka to be more appealing to children while Tim Burton, the movie director, put more nuance to the character because he was catering the movie to a wider audience, including adults.

However, I believe that the movie was also appealing to children because the visualizations of what was written in the novella was expressed more in detail and more realistically and aesthetically. For instance, the Golden Ticket was beautifully coated with gold in the movie as the book suggested, and the Oompa-Loompas fit the book’s description perfectly by their tiny appearances. Furthermore, the glass elevator was the most clean, transparent elevator I have ever seen in my life. These visual aspects attract children more than the book because they can experience more sensory input. Although children may have different tastes, I believe both media have their charms.

By: Sooyoung Seo