First off, as the beginning credits roll, we're given a virtual tour of chocolate bars being made. Before they are wrapped up by machines, a gloved hand (Willy Wonka-Johnny Depp) puts five golden tickets on five candy bars. Next they are packaged up and sent all over the world by trucks. As the trucks pass a street corner, the camera zooms in and we see Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) standing on the corner, watching the trucks go by. He crosses the street to his house, which is very shabby, old, and something no one would want to live in. A narrator informs us that Charlie is not smarter, nor faster, or wittier than any other child.
As he goes inside, we see that he lives with his mom (Helena Bonham Carter), dad, and four grandparents (who stay in bed all day.) They are all excited to see Charlie, and soon his father comes home. His mom asks his dad quietly if there is anything extra for the cabbage soup, but there isn't. Charlie's dad works at a toothpaste factory screwing the tops onto toothpaste tubes and doesn't get paid very much. He brings home deformed toothpaste caps for Charlie who is making a replica of Willy Wonka's factory using these toothpaste caps. Of the pile that his dad sets on the table, he finds the perfect one to complete his model, a head and hat for Willy Wonka.
This results in Grandpa Joe telling a story about how he used to work for Mr. Wonka (20 years ago- the film is set in present day). It used to be a small shop on a corner, (with a cute visual on chocolate birds), and then how Willy Wonka built the biggest chocolate factory in the world. It was staffed with hundreds of workers, and unfortunately, the other competitors were sending in spies to steal his recipes. Soon after, his candy competitors came out with the same ideas and products that had made Wonka famous. One day, Willy Wonka closed the factory, and all of the workers lost their jobs. One day, smoke started rising from the chimneys- but nobody had/has seen workers going in or out of the factory. The story ends and everyone goes to bed. Charlie goes "upstairs" (what should be the crawl space between the roof and a ceiling) where he can see the factory through a hole in the roof.
That night, messengers are seen leaving the factory and they begin to put up signs on street corners. The next morning, it shows what they say. Essentially, Willy Wonka is going to give 5 children a chance to tour his factory, and at the end, one of the children will win a special prize. Charlie comes home with the news later that day. Three of his grandparents are supportive/sympathetic for him, and one is kind of cynical about it. The cynical one, (his other Grandpa besides Grandpa Joe) talks about how the kids who will win are those who can afford a candy bar everyday. He says that the first winner will be a kid who is incredibly fat.
Sure enough, the next day Augustus Gloop, the fat kid, finds a golden ticket. At the same time he is eating a candy bar, and Charlie's family agrees that the kid is repulsive. The next day Veruca Salt is given her golden ticket. Her father, who runs a nut plant, has his workers shell chocolate bars instead of nuts. It's obvious that she is a spoiled brat, for after receiving the ticket she asks for another pony. The next to find the ticket is Violet Beauregard, the gum chewer. It introduces her by showing her kick the crap out of martial arts students. In her house there are hundreds of trophies that she's won. She and her mom are very competitive. Next, Mike Teavee finds a ticket. He's playing a violent video game as the press tries to interview him. He says he only had to buy one candy bar because he figured out where it was going to be through mathematics.
Through this, we see Charlie being bummed that the number of tickets left are few. His parents give him his present (a chocolate bar) a day before his birthday, and they are all excited because it could have a golden ticket. He opens it up, but to his dismay, there is no golden ticket. Also, Charlie's dad loses his job at the toothpaste factory to a machine. Now money is really tight.
One day, Grandpa Joe gives Charlie money for a chocolate bar, but it still doesn't have a golden ticket. The next day, Charlie is standing outside the gates of the factory when two men walk by, and he hears them discussing a Russian kid who had found the last golden ticket. Charlie, obviously dismayed, turns and heads home. As he turns a corner though, he spots money sticking out of the snow. He grabs it and runs into a store to buy some chocolate.
As he begins to open the candy, a woman standing next to him comments on "the nerve of some people" and how the Russian ticket was a fake. Charlie opens his chocolate and finds a golden ticket. People in the store offer him money, but the shopkeeper tells him to run straight home with it.
He comes home and shows everybody the ticket. Grandpa Joe is the most excited about going and he's allowed to if he feels alright. But Charlie doesn't want to go; some people offered him a lot of money and he knows that his family needs the money. His other grandpa talks him into going.
The next day, all the children and parents are outside the factory. At ten o'clock, the gates open and they all run in. Wonka's voice, on a loudspeaker, tells them to come forward. They come up to the steps of the factory, and the doors slide back, revealing red curtains. These part and dolls sing about Willy Wonka. (It's the same song as in the Teaser Trailer). Everything is going fine, except when they sing "Willy Wonka here he is" a red chair pops up but he's not there. Then everything starts to malfunction, and the dolls melt, catch on fire, etc. Pretty soon, we're staring at a silent dolls that are on fire. Suddenly Wonka, who is now standing next to Mr. Salt, claps his hands and declares that is was wonderful. Everyone then moves into the factory.
The party gets rid of coats and hats as they introduce themselves to Wonka, who really doesn't care about the kids. He also has a problem with parents and family in terms of saying the words. Throughout the movie, we see flashbacks of his dad and of him. As a dentist, his dad never let him have candy. He also had to wear this really awkward contraption on his head for his braces. But, it sorta paid off in the end, as we can see how perfect his teeth are. Wonka wants to be a chocolatier when he grows up, to the huge dismay of his father.
The first room that they visit is the chocolate room. Wonka talks about how everything in the room is eatable, and about his chocolate waterfall, and there is a funny reference to cannibalism. As the group tries everything they notice the oompa-loompa's. They all look alike (played by Deep Roy), and Wonka talks about how they came to work for him. He went to Loompa Land and wanted the Oompa Loompa's to work for him. It worked well, as they loved cocoa beans (the stuff that chocolate is made from), they could do the work, being paid in cocoa beans, Wonka's secrets would be kept and Wonka's chocolate would be made.
Next, Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river where he is sucked up by a machine. The Oompa Loompa's sing a song (the words are those from the book). And thus, Mrs. Gloop and Augustus are goners. A boat comes along and the rest of the party gets in. Wonka dips a ladle into the river and pulls chocolate up, giving it to Charlie and Grandpa Joe because they look so skinny. As they travel down the river, they pass various chambers- like toffee cream, whipped cream, and even hair cream. They stop at the inventing room.
In the inventing room, we see the everlasting gobstoppers and hair toffee (which still needs some work). Wonka shows everyone his machine that makes the three-course dinner and dessert gum. Violet, to the protests of Grandpa Joe and Wonka, chews the gum and when she gets to the dessert, she starts turning violet/blue. She soon fills up with juice (perhaps a bit too much CGI) and is serenaded by the Oompa Loompa's (all the songs are from the book). Wonka has the Oompa Loompa's roll her on the boat in order to take her to the juicing room. Charlie, Grandpa Joe, Wonka, Veruca and her dad, and Mike Teavee and his dad are left.
They move onto the Nut Room; Mr. Salt tries to give Wonka his card, who upon receiving it, throws it behind him. In the nut room, trained squirrels are opening walnuts. Good ones get passed on, bad ones are thrown down the garbage chute. Veruca wants a trained squirrel though Wonka tells her she can't have one. Veruca climbs through the bars and goes after a squirrel. She is attacked by them and held down while one tests to see if she is a good or bad nut. She is a bad nut, obviously, and is dragged, by the squirrels, over to the garbage chute where she falls in. Mr. Salt watching helplessly as Wonka tries to find the key to get in. Mr. Salt goes in, amidst the song of the Oompa Loompas who toss a few more rotten things in. Mr. Salt, as he peers into the chute, is knocked in by a squirrel.
Wonka decides to take them on the tour by using the Great Glass Elevator. Wonka presses a button and they go to a bunch of different places that have hilarious parts to them. Mike Teavee disses chocolate (which leads a flashback that I've explained above) but Charlie gives a sentimental line about candy. Mike Teavee is allowed to choose a room and chooses the Television Room. To music from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Wonka shows how he is transporting Chocolate bars through waves, etc. This leads to Mike asking about transporting people, and indeed, transports himself. He shows up about 5 inches tall on the screen.
As the Oompa Loompas take Mike Teavee and his dad away to the Taffy Stretching room, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and Wonka head back to the Great Glass Elevator. Wonka turns to see who's left and is happy to find the Charlie is the only one left. They get into the elevator and Wonka pushes a button called "Up and Out" and they do just that. As they fall back to earth, Wonka pushes a button that brings down engines/rocket boosters so they don't hit the ground. We see the other kids leaving the factory. Augustus is still covered in chocolate, Violet is now really flexible ( not the best CGI) but is still blue, Veruca and Mr. Salt are covered in garbage, and Mike is really tall, but only an inch wide.
Wonka takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe home, crashing through the roof. Wonka tours their home, casually informing them that Charlie just won the factory. The idea came to him the day he found a gray hair on his head during a hair cut. The only problem though is that Charlie would never get to see his family again. Charlie, who loves his family more than anything, refuses to go- to an amazed Wonka, who leaves to go back to his factory.
Things begin to pick up for Charlie and his family. His father gets a new job as a mechanic for the machines that replaced him. He earns more money so they can fix their house and they have more to eat at night. At the same time, we see a troubled Wonka talking to his psychologist. His candy sales have slumped a little, and he realizes that he feels terrible, and thus he is making terrible candy.
We cut to Charlie shining a man's shoes, and a man is talking about Wonka and his chocolate. The man's face is hidden by his newspaper, but the voice is clearly Wonka's. He asks Charlie about Wonka, who replies that he thought he was great, but that he really wasn't. Wonka snaps back, revealing that its him as gets rid of the paper. They talk and Charlie convinces him to go see his family- Wonka's father. They get into the Great Glass Elevator, and fly to the house.
It is the same as how he remembers it- with a sign and all. Its the only house standing in the middle of nowhere it seems. Wonka's father opens the door, asking if they have an appointment. Although they don't, Charlie says that Wonka is just overdue. As his father (who doesn't recognize him at first) examines his teeth, Charlie looks at a bunch of newspaper clippings framed on the wall, and a scrapbook of news clippings. They are all about Wonka and his Chocolate Factory. Wilbur Wonka (the dad/dentist) can find no bad things about the teeth- and comments that he has never seen such perfect teeth...since......Willy. They share an awkward hug and it's interesting that they are both wearing gloves.
It nears the end of the movie, and we see at the end The family, (grandparents, parents) getting ready for dinner. Charlie and Wonka come in, apologizing about their lateness. (Through the window we see that it is snowing outside.) They are discussing candy kites, and Mrs. Bucket chides them about discussing business at dinner. They begin to eat as the camera pulls away, and the narrators voice talks about how lucky Charlie really is and how he only accepted the factory on one condition.
We see that the house, the same one that Charlie's grown-up in, etc., is no longer outside in the city, but in the Chocolate Room. There are huge cauldrons above the house that are swinging, causing white particles (like coconut or something like that) onto the house and the rest of the room.
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