July 15, 2005
Looking for the Candy, Finding a Back Story
By A. O. SCOTT
From the outside, Willy Wonka's factory is a grim, imposing industrial edifice towering over rows of red-brick shops and houses - something out of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" planted in the landscape of Charles Dickens's "Hard Times."
It is not ugly, exactly - by now we are accustomed to seeing grandeur in this kind of architecture - but it is nonetheless forbidding. The interior, of course, is another story. This factory does not only turn out irresistible confections. As imagined by Tim Burton and his production designer, Alex McDowell, Wonka's candyworks is itself such a confection, a place of extravagant innovation and wild indulgence where the ordinary principles of physics, chemistry and human behavior do not apply.
If the laws of physics don't apply to the inside of Wonka's chocolate factory, could it be that the confectioner had access to Gallifreyan technology?
It certainly sounds as if a TARDIS is involved, in much the same way that a TARDIS was used for Professor Chronotis' rooms at St. Cedd's College. (And in the creation of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment building.....)
Where exactly did Wonka get those Oompa-Loompas? Oh sure, he says they come from "Loompa-Land", but I don't think those little freaks are from anywhere on Earth. I think it's more likely that he travelled to their home planet using a TARDIS.
And who but a Time Lord would really have the need for an Ever-Lasting Gobstopper?
See, for all I know, Willy Wonka could be a Time Lord himself! I mean, look at the way he dresses! And if we condensed his name to "Williwonka", it's sounds just as Gallifreyan as Runcible or Romanadvortlundir.
Beside, we know the "Cineverse" has its own version of 'Doctor Who', thanks to the two movies starring Peter Cushing.
Then again, this version of the Roald Dahl "classic" has created a back-story for Willy Wonka to explain away* his persona. I think the story - as disturbing as I've always found it to be - works better if Wonka remains a man of mystery. And that back-story doesn't fit the Gallifreyan otherworld-view.
That back-story doesn't exist in the first movie, and that movie's portrayal of Willy Wonka wouldn't be too outrageous an incarnation for the cinematic Doctor.
The TV Universe had Colin Baker as one of the Doctors, so could that Wonka be any... wilder?
I refuse to apologize for that.
*One doesn't "splain away" anything outside the TV Universe!