Epic Movie (2007) (part 3 of 11)

Cut to a fairly impressive exterior shot of a nineteenth-century Dickensian factory. It’s belching smoke from an assortment of imposing and oddly-shaped smokestacks, as well as from several windows [?]. There’s a huge stylized W adorning the side of the factory. I have to hand it to whichever person photoshopped this picture. It honestly looks good, especially compared to the war crime the art department is going to commit in less than one minute.

Our four orphans stand before the steps of the factory. They’re dressed a little like some of the characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, at least if you squint really hard. Edward is Charlie. Lucy is wearing the robin’s egg tracksuit thing that Violet wore. Kal Penn is Augustus Gloop, with a red and white striped turtleneck and jeans rolled up to reveal his rocking ankles. Susan is in the most godforsaken pink babydoll dress, which is kind of reminiscent of Veruca Salt. Kind of, but not much.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

Hey, I found Waldo!

Peter looks happily at the others. They each regard him with something akin to the face a high school cheerleader might make if she got asked out by the janitor. Seltzer and Friedberg actually take time to film a separate reaction shot for each one of them. And no, none of these shots are funny, just in case that thought had wandered, unbidden, into your mind.

There’s also no crowd outside the factory. There are no cameras. There doesn’t even seem to be a street with passersby. So, once again, I have to question Willy Wonka’s business sense. Why wouldn’t he publicize this? It’s the perfect opportunity to define the Wonka brand, and showcase what makes his products unique in an already saturated market. I submit that my case against the business practices of one Mr. Wonka is complete. Harvard should think very carefully before including this movie in their MBA curriculum. They should also think carefully before including that Jennifer Garner movie where they proved thirteen year olds can run fashion magazines.

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Our group approaches large doors with a much plainer W on them, which doesn’t match the W on the building. Nobody in the art department was on speaking terms, I guess. The doors slide open to reveal Willy Wonka.

Here, I have three points to make. First, Wonka’s outfit looks fantastic. It’s remarkably close to Johnny Depp’s costume in the real movie. Second, Wonka is played by Crispin Glover. Third, I don’t think Crispin knows this is a comedy. I think he believes he’s in a Tim Burton movie.

Actually, he may even think he’s really Willy Wonka.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

Also, this isn’t costuming. It’s just what Crispin wore to the set that day.

And I just realized something odd. See if you follow me here: Johnny Depp’s character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is being played by Crispin Glover in a Friedberg/Seltzer movie. Crispin Glover’s character in Charlie’s Angels was played by Chris Elliott in a Friedberg/Seltzer movie. So, when you need an actor to spoof another actor, this seems to be the order: Johnny Depp, then Crispin Glover, then Chris Elliott. I wonder who’s next. A homeless guy, probably.

Crispin invites the orphans in, and they follow him with the type of childlike glee that just looks inane when portrayed by thirty year olds. The music swells in a calliope of wonderment. Wonka twirls, arms outstretched, and leads them into what in the real movie would have been the mixing room. Unfortunately, words cannot express how god-awful the place looks here.

Imagine, if you will, a high school production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And then immediately throw that mental image away, because you’re giving them too much credit. Imagine a grade school production. Imagine that little skit they put on at the end of the Special Olympics. It’s just that bad.

A cadre of dwarves (of various types) tend to the grounds. They’re wearing, and it pains me to type this, pink satin shirts, and shorts over red and white striped long johns. It’s such a pathetic recreation of the 2005 movie that I feel a little bad for the costumer. He was obviously working hard despite being in the middle of suffering a massive right-sided stroke.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

Close your eyes… make a wish… that you were watching a different movie.

I would do anything not to have to describe what’s about to happen next. But I’m the one who picked this movie, so it seems I have little choice but to press ahead.

Kal Penn exclaims, “A chocolate river!” He runs over to kneel down and drink from the… well, it’s only about a foot wide, so I refuse to call it a “river”. Whatever it is, Penn laps it all up, getting his hands and face covered in brown goop. He laughingly proclaims, “Chocolate!”

Wonka shrugs and informs us that it’s not chocolate, but rather their sewage line. Penn is disgusted and spits out the human waste. You see, in this universe, people cannot tell the difference between chocolate and shit, even by taste. That’s what we’re dealing with. That’s the movie I chose to recap.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

Chocolate river or open sewer? Even Giant Kal Penn can’t tell.

There’s a disturbing jump cut here where Wonka gathers the “children” around him. Penn is back by Wonka’s side, having instantly transported over there, I guess. His face is also completely clean. I can only conclude the transporter recognized the feces, and removed it from the pattern buffer. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can also draw the conclusion that the movie’s two directors are buffoons.

Wonka now reveals the reason his candy tastes so special. I’m assuming that by “special” he means “like crap”. The reason is that his candy contains “real human parts”. So, it’s time to pull on your safety goggles, because you’re about to stare into the white hot crucible of satire. Wonka Bars are people. People!

Okay, let’s ignore the idea of whether adding bits of people to any food would actually improve the flavor, as is claimed here. And let’s not wonder just how much candy Wonka can make by killing people four at a time. Let’s just skip ahead to the ultimate question: Is this funny? Well, the answer is no. No, it’s not.

Our heroes decide to make a break for it. Wonka pulls a big, yellow lever and the doors slam shut. Susan yells, “Let us out, freak!” Lucy repeats Susan’s line: “Let us out, freak!” Believe it or not, but this will be a consistent running gag for the rest of the movie, with Lucy repeating something Susan just said. This has the immediate effect of annoying both Susan and me simultaneously, and also reminding me of the most bizarre moment from Mitchell.

There’s no easy way to break the news regarding what’s about to happen. I’ll just give it to you straight, and hope you appreciate my honesty. The reluctance of our main characters to be killed leads us into… a hip hop video.

There’s a heavy baseline. The little people with big dreams happily march over and carry the orphans off into the mixing room. The lyrics start, and initially, I thought I’d have to watch the subtitles frame-by-frame to fully transcribe the scathingly funny lyrics. But they saved me the trouble. It’s Stacy Ferguson (with will.i.am) singing “Fergalicious” from her album The Dutchess. Why? Because the lyrics occasionally refer to somebody being delicious, and this scene is about trying to kill and eat people. See? The lyrics match the action in an exceptionally haphazard and lazy way! And that’s exactly what I look for in my motion picture entertainment!

I looked it up, and it appears the filmmakers gave Fergie and her people around $25,000 for the use of the song. I’m actually pretty happy about this, because that’s $25,000 the directors didn’t spend on weed. I’m also happy because it gives me something to think about rather than try to find a logical explanation for the following images on the screen:

  1. An Oompa Loompa hits Kal Penn in the crotch with a mallet. Two whole walnuts roll down his pant leg and into a tray of chocolate bars.
  2. While on an operating table, Willy pulls Lucy’s still-beating heart out of her chest. He tosses it into a heart-shaped candy box.
  3. In a dentist chair, Willy pulls out one of Peter’s teeth. He deposits it into a box of caramel corn. An Oompa-Midget helpfully points out the label on the box that says it contains a “surprise”.
  4. Willy roundhouse kicks Susan. This causes her head to fly off [!] and fall into a vat of yellow goop. He then pulls her head out and places it in a box marked “sour yellow head jumbo”.
  5. Willy advances on all four orphans (Susan somehow has her head back) with a huge “W” branding iron.
  6. Somewhere off-screen, Fergie and will.i.am spend $25,000 on hair extensions.

There’s honestly not enough space in this recap (or in all of the internets, for that matter) for me to detail everything wrong with this scene. I’d like to be there, though, when the person eating the caramel corn pulls out a human tooth. Surprise! For Wonka’s sake, I sincerely hope he doesn’t have shareholders.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

“I’m strong, you know. I’m strong.”

Jordon Davis

B.A. Political Science, SUNY Albany - 1991
Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia - 1993
Juris Doctorate, Emory University - 1996

State of Georgia - 1996
State of New York - 1997

Fields Medal (with Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky) - 1998

Follow Jordon at @LossLeader on Twitter.

Multi-Part Article: Epic Movie (2007)

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