Dahl brings the story right where Chocolate Factory ends. With Wonka’s elevator, I’m reminded of The Doctor without the time-travel bit, due to the elevator being able to inexplicably hold a bed with the other three grandparents still in it. I can also understand why people say this one is so hard to get through and is much darker than “factory”. Well I don’t believe it’s necessarily more serious, as the same amount, it’s how one goes into this second story thinking one will be following Charlie just as closely; not so, dear readers!
A close look at the President and the conspiracies his handlers get him to believe are gone through. For instance, the President is informed the group in the elevator are trying to bomb the President’s new Space Hotel, because he was the first to get one made; all a ruse, of course. It’s also quite goofy with its play on names and words, which is why the younger generation might find more amusement out of its bizarre story-line. Although it does take a turn for the “old-timey” racist sense of humor due to the common stereotypes. Once I began to understand the humor, it became much easier getting fascinated by where the story would lead. Wonka is as crazy as ever.
It has a fantastical element similar to The Little Prince, except this doesn’t have the same fairy tale quality the latter has. They even “run in to” an alien, which turns into a strange sort of invasion, for the one, was not alone. Once they escape by going back to the Chocolate Factory, Wonka puts it into his head to somehow get Charlie’s other grandparents out of bed. An introduction to another Wonka invention is shown which is the same idea as the fountain of youth, the “horrors” of the debacle being more gruesome if it included the updated medical knowledge society has accrued, and if it weren’t aimed at the kiddies. Which is also unfortunately why there isn’t a big pay off with one of the Oompa Loompa songs which would have been totally vulgar and hilarious if made today. When Charlie’s grandparents getting a taste of mischief with the fountain-of-youth-like Wonka product, it’s a reminder of the second elevator’s possible collision with the first, again.
Whilst dealing with one of the grandparents getting “subtracted”, Charlie and Wonka go to Minusland to fetch her. It’s almost a purgatory sort of situation where mathematics is a torture device. (Then there’s a scene near the end which reminds me of Charlie at school with his teacher and he’s helping him put in a chemistry experiment with drops of liquid.) It ends with a fizzle though when Charlie, Wonka and the gang get invitations to the White House and Charlie makes another obvious suggestion and closes with them all on their way to shop for clothes and then on to the White House! Funny and dated. For my review of, The Twits.