Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – the Power of Pure Imagination

One of our favorite movies is coming back to theatres. To celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the birth of author Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will be shown in movie theatres on Sunday, June 26, at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, and again on Wednesday, June 29 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. It includes specially produced commentary by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. The showing is distributed by Fathom Events.

The movie is based on Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It concerns Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives with his parents and his bedridden grandparents. He hears about a promotion at the Willy Wonka chocolate factory: five Wonka bars in the world will include golden tickets, entitling the holder to a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Four tickets are found, and then a fifth one is reported to be found in Paraguay. Charlie is disappointed. But the fifth ticket turns out to be a forgery.

One day, Charlie finds some money on his way home from school. He buys a Wonka bar and another for his Grandpa Joe. One of them has a golden ticket! He and a family member are going to get to tour the Wonka chocolate factory! The golden ticket causes Grandpa Joe to rise from his bed and walk. He is going to accompany Charlie on the tour.

The song that he sings, “Golden Ticket” (part of a brilliant score by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse), is a wonderful prosperity song.

He sings:

I never dreamed that I would climb over the moon in ecstasy
But nevertheless, it’s there that I’m shortly about to be
‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket
I’ve got a golden chance to make my way
And with a golden ticket, it’s a golden day

Grandpa Joe and Charlie join the other families on the tour. Each family has been approached by Wonka’s archrival, Mr. Slugworth, asking them to give him the secret of Wonka’s newest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.

During the tour, various children meet various unusual fates. Notably, watch the humorous but pointed exit of the spoiled Veruca Salt who sings the song “I Want It Now!” The lines, “Don’t care how/I want it now” sum up her attitude.

Two other songs are notable from a metaphysical point of view: the well-known “Candy Man” and the theme song of the movie, “Pure Imagination” (which has been covered by singers such as Jackie Evancho, the “Glee” cast, and others).

Early on in the movie, Bill, the candy store owner, sings “Candy Man” as kids are buying Wonka bars. He sings:

Who can take a sunrise, Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two?
The candy man, The candy man can
The candy man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

The song ends with this line:

And the world tastes good cause the candy man thinks it should.

“Pure Imagination” is the song Wonka sings as the tour of his chocolate factory is beginning. It is his introduction to the tour, inviting the children and their chaperones into his world. According to Wonka,

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with Pure Imagination
Living there, You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

What is the takeaway from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, other than a very good time?

First, the power of pure imagination. Wonka’s world is filled with miraculous things like a chocolate river. Miracles are all around. Do we notice? Imagination can help us see the miraculous and bring it forth. It is the thing that truly brings us freedom. But we have to let it flow. It takes what Walt Disney used to call “Imagineering”. Perhaps it can even cause the bedridden to “take up his bed and walk.” Do we believe it?

Second, we see the power of putting energy into what we want. Charlie is determined to get a golden ticket and he gets one, simply (it seems) on the power of knowing that he will. This is what we do in spiritual mind treatment. We state our desired effect or state of being with energy and allow God to work as and through us to achieve what we focus on. We see what happens when we insist on having it right away. God works in God’s time, and that isn’t always the time frame that we have in mind. But if we know that it is done, if we let God do it, what is ours comes to us. If not, well, hopefully we don’t end up like Veruca Salt.

Finally, Willy Wonka reminds us, as Fathom’s promotional page says, of “the sweetest secret of all: a generous, loving heart.”

This is a must-see movie. It’s a lot of fun, and it will open your heart and inspire you to see the miracles and prosperity all around you – a very worthy way to enjoy a couple of hours. And you’ll likely head home singing.