Who Is the Most Negligent Wonka?

ELI5: Negligence

There’s a war between fans of the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and fans of the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fans of the 2005 film assert that the cinematography of the old film just cannot compare with the cinematic brilliance of the 2005 movie. On the other side, fans of the 1971 film argue—and rightly so, by the way—that Johnny Depp’s Wonka is a sardonic misanthrope who makes a rotten candyman, since candymen should be jolly and eccentric. Personal injury attorneys view the war between the films quite differently than the rest of society. We aren’t interested in which film was better, we want to know which Wonka was more negligent.


In the case of Augustus Gloop, both Wonkas were negligent. Neither the 1971 Wonka, nor the 2005 Wonka had a fence around the chocolate river, or anything else preventing Augustus Gloop from going into the river. Also, neither Wonka jumps in to save Augustus Gloop. The scenes are pretty similar between the 2005 film and the 1971 film. One key difference that may make Gene Wilder more negligent is when he runs up behind Augustus Gloop while he’s eating chocolate from the river. It actually appears that Augustus was startled by Mr. Wonka and thus fell into the river. In the case of Augustus Gloop, the 1971 Wonka may have been more negligent.


Though there’s some debate over who was more negligent in the case of Augustus Gloop, there’s a clear winner in the negligence competition when it comes to Violet Beauregarde. Not only does the 1971 Wonka allow Mike to eat exploding candy, but he also has a much greater chance of stopping Violet from eating the gum. In fact, she walks off with the gum and expresses her intent to eat the gum. In sarcastic and muted tones, Wonka tells her not to eat the gum. In the 2005 film, Wonka earnestly tries to dissuade Violet from eating the gum. The 2005 Wonka also doesn’t have as great of a chance at stopping Violet. In this case, again, Gene Wilder is the more negligent Wonka.


In the case of Veruca Salt, the 2005 Wonka is truly the more negligent Wonka. In the 1971 film, Veruca Salt dances around the room with the golden geese and sings a musical number about how she wants one of those geese now. But she doesn’t give Wonka much warning before stepping on the scale that determines whether the egg is good or bad. In the 2005 Wonka, Veruca makes her intent to get one of Wonka’s squirrels known. She climbs into a potentially dangerous area and Wonka doesn’t attempt to save her until she’s actually being attacked by squirrels. And, Wonka knew, or reasonably should have known, that Veruca was entering a dangerous area. Also, Wonka takes forever to find the key to unlock the fence. In fact, by the time he finds the key, Veruca is already in the garbage disposal. Furthermore, when Wonka does find the key, it’s implied that he knew which one it was all along.


In the 1971 film, Gene Wilder’s Wonka is more negligent when it comes to Mike Teavee. In fact, the 1971 Wonka obviously knew what Mike was up to. When Mike ran up to teleport himself into the T.V, the 1971 Wonka did nothing to stop him. In fact, he again sarcastically says, “no, don’t, stop.” In the 2005 film, Mike T.V. bolts toward the teleporter, pushing past Oompa Loompas before Wonka even has a chance to stop him. Though they’re both negligent, the 1971 Wonka is much more negligent.


Though the 1971 Wonka had them sign a waiver, waivers do not always hold up in court. In fact, when gross negligence is involved, waivers are almost never enough to remove liability. Another important fact to consider is that these children are all under 18. Therefore, their signatures are essentially worthless on a waiver. Though it’s implied that their parents have signed for them, waivers where parents have signed for the children have been challenged in court. This is because it’s been argued that the parents did not have the right to sign their child’s rights away.


Additionally, the children on the boat ride in the 1971 film are terrified, screaming to get off the boat. The terror is so intense that Veruca Salt announces as she’s getting off the boat, “Daddy, I do not want a boat like that.” Even the parents were begging Mr. Wonka to get off the boat. In this case, Mr. Wonka may be liable for his guests’ trauma  if they decide to file a claim against Wonka for negligent infliction of emotional distress.


At the end of the 2005 film, we see all the children leaving the factory, irrevocably changed. Though the 2005 Wonka has done what he could to remedy his negligence, his guests have certainly not been made whole. But in the 1971 film, Wonka promises Charlie that the other children will be restored to their normal selves. Though the consequences of the 2005 Wonka’s negligence is much more permanent, it doesn’t necessarily mean he was more negligent.


When all is said and done, it appears that the 1971 Wonka was indeed the more negligent Wonka. If you have been injured on a tour of a top secret chocolate factory, you need an experienced attorney who can challenge any waiver you signed. Don’t go for the old guys advertising the best Utah car accident lawyer. Instead, hire an attorney with moxie. Hire your local Salt Lake City chocolate factory lawyer.

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