The sad passing of Gene Wilder last week gave us a moment to revisit, in teary eyed nostalgia, the greatness that was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and to remind ourselves again how unnecessary the Tim Burton remake was. I’m no studio executive, but it seems like instead of supplanting a classic movie character with a creepy, Michael-Jackson-inspired simulacrum, Burton and co. should have instead just adapted the book’s sequel, the drastically under-appreciated Willy Wonka and the Great Glass Elevator. That tale takes our heroes into orbit in the famous elevator, encountering a great space hotel and facing off against the nasty vermicious knids and other delights borne of the endlessly imaginative mind of Roald Dahl.
Alas, no movie can accurately capture everything Dahl, who died in 1990, accomplished (see the disappointing reviews for The BFG this summer). But where movies fail, let’s turn to ice cream: Dahl would have turned 100 on Sept. 13, and while the footprint of his joyful nonsense is still appreciated lots of places today well beyond movies, he’s getting a special tribute all month from one of Brooklyn’s own confectionary wizards: Ample Hills. The beloved local chain is offering a special Fantastic Mr. Fox inspired flavor, holding events all month and even bringing in the real-life Matilda for an appearance. Kids, adults and knids (vermicious or not) are all welcome. (more…)