Critics in General Read into Things

The editor of RogerEbert.com writes about the perception of Willy Wonka as Michael Jackson.

Entertain, if you will, the following similarities:

* Both the Tim Burton film and the recent Michael Jackson trial involved reclusive, childlike eccentric millionaires, particularly idolized by kids, inviting young people over for special, personally guided tours behind the gates of their sprawling private Xanadus.

* The physical details of Depp’s performance, including the pale face, semi-pageboy haircut, tightly drawn lips, high whispery voice, effeminate demeanor, and semi-formal candy-dandy wardrobe (tarted-up traditional hats, velvet jackets, glam gloves — all with a fancified military and/or Victorian flavor), reminded many viewers of Jackson.

He also notes that critics were nearly unanimous in making the comparison.

I still think drawing parallels between the character and the man is useless. Yeah, there are a bunch of superficial similarities, but the underlying personalities are totally different. To pick an example, one of MJ’s many creepyisms is his extraordinary insecurity that drove him to mutilate his face. This is certainly more fundamental to the Jackson persona than his wardrobe, and it is totally absent from Wonka in the movie. Of course, then there’s the way completely different way that Jackson and Wonka approach children.

Anyway, the bottom line as it seems to me is that with all the (real but insignificant) similarities, the comparison is just too tempting an intellectual detour for your average movie critic. For a Michael-less review, consult the Onion.

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