You'd be forgiven for thinking that a treasured British institution like the work of Roald Dahl would be safe in the hands of a park like Alton Towers. And I do respect how they based the visual style around Quentin Blake's illustrations rather than Tim Burton's film. This is where the compliments end...
Roald Dahl is a total gift to the UK children/family amusement industry and I can't believe Alton of all places managed to cock it up. It's a blight on the park, and a blight on Dahl's legacy. Sure, it's easy to be flippant and all "oh, it's not that bad really", but to say that, is to be an apologist for a crass insult to one of the greatest childrens' story tellers of all time. Charlie and Chocolate Factory should be a visually dense, colourful environment, full of warm, gentle humour, instantly recognisable characters and situations. The ride is patently not representative of such a place.
I've never waited more than 10 minutes to ride, but still come off wishing I hadn't bothered. Being stuck for any length of time in the first section of indoor queue is hell on earth. A constantly looping, irritating pre-show in a dark, un-themed room. Nice. Then take your seat in a boat with a fraction of the comfort of your average garden bench (and about as well themed as one too) and off you go, into a dark, bland nothingness, peppered with lazy animatronics, nonsensical and out of sync audio and a total lack of effort to follow any sort of narrative. Roald deserved better!
I do realise the ride isn't aimed at jaded 19 year olds such as myself, but it's such an insult to both the intelligence of kids, and the work of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, it almost makes me want to cry. In fact, I never really realised how angry it made me until I started typing this. Alton were clearly just throwing their comparative wealth around. "Ooooh, look at all the beloved intellectual property we can just buy and then p!ss up against the wall, for we are the mighty Alton Towers." If done right, it could have been magical, but instead we have a wretched turd of a 'ride'. If done right, it could, nay should have paved the way for Cred Street to be re-themed into a complete Roald Dahl land - an idea I voiced on here when it was revealed that the area was being revamped. Now that could have been really special, if handled delicately and respectfully. If Alton Towers had any decency whatsoever, they would scrap the ride, install a fantastic, originally themed new dark ride (no bloody gimmicks. No lasers, 3D or 'interactivity' of any kind).
I actually think a small family/children's park totally dedicated to Roald Dahl would work perfectly, if they could invest the love, warmth and attention to detail that was required for such a project.
Boycott Charlie and the Chocolate Factory my TTF brothers and sisters! I urge you. By apologising for it, you are being complicit in the continued defamation of a true British legend.
[size=90]For some things there is no rational explanation. There is no way out. There is no happy ending to this story. Welcome to the unknown. Welcome to eternal darkness.
Welcome to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - The Ride