Star Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Matthew Baynton, Tom Davis, Rich Fulcher, Rakhee Thakrar
Director: Paul King
What’s Good: Taking a different route from previous Wonkas to serve a fresh take on the iconic character
What’s Bad: The second half gets uneven and predictable
Loo Break: Only because you won’t be able to beat the temptation of taking a break to eat some good chocolate
Watch or Not?: As a fun-time watch this Holiday season!
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Willy (Timothée Chalamet) is a 25-year-old who’s roaming around the world to perfect the recipe of chocolate from the past seven years. He arrives in London to make some money now that he knows he has mastered the taste. It’s not just how his chocolate tastes; it’s also about the magic tricks he does to sell it, which brings him on the radar of the city’s ‘chocolate cartel’ trio comprising Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Fickelgruber (Matthew Baynton) & Prodnose (Matt Lucas).
Upon spending every last silver sovereign, Wonka finds himself in a hotel that almost looks like it’s out of the Conjuring universe, letting the owner, Mrs. Scrubbit (Olivia Colman), entrap him to sign a ridiculous contract. Uniting with the other victims of Scrubbit, Willy forms an emotional bond with the sweet little orphan Noodle (Calah Lane), and they all help each other to set free, only to invite more problems.
Wonka Movie Review: Script Analysis
The moment Paul King was announced as the film’s director, I knew this couldn’t be bad. After helming the Paddington franchise, Paul tries to do his heartwarming magic on this one, too. Co-writing with Simon Farnaby (Paddington 2), King takes a contrasting route to present Wonka, given it’s an origin story/prequel to the 1971 original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Chalamet’s Wonka isn’t the kooky, the lunatic ones we’ve seen in Gene Wilder & Johnny Depp’s versions. He’s as sweet as his chocolate and as short-lived as his magic.
Chung-hoon Chung’s camerawork captivates the whimsical production design in its full glory. There aren’t any sorcerer’s tricks that Chung-hoon follows to make the film feel any better, but because of the smooth screenplay & sets, you just go with the flow. Things do get pretty predictable and convenient in the second half, but it’s not like it’ll bore you or anything.
Wonka Movie Review: Star Performance
The good thing for Timothée Chalamet is that he doesn’t have the footsteps of previous Wonkas to follow, giving him ample room to create a different character for himself. Fans expecting the same traits will get disappointed, but the ones who know how to take a fresh take will surely appreciate Chalamet’s earnestness.
All three actors (Paterson Joseph, Mathew Baynton, Matt Lucas) are fun together, especially Mathew vomiting every time just hearing ‘poor’ (“Don’t speak of that demographic in my presence,” he says) makes you chuckle every single time. Olivia Colman & Tom Davis’ hilarious duo work due to the eccentricity they bring with their performance, justifying the on-point writing. Rowan Atkinson is passable & Hugh Grant is adorable; I wished to see more of them.
Wonka Movie Review: Direction, Music
Paul King is now officially the ‘king of uplifting films,’ and this shows how well he knows how to mix just the right amount of drama with comedy, not to overdo anything.
The musical portions don’t go as well as they should go in a film that relies heavily on the music, and Neil Hannon, Joby Talbot’s soundtrack lacks depth. There is no doubt that the songs are hummable, but I expected a little more coherence with the narration.
Wonka Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Timothée Chalamet’s delicious take on Wonka would be remembered for his impeccable charm, boyish energy & heartfelt smile.
Wonka releases on 15th December, 2023.
Share with us your experience of watching Wonka.
For more recommendations, read Wish Movie Review here.