It’s been a hot minute since we last saw Willy Wonka on the big screen, with the last adaptation being the 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory directed by Tim Burton. After 18 years, the story about the dreams of people, the corruption of the rich, and of course chocolates, is back.
Based on the extraordinary character at the centre of Roald Dahl’s most iconic and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, Wonka tells the whimsical story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and confectioner became the beloved Willy Wonka that we all know today.
With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka, played by Timothée Chalamet, discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers.
Instead of going for the more conventional route of just retelling the story, director Paul King had opted the film to be a musical. Which honestly fits the movie pretty well and it was a joy to see Wonka go up and down on Gallery Gourmet as he shares his sweets with the people.
Not everything goes smoothly though, as Wonka is faced against three evil and egotistical chocolatiers who wants him gone. At the same time, we’re introduced to Noodle, played by Calah Lane, a girl who helps Wonka throughout the movie alongside a cast of characters that got stuck at the dobby after being scammed.
The plot of Wonka is pretty straightforward, with the first part being more of an introduction to Wonka’s dreams and aspirations, and how he keeps findings way to deal with the obstacles laid on the path in front of him as he tries to open up his shop. While Wonka manages to open up his new Chocolate shop, but not all good things last, as the cartel managed to destroy it.
The second half of the movie involved more action and problem-solving, with Wonka and his newfound friends using all the tricks they’ve garnered up to defeat the cartel. While some of the comedic scenes gave me a good laugh, some of them unfortunately didn’t quite hit the mark.
Roald Dahl’s fiction is not complete with the magical and fantasy elements that charmed the readers. That being said, the movie had lead more on CGI, which I honestly thought was pretty great and it had captured the whimsical moments of the story well. From the flying hoverchoc, being on air with balloons, extravagant chocolate shops and the top secret underground cartel offices, all of it managed to capture the imaginative and wondrous feel that children would think off with their imaginations.
When it came to the songs, while all of them were performed in meaningful situations, I did not find them particularly memorable. However, there was one song that was an earworm for me, that being the “Oompa Loompa” song. The song had only played like 3 times throughout the movie with different lyrics, but the tune already lives rent free in my head.
Timothée is a superb showman who skillfully convey’s Wonka’s oddball and colourful shenanigans. As the self-assured idealist, he threw himself into six musical songs devoted to opening his chocolate factory. He suits his character so well and is a relatively good singer too.
Hugh Grant also has a standout performance as the little orange man, Oompa Loompa. While his appearance was brief, he still managed to entertain the audience with his grumpy face.
Wonka is a great musical story detailing young Willy Wonka on his journey to becoming the great chocolatier that we all know. While the story was a bit lacklustre, the songs are great and entertaining to listen to.
Not to mention, Timothée Chalamet does well portraying young Willy Wonka with his crazy tricks and magic.
Early screening provided by Warner Bros. Malaysia. Wonka will be available in Malaysian theaters on 7th December 2023.
Join Us!We are recruiting! If you want to break into the gaming media industry, don't miss out on the golden opportunity. Find out more.
- Stunning musical performances
- Great VFX works
- Great performances by Timothée Chalamet
- Despite having stunning musical performances, the songs were forgettable