Wonka – Perfect Christmas Family Fun!

By Jordi Levinrad

Careful for Chocolatey Spoilers ahead! 

Timothée Chalamet is our dashing hero in the movie musical ‘Wonka,’ a prequel that tells the origin story of Master chocolatier Willy Wonka, adapted from the children’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ which is a Roald Dahl tale circa 1964. 

Also noteworthy is that these events are before those portrayed by Johnny Depp as Charlie in the 2005 film.

‘Wonka’ is a wonderful movie for the Christmas period where families can laugh, cry and stir up an insane hankering for chocolate. Chalamet is a delight on screen, bubbling over with charisma. Helluva time he’s having right now, dating Kylie Jenner and with ‘Dune 2’ coming out in March of 2024. 

The pace of ‘Wonka’ was a touch sluggish at times to me, but the 9-year-old movie partner I brought along absolutely loved the whole thing, start to finish. She smiled gleefully as they sang on screen and asked me for an urgent fix of chocolate the second we left the cinema.

One critique I’d have for the film is regarding the story: now I’m all for existential journeys, where we see our protagonist go through harrowing times and tough losses, only to be rewarded handsomely in the end. However, watching poor Charlie get duped, robbed, tricked, and beaten over and over throughout the movie became a little bit one-sided. It was excessive. The film didn’t need to go through such lengths because the audience already adores Charlie and longs to see him succeed. 

I want to applaud performances by Rowan Atkinson (who somehow hasn’t aged), our star Oompa-Loompa Hugh Grant (good to see him still doing it), Keegan-Michael Key (always funny), and mostly Olivia Colman who has a special talent of being immensely dislikable. Her character in this reminded me of the ‘Trunchbull’ in that glorious 1996 Danny DeVito ‘Matilda’ movie, another Roald Dahl story adaptation.

This Christmas go and see ‘Wonka’ in theaters with your little ones in tow. It’s made for them. 

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