Wonka: The Christmas firecracker is filled with charm and magic

Wonka: The Christmas firecracker is filled with charm and magic

Roald Dahl’s eccentric candy king takes his dancing first steps towards his own chocolate factory in this colorful musical for all ages. A sugary and somewhat irresistible laughter awaits with Timothée Chalamet in his true element.

Gene Wilder was the first to play the whimsical chocolate master in a classic musical from 1971. Johnny Depp then gave an equally quirky and comedic interpretation in a remake in 2005.

Compared to previous performances, Timothée Chalamet’s version of Willy Wonka appears as a somewhat “normal” and tidy young man, so one might wonder what has really happened to him on the way to the chocolate factory.

But it is, not least, a reinterpretation that captures my interest from the very beginning. With song and dance and infectious enthusiasm, he charms the entire cinema. Who could have guessed that such a skilled entertainer lived in the guy from “Dune”?

Willy Wonka’s origin story

Wonka’s “origin story” is about how he arrives in Europe in his twenties. In his new hometown (some kind of unclear mix of Paris and London), the dream of opening his own shop in the glamorous mall beckons.

With 13 silver coins in his pocket and a hat full of ambitions, he sets out to create enchanted sweets that will leave everyone in awe. But he hadn’t counted on facing sour and bitter resistance from three cunning competitors.

Yes, it’s a children’s movie, so have a little patience with a somewhat thin and diluted plot. Instead of a candy store, Wonka is soon tricked into working for free in Mrs. Scrubbit’s laundry. There, he meets the orphaned girl Noodle, and they share sweet scenes preaching the importance of friendship and dreams. Of course, it’s mostly done through musical numbers.

A feeling arises that the plot stands still for much of the middle act, extending the runtime to an unnecessarily long two hours.

Timothée Chalamet in his true element

But at the same time, you can’t take your eyes off Timothée Chalamet in a role he is perfectly suited to play. He demonstrates a comedic talent that we rarely see, hitting every detail and mannerism. A pro to the fingertips.

He is truly the cherry on top, the cream of the crop, the shining star that carries this film. But “Wonka” is an incredibly strong production on all fronts.

Clever lines and lyrics make me smile in every scene. Skilled veterans like Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson, and Olivia Colman bring life and quirks to every well-written supporting role. The songs stick in the mind, both the well-known Oompa Loompa song and all the newly written material.

Too much CGI candy

If there is ever too much of a good thing, it’s on the CGI front. Director Paul King dips all his fingers and toes in the digital batter and has a bit too much fun painting Wonka’s technicolor dreams on the movie screen.

Otherwise, the film feels like a very classic old-school musical comedy, so it’s a bit unfortunate to sweeten it with so many computer effects, in my opinion.

“Wonka” has a timeless charm reminiscent of 1950s musicals and 1960s animated Disney films. An adventure that happily sparkles with storytelling joy, creative imagery, and a positive atmosphere where anything is possible. And I find it difficult to resist, despite the aforementioned minor flaws.

See it in theaters, preferably with children, and why not sneak in a large box of luxurious chocolate pralines to have close at hand. This is a sure success when you want to find some relaxation in the Christmas rush. Four chocolate-dipped candy canes out of five!”

Kron Aaron


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