“Wonka” review

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    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Sun May 05 2024

By Christy Sun

Wonka, starring recent “White Boy of the Year,” Timothée Chalamet, was released in December of 2023. Let's talk about it.

The story is about the origin story of how Willy Wonka from the various Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory films came to be. In the story—spoilers ahead if you still haven't seen it—he moves to the Galéries Gourmet, the heart of all there is to love chocolate. He is an aspiring chocolatier that travels the world to collect eclectic ingredients to put in his chocolates to inspire those that consume it. He finds himself in a tough predicament when is entrapped in a scheme that forces him to work his life away in a lifeless laundromat. Here, he meets the classic rag-tag group of outcasts that have been working for years that he eventually befriends. However, he is particularly fond of a little girl he meets there, Noodle. She is an orphan that longs to meet her parents. Throughout the movie, he goes on lots of crazy adventures in the pursuit of opening his chocolate shop, including Abigail the giraffe and Hugh Grant as the infamous Oompa Loompa that steals his chocolate in the middle of the night. In the end, despite battling three nefarious chocolatiers, Wonka opens his shop and reunites Noodle with her mother.

One thing I did not expect (but should have) from the movie was how sing-songy and cheerful the tone was. Going into theaters, I was expecting to see how the crazy, delusional Gene Wilder Wonka came to be. Or, were they going to follow the mini plotline included in Johnny Depp's version? I will say I was slightly disappointed at how there weren't even slight hints at the insanity that slowly drives Wonka. Although, nonetheless, I can appreciate that the director maintained the child-friendly tone so that all audiences are able to enjoy it. After all, it is meant for children at the end of the day. However, if someone were to ever dive deeper into that derivation of Wonka, you can count on my being there. 

Another thing that I love is how much Hugh Grant hated filming the movie. He said, and I quote, “I couldn't have hated the whole thing more.” Throughout filming he was poked with a special suit that captured and minimized his body. So why did he agree to filming? “I have lots of children and need money.” God that just makes it so much better. The only thing grumpier than Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa is Hugh Grant. 

Overall, I would give it 3.5/5 on Letterboxed as it was fun and well produced with great visuals, but kind of lacked in the storyline that actively drove watchers to be on the edge of their seats. I loved seeing the insane colors popping off the screen and Timmy's little costume, but it's lacking the depth that draws me back to watch a second time.