'Wonka' Movie Review: A Delightful Origin Story

Timothee Chalamet in WONKA

Timothée Chalamet is endearing and charming as Wonka. The production design is pure eye candy. The musicals were delightful and unexpected. Director Paul King of PADDINGTON fame, brings the same kind of energy and vibe.

Paul King re-imagines Willy Wonka’s origin story as the eccentric chocolatier from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Timothée Chalamet in the starring role.

A young Wonka arrives in London with a dream of opening a chocolate shop, but the chocolate cartel has other plans for him.

King collaborates with his PADDINGTON 2 writer, Simon Farnaby in this whimsical, light-hearted, and colorful story. WONKA evokes nostalgia for classic stories like Oliver Twist. It’s dark at times but Chalamet’s cheery and positive nature keeps it light. The filmmakers make it their own rather than paying homage to the 1971 WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY film or Tim Burton's remake.

The cast is exceptional. Olivia Coleman has fun as a wicked hag, Mrs. Scrubbit, Hugh Grant is hilarious as an Oompa Loompa, and Keegan-Michael Key steals his scenes as the Chief of Police who is paid off by the cartels in chocolates.

The production design by Christopher Nolan‘s go-to-guy Nathan Crowley, stands out and also evokes nostalgic English tales. The set lends itself to the fanciful nature of the story.

The musical numbers are paint-by-numbers, but Chalamet proves himself as a showman.

WONKA is great family entertainment and sets the mood for this holiday season.

WONKA is in movie theaters on December 15.

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