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review by Bobby Blakey

In 1971 Gene Wilder brought the famed Roald Dahl character Willy Wonka to brilliant life with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Then Tim Burton put his own spin on the character with the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp taking on the role of Wonka. Now Paddington director Paul King is taking us on a different journey of the character with Wonka this time with Timothée Chalamet stepping into the role of Wonka along with Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson, and Keegan-Michael Key. Could this new chapter in the world of Wonka find the right mixture or will it not be a treat worth having?


Wonka follows the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today. 


Like most I am a big fan of the original Gene Wilder Wonka but did really love Depp’s take on the character. I didn’t really see the point of a prequel and didn’t have high hopes that it would work. It’s an unnecessary project that had an uphill climb from the start just based on the works before it and the fanbase behind it. With King behind it, my love of the Paddington films gave me hope this could work. After stepping back into the world of Wonka I am so happy to say I loved this movie in just about every way.


The overall tone of the film embraces the Wilder 1971 version and delivers a world that felt like a mix of Harry Potter and Paddington all wrapped up in a 

Wonka wrapper. Chalamet is great in the role, bringing a sweet innocence to the character that is full of charm, passion and likability. He isn’t quite the weirdo Wonka is in the original, but there are moments of those aspects that creep in and out including some new uses of some of the fun original dialogue. The rest of the cast are great as well with Grant really surprising me to how good he is as an Oompa Loompa.


The little family that Wonka builds with his fellow townspeople are a blast to watch. They are all great personalities and bring some great banter and laughs. The over-the-top nature of the villains here were played to perfection with each of them bringing an old Hollywood flair blended with a Snidely Whiplash vibe that I loved.


The story is wacky and fun in a world that makes little to no sense at times and that’s part of the charm. They use this town’s passion for chocolate almost like a drug addiction, specifically for a couple of the main characters. This sets the stage for a story that has no business working, but since we buy into the magical candy world of Wonka it is just fine. I love that they didn’t try to explain away all the whimsical and fantastical elements like the running gag of stuff in his hat. It just exists in his magician like quality and it’s ok.


There are a couple moments where the story kind of jumps ahead with little explanation to how they pulled something off, but at the same time we are dealing with such a magical world of fun it just doesn’t matter. I am not a fan of musicals and while loved the original stuff was worried if it would work as well or get bogged down on trying to be something more. Thankfully the songs all work and fit in with the journey we are on complete with call backs to the original in great ways.


This was a film I was hoping to enjoy but didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It is wholly not needed, but glad it’s here. This film honors the legacy while doing its own thing and I hope it finds the magic to endure the same way.


In addition to the film this release offers up numerous featurettes taking audiences behind bringing this musical wonder to life. Step into the wonderful world of Wonka available now on digital on and on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on February 27th from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

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