‘Wonka’ Remarkably Prequels a Classic Story Loved by Many

by Randy Wang ’24

Directed by Paul King, Wonka is a prequel to the events of the 1971 film prominent in the childhood of many people, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart, and/or the 2005 remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Tim Burton. King’s prequel makes successful connections to Stuart’s film, having similar Oompa Loompa designs and reimagined songs from the original.

The film opens with Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) entering the city that is a cross between London, Paris, and Prague in the late 1930s with the goal of opening his very own chocolate shop. The film goes on to have Noodle (Calah Lane) and other characters who worked for Mrs. Scrubitt (Olivia Colman) helping Wonka sell his chocolate while rising up against corrupt chocolate-selling competitors. The film is filled with many heart-touching moments and viewers understandably could feel a compelling desire to rewatch the original movies. The excellently choreographed songs throughout Wonka easily draw the audience into Wonka’s world.

The cast all performed phenomenally through the entirety of the movie. Chalamet’s dynamic facial expressions and expressive tone are all fitting for Wonka’s personality. The supporting actors perfectly blend into their respective scenes and come across as actually complex people. The villains Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucus), and Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton) kill their performances with cartoonish expressions yet evil intentions, creating both a comedic tone and a feeling of suspense in the audience.

However, Wonka has its shortcomings, mainly in its resolution. The overall direction of the movie is fantastic as the plot stayed consistent throughout, creating amazing visuals and a great story that many age groups will enjoy. But there were two moments that really stand out as negatives. In the second half of the movie, Wonka and Noodle are faced with a conflict that endangers their lives. The scene feels cliche and awkward when compared to other parts of the movie and kind of downplays the remaining parts of the film despite the tear-jerking moments that happen. Despite being an emotional moment, the resolution to Noodle’s story seems like it was rushed to make time constraints. Her ending doesn’t feel complete as it felt forced into the film’s ending. Nevertheless, this flaw doesn’t ruin the amazing ending that follows that scene.

Being a musical shouldn’t deter moviegoers from seeing this movie. Despite being made for the younger demographic, teens and adults may find themselves liking this movie as it contains many creative scenes and the songs are catchy rather than cringeworthy. While not perfect, Wonka is surprisingly enjoyable.

Grade: B