- Timothée Challamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Keegan-Michael Kay
- Written by
- Simon Fanaby (screenplay by), Paul King ( screenplay by/ story by/ story), Roald Dahl ( based on the characters created by)
- Directed by
- Paul King
- Run Time
- 1h 56min
- Release Date
- December 15th, 2023
As a kid, very few movies felt like they were a window into my imagination than Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. All those colors, all that chocolate, and one hell of a boat ride; for a kid, it seemed like the perfect world to be in. That world changed a lot by the time Tim Burton brought us his vision, and I can tell you I would run away fast from the world that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory brought us into. What will 2023 bring us in the world of Wonka? Well, in the hands of Paul King, we are once again reminded how sweet the world of chocolate and imagination can be.
Before the grand candy-making machines, Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) was just a boy with a dream—a dream to make chocolate for the whole world to enjoy. To make that dream a reality, he has traveled to a city renowned for its confections. Being a great maker of candy is not enough, though, as there is a chocolate cartel made up of the three biggest chocolate makers, and they do not like competition. Roadblocks to his success seem to be plentiful, but Wonka is not one to just give up on his dream, as even at his lowest, that dream is very much alive. After he is made to work cleaning clothes, the group working with him, led by Noodle (Calah Lane), helps him get things off the ground. The chocolate cartel is not going to go down easy, and with the chief of police (Keegan-Michael Key) in their pocket, it’s going to take all the magic Wonka has to make his dream come true.
King, who brought us the magic that was Paddington and Paddington 2, co-writes the script with Simon Farnaby from the Roald Dahl novel, taking us back into a world of pure imagination. Beaming with that Paddington vibe, Wonka is also about a naïve character in a world full of deceit, who, if you believe he grows up to be Gene Wilder’s Wonka, that deceitful world has an effect on innocent Willy. For Wonka, King focuses on the magical aspects of the character, thus making the world often dazzling and colorful, especially in the costume design. Wonka never goes dark, and instead, embraces a safer version of the story, and even though there are evil people, thanks to things being smoothed out, any of the bad is less sharp and more digestible.
I feel like every generation should have their own Willy Wonka, and I think this one got a winner in Wonka. Chalamet is divine as young Willy, and the core of goodness is on full display within him. Where he slips some is in the musical numbers, as he is not the strongest of singers, but you can see the work he is putting in, and you can look past the vocals. The rest of the cast is good as well, but it’s Olivia Colman (playing an evil lady), Lane, and Hugh Grant, who is the only Oompa Loompa we get a song and dance from that stand out the most. Altogether, Wonka delivers a fun and charming picture that also entertains with some catchy musical numbers. If you like your chocolate sweet, Wonka goes down easy and will have you asking for some more.