WONKA – “Plays it too safe, but remains a world of pure imagination”

wonka

RATING

DIRECTOR

Directed by: Paul King (Paddington - 2014)

MAIN CAST

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka
Calah Lane as Noodle
Keegan-Michael Key as the Chief-of-Police
Paterson Joseph as Arthur Slugworth
Matt Lucas as Prodnose
Mathew Baynton as Fickelgrube
Sally Hawkins as Willy Wonka's mother
Rowan Atkinson as Father Julius
Jim Carter as Abacus Crunch
Tom Davis as Bleacher
Olivia Colman as Mrs. Scrubbit
Hugh Grant as Lofty, an Oompa-Loompa

SYNOPSIS

Is a prequel to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

“Armed with nothing but a hatful of dreams, young chocolatier Willy Wonka manages to change the world, one delectable bite at a time.”

REVIEW SUMMARY

Paul King’s Wonka plays it too safe, but remains a world of pure imagination. Yes, the production design here is delightful, with all the old-fashioned whimsy you can handle. And with impeccable work in the costume, hair, and makeup department, it’s one of the most visually stunning films of the year. It’s also a sweetly digestible picture, filled with likeable characters, warm relationships, and plenty of harmless gags. But, therein lies the issue, Willy Wonka is too nice – too naïve – too normal here. Young Timothy Chalmet does fine work and all, but his performance is too generic for a character that is infamously enigmatic and strange. Yes, it’s a prequel, but I didn’t see the dots connecting to the character we know is to come. Let’s just say it’s a far cry from Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp’s portrayals. But, while Chalemt brings little new to his role, Hugh Grant makes the most of his. A grumpy Oompa-Loompa with an axe to grind, Grant steals all the scenes he’s in. One thing that won’t stand out, however, are the film’s splattering of musical numbers. They are absolutely fine in the moment, but none will be remembered by the time you leave the cinema. Luckily, there’s lots of other great things to keep our eyeballs happy. From nostalgic cues to welcome cameos, Wonka does its best to satisfy that cinematic sweet tooth!

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