If the trailers for Wonka, Warner’s latest revisit of Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel, did nothing to move your “scrumpdillyicious” meter, you aren’t alone. It didn’t tickle our sweet tooth either. Timothy Chalamet seemed all kinds of wrong for the part of Willy Wonka and we just couldn’t see anyone besting Gene Wilder’s sinister portrayal of the mischievous chocolatier. But, boy, were we wrong!

Screenwriters Paul King and Simon Farnaby (the genius filmmaking team behind the Paddington films), under King’s direction not only succeed in capturing the same delightful enchantment that turned Dahl’s original story into a timeless cinematic classic back in 1971, they’ve also managed to create a new big screen spectacle that is perfect for audiences of all ages.

"an exciting, tension-filled odyssey that leaves audiences unsettled by its delicious mix of horror and pitch black humor"

As the narrative unfolds with a perfect balance of whimsy and heart, we travel back in time to when the free-spirited Wonka (Chalamet) – a self-proclaimed magician, inventor, and chocolate maker, first arrived on the shores of his new home armed with nothing more than a hatful of dreams, and but seven pennies to his name.

Unfortunately, his dream of opening a chocolate shop using his late mother’s candy recipe draws the attention of the “chocolate cartel,” who will stop at nothing to put an end to Wonka’s entrepreneurial venture.

As if his battle with the chocolate cartel wasn’t trouble enough, Wonka also finds himself owing a lifetime of wages to the Dickensian owner of a seedy hotel, Mrs. Scrubbit (Olivia Colman), and her right-hand henchman, Bleacher (Tom Davis), for not reading the small print on the boarding contact he signed.

So, with the help of his fellow tenants, orphaned girl, Noodle (Calah Lane, TV’s “This is Us”), laundryman Abacus (Jim Carter, Downton Abbey), former telephone switchboard operator, Lottie (Rakhee Thakrar, TV’s “Sex Education”), laundress Piper (Natasha Rothwell, SNL writer), and former plumber, Mr. Chucklesworth (Rich Fulcher, Marriage Story), Wonka sets out to devise a plan to defy his enemies and build his chocolate empire. Each character, no matter how minor, is perfectly fleshed out, allowing viewers to connect emotionally with our protagonist's journey of self-discovery and innovation.

Wonka is an intoxicating concoction of magic, music, mayhem, and emotion, all skillfully interwoven to create a heartwarming story about bringing light and joy into a world yearning for a dose of positivity. King and Farnaby’s message advocates for the transformative power of joy and encourages audiences to embrace the magic of dreaming.Wonka

Another of the film's standout features is its extravagant production design, which transports audiences into a visually stunning and whimsical world. Every frame is a feast for the eyes, from the magical chocolate factory to the vibrant landscapes that serve as the backdrop for Wonka's adventures. The team’s attention to detail is commendable, creating an immersive experience that captivates from start to finish.

Adding to the film's charm are the catchy new musical numbers that infuse energy and life into the story. The soundtrack (which occasionally pays homage to the original’s Pure Imagination) is not only a treat for the ears but also an integral part of the storytelling.

With Wonka, King and the talented cast and crew have crafted a film that goes beyond nostalgia, breathing new life into a beloved tale. It is a celebration of imagination, resilience, and the enduring power of joy. With its delightful combination of magic, humor, and heart, Wonka is a cinematic confection that will leave audiences with a sweet taste and a renewed belief in the magic of dreams.

4/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: PG.
116 mins
: Paul King
Simon Farnaby; Paul King
Timothée Chalamet; Gustave Die; Murray McArthur
: Comedy | Adventure | Fantasy
Every Good Thing in This World started With a Dream.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm making chocolate, of course. How do you like it? Dark? White? Nutty? Absolutely insane?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.wonkamovie.com/
Release Date:
December 15, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers.