BY ELLIOT LINES DECEMBER 4, 2023
Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is the place of a child's dream, and if you ask me an adults too. The 1964 Roald Dahl novel, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a classic and beloved story. Back in 1971 the novel got it's first film adaptation in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder, a film that provide memorable scenes for many across decades. In 2005, we got a remake of said film with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp, who imposed his weird mannerisms onto the wacky character. Wonka tells a whole different story to the one we know, how did Willy become Wonka. With it's nostalgic nods, catchy tunes and Chalamet charm, Wonka may just become a family favourite this festive period.
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.
When the news broke that an new Willy Wonka adaptation was in the works, there was scepticism to say the least. Did we really need another remake? Luckily when Paul King (Paddington) was attached to direct these worries dissipated, and it became clear that this wasn't going to be your standard run of the mill re-hash. Focussing on the life pre chocolate factory was most welcome. Exploring this different chapter in Willy Wonka's life adds a whole new dimension to the story we know so well, the film takes the parts that we know and love, the music, the character, the chocolate and gives them extra meaning.
Bringing the character of Willy Wonka to life, Timothée Chalamet. An actor that seems to be everywhere at this current moment, he lends his boyish charm to the role that insures you'll fall in love with the character. The weird Wonka quirks that we have seen in previous roles are there for all to see, the wacky creator of edible delights needs to have a edge to him and Chalamet provides this in droves. Partnering him through most of the film is Noodle, played by Calah Lane, a character that provides a little bit of grounding to the film, and Wonka himself, bringing us a little closer to the real world.
The rest of the cast is stacked with talent that show up for the occasion, with the likes of; Olivia Coleman as Mrs. Scrubbit, a scheming bedsit keeper; Keegan Michael-Key, a chocoholic chief of police; Paterson Joseph, the leader of the chocolatier cartel; I could really go on for a while. However, each and every character has a part to play, providing laughs aplenty. And how could I forget the Oompa-Loompa, played by none other than Hugh Grant. Used ever so sparingly, the character had it's familiar tanned orange skin and green hair, adding that nostalgic element from the original.
The story itself moved along at quickfire pace, sometimes not allowing the film to breath. For the story it is trying to tell the runtime of 117 minutes is justified, however at times it felt like they were trying to cramp a little to much into the space. It dives right into Wonka's life, sets up the villains very early and shoves him into a precarious position relatively quickly. From then on it really is a battle against the chocolatier cartel and Wonka, flying through schemes and introducing us to plenty of characters. However, the chaos was a fun part of the film.
A staple part of the original, is the songs. Wonka utilises the original music to aid our understanding of the world Willy is about to create. The new tunes are catchy and play a pivotal role in the energy the film brings to the screen. Aiding this is the scenery. There are various different aesthetics used throughout the film, with Willy's world being bright and colourful, the cartel's world posh and evil and Mrs. Scrubbit's bedsit being dark and dingy.
Whether you're new to this character or returning to him once again, you're sure to have a fun time. Timothée Chalamet brings something to the role, I personally didn't think he could, and is the glue that holds it all together. Wonka will provide laughs for all ages, there are so many fun scenes to talk about, however talking doesn't do them justice, get yourself to the cinema because this is a world of pure imagination.