If you ever wondered about the backstory of Willy Wonka, the enigmatic character from the 1964 novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ and his venturesome beginnings, a prequel titled ‘Wonka’ is now in theatres. Wonka has delighted audiences in books, followed by the beloved 1971 film and the 2005 adaptation. Now, fans get a delectable, sweet, and fiery prequel that delves into Willy’s earlier days with ‘Wonka.’
Unlike the clichéd narrative of Willy (Timothee Chalamet) establishing his factory with the help of Oompa-Loompas (Hugh Grant) as staff, this story takes a different approach. Fresh to the town, Willy aims to captivate its residents with his mouthwatering chocolates, a skill inherited from his mother, portrayed by Sally Hawkins. However, Willy’s endeavours face challenges from three businessmen mentioned in the novel. Enter Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucas), and Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton), the three rival confectioners who disrupt Willy’s plans by stealing his recipes and orchestrating a situation that leads to Willy being falsely accused of an illegal offence.
In contrast to previous versions of Wonka, portrayed by Gene Wilder in Mel Stuart’s ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ (1971) and Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (2005), Timothée’s portrayal of Wonka is starry-eyed, hopeful, and full of wonder.
As Wonka faces the town’s continual challenges, he navigates them in his wizard-like, adventurous style. The constant banter between Willy and these characters form the film’s funniest moments, akin to indulging in a melting scoop of chocolate—one that’s irresistibly addictive!
Take a look at ‘Wonk’ trailer:
The audience shares the same joy and delight as director Paul King unfolds Wonka’s tale before he became the Chocolate Factory owner introduced to us in 1964. Co-writers Simon Farnaby and Paul King, who are best known for the Paddington franchise, are aware of the responsibility they have and deliver delightfully silly moments that makes this film a perfect watch this Christmas. Neil Hannon’s original songs evoke nostalgia and offer rhythms that make you want to jam along almost instantly.
Besides Timothee, Hugh Grant impresses with his smooth portrayal of Lofty the Oompa-Loompa, while Olivia Colman delivers compelling dramatic moments. The supporting performances are exceptional, complemented by crisp and excellent writing. Backed by brilliant performances and an unmissable background score, Paul King’s film has the richness of chocolate you’d happily smear on your face!
3.5 out 5 to ‘Wonka’