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Wonka, the oblivious king of chocolate

Wonka, the oblivious king of chocolate

            Wonka has its world premier on 14th of December, but I managed to see it last Friday and there are a lot of thoughts swirling in me. My initial thought was: okay, that’s a 6/10, and would not watch it again, but then… I realized something. 

You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of. 

            First, let’s start with the basics. It all started with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, which is a 1964 children’s book by one of my favorite authors: Roald Dahl. You know, the guy behind “Fantastic Mr. Fox” or “The BFG”. But his “Charlie…” is definitely one of my all-time favorites. 

And granted, I learned about it through the 2005 movie with Johnny Depp, but it doesn’t matter, I got to the source material eventually. And I fell in love, even though throughout the years the text was revised to make it more… Hmm, appropriate? 

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But yes, it all came down to the book that was initially adapted into a musical in 1971 (called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory) with the one and only Gene Wilder. Now who doesn’t know this classic? It’s not my favorite film, but I have a mad respect for Gene’s role and the endless memes that came from it 😉 

Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.

            Wonka as a character for me became the definition of blissfully oblivious, colorful visionarie, who, at first, came out of nowhere to bring joy in a form of chocolate. Whimsical, funny, mysterious and crazy – someone madly interesting to have a chat with, over a cup of hot chocolate.

The 2023 Wonka is sort of a “best of both worlds” kind of movie, blending the lightness and mystery; the difficult path to the top and the sweet taste of victory. Now, don’t get me wrong: instantly after leaving the cinema I thought that “yeah well, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be, but…”

Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pi – © 2023 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com, via IMDb

And that “but” part left the door in my mind ajar. And you know, I usually need time (which, after today’s therapy, brought me even closer to Nolan) to digest a movie but with Wonka it wasn’t really about digesting.

            Napoleon is the kind of movie you need to think about before you say something about it and frankly, I still feel overstimulated and overwhelmed by it. 

Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.

            Wonka did at least one thing right: it left all of us, the entire audience feeling good. Some were grinning, some were just shyly smiling… I caught myself “foot-dancing” to the songs Timmy was singing. 

But what I believe is the highest form of flattery from my side is the fact that I was humming “Pure imagination” throughout the entire weekend. I will give you one better: I sat by my piano for hours and replayed that tune from my head. And then I remember that there is this silly little thing called YouTube, full of tutorials but hey – dedication, eh! 

Speaking of, I’ve been playing more and more lately and there is progress! Maybe one day, I will be able to play with bigger confidence, but this is not the subject of today’s post anyway, so. 

Wonka, in all its silliness and sweetness, left me smiling and it was exactly what I needed after a tough week at work – a pleasant distraction and someone to root for. 

However small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance was there.

            Currently, the critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes is 84%, with no audience scores yet (premiere this Friday), and over the weekend it evolved into a solid 7/10 for me. Let me be clear: the plot was sweet and we all knew it would all end well, but that wasn’t the problem. For me personally it was the singing and dancing that tried to balance tastefulness and fun, but ended up being cringe. 

Cringe and silly, not in a good way. But if we overlook this thing (which honestly might be a bit hard, since there’s a lot of that), there were a few gems: the delightfully grumpy Oompa Lumpa (Hugh Grant), the Chief of Police (Keegan-Michael Key) or adorable Noodle (Calah Lane). 

Of course, my heart was also soaring for the soundtrack (not songs), that was purely magical. Joby Talbot did an amazing job, I added it to my “Soundtracking” playlist. As for the Wonka himself, casting Timothée Chalamet as the chocolate-maker kind of, sort of made sense. He acts like a clown lately, his attitude is not on point so… No, I am kidding – apart from singing, he did a good job as Wonka.

“We must hurry!” said Mr. Wonka. “We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it!”

            As an origin story, I enjoyed it, however, I learnt that this wasn’t an origin story to any of the existing films with Willy Wonka (at first I was surprised, but you know what? I am glad they are cutting the ties). Is it a good decision? Only time will tell, but for sure there is potential for a sequel or even a series. 

Then again, it’s a perfectly fine single installment so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But if you are looking for something that will make and keep you smiling – Wonka is the best option for that feel-good! Now that I think about it: it left me with the same aftertaste as eating a piece of chocolate…

2 thoughts on “Wonka, the oblivious king of chocolate

  1. To me it is really hard not to compare it to the two predecessors, especially as one of them was directed by my beloved Tim Burton and has Johnny Depp, another of my faves, in it.
    I would also give it a 6/10, to be honest. Apart from the Oompa Loompas song, that is actually the exact same melody as in the older movies, and the Pure Imagination song we all know and love, the other songs felt to me like they were missing this little „oomph” to make them memorable (I blame my Dannyelfmanized brain for this, though). Timothée is an okay Wonka but I didn’t see him put his heart into this role, the way he did in Little Women or Dune 🙁 But, in the end, it didn’t feel like a complete waste of time and I enjoyed the visuals and costumes a lot, so.. that’s what we also need in the cinema :3

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