I got my first look at “Wonka” earlier this year at Cinemacon when stars Timothee Chalamet and Calah Lane appeared onstage to show off the first
look at the film. Until then I had wondered if a third cinematic version of the beloved story was wise as the last effort failed to equal the magic of the classic original.
My concerns were quickly set to rest when I saw that the new film was actually a prequel which would focus on the younger years of the legendary
candy maker and the promising footage made me all the more eager for the finished product.
The movie follows Wonka (Chalamet) who is determined to open his own candy store after serving several years at sea. His meager savings vanish on day
one in the big city and Wonka finds himself in a stay now; pay later rental room with a catch.
Wonka finds that he has been scammed and owes a huge debt and must work in a laundry to pay it off which combined with a corrupt police chief (Keegan- Michael Key) and a trio of Chocolate Barons who will stop at nothing to eliminate the threat Wonka poses; makes his life and dreams difficult.
Thanks to a plucky orphan named Noodle (Calah Lane), Wonka and his fellow laundry inmates devise a plan to make his magical candy, open his shop,
and pay off their debts. Naturally this leads to all sorts of magical
adventures and mishaps and some highly-enjoyable musical numbers.
The movie is utterly charming and magical and the opening number sets the stage perfectly and Chalamet does an amazing job with the music and singing as well as the quirks that Gene Wilder made famous in the original role. The flair and odd steps as well as quirky charm that made the character so memorable is here but done In a fresh yet nostalgic way that
pays tribute but does not detract from the timeless classic original.
The visuals, music, and amazing cast all combine to make a truly
enchanting and magical film that the entire family should enjoy and one that I hope allows audiences to visit in the future as there are still plenty of stories of young Wonka to be told.
5 stars out of 5