“Wonka” with Timothée Chalamet
Sweet treat or failed musical?
Willy Wonka is a classic. Paul King’s “Wonka” now tells his story with cheesy musical songs – can that be successful?
For seven years he traveled the world, collected extraordinary ingredients from all corners of the earth and perfected his craft as a chocolate maker. With a big goal and lots of recipes under his belt, he finally wants to fulfill his dream of owning his own business and sweeten the world with his chocolate. But when the young Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) is close to his goal, the chocolate cartel around Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucas), Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton) and the local police chief (Keegan-Michael Key) stand in his way.
Wonka also falls into the clutches of the brazen criminal couple Mrs. Scrubbit (Olivia Colman) and Bleacher (Tom Davis). He has to work off a horrendous loan from them, as well as debts to the snooty Oompa Loompa Lofty (Hugh Grant). The young chocolatier finds active support, among others, from the orphan Noodle (Calah Lane), who herself is exploited by Scrubbit and Bleacher. Together they come up with a sophisticated plan to make Wonka’s lifelong dream come true…
In the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp
Director Paul King, 45, teamed up again with his “Paddington 2” writing partner Simon Farnaby, 50, for the script, which is clearly evident in the storyline of the musical film: a naive main character fights against an insidious system, and in the end we help in “Paddington” ingenuity, friendships and kindness come out of misery.
With his role as Willy Wonka, Timothée Chalamet, 27, is following in the footsteps of Gene Wilder (1933-2016), who portrayed the charming and playful chocolate maker in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 1971, and Johnny Depp, 60, who played him in 2005 Tim Burton’s, 65, film of the same name gave it a certain aloofness and eccentricity. The young Hollywood star gives the chocolatier an engaging charm and a childlike pathos – and quite a few dancing and singing interludes. He moves almost elf-like and mischievously, and in a certain way seems a bit otherworldly and dreamy. One increasingly wonders what must have happened in the rest of the chocolatier’s life to later turn him into the Wonka we know from the previous films and the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl?
Hugh Grant, 63, is only seen on screen for a few minutes as the snooty Oompa Loompa in dandy clothes, but he makes full use of it: his grimness and irony make the orange-skinned and green-haired chocolate keeper, who has shrunk to 30 centimeters, one of the stars of the film.
The rest of the well-known cast is just as great: Olivia Colman, 49, and Tom Davis, 44, as a thieving duo, as well as Matt Lucas, 49, Paterson Joseph, 59, and Matthew Baynton, 43, as a chocolate cartel trio. “Mr. Bean” star Rowan Atkinson, 68, shines in a supporting role as a priest, while young talent Calah Lane, 18, becomes Wonka’s lovable ally Noodle.
“Wonka” takes the audience into the magical world of Willy Wonka and paints a completely new picture of the eccentric chocolatier. Lead actor Timothée Chalamet once again proves his versatility and manages the perfect balancing act between childlike naivety and acting talent. And the makers also succeeded in the musical aspect – even if it was sometimes cheesy: songs like “A World Of Your Own” will certainly stay in the audience’s ears. The film sparkles with magic, anticipation and hope and is the perfect family film for the pre-Christmas period and has what it takes to become a real Christmas classic.
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