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Wonka Review: A Magical, Whimsical Top-Notch Musical

Wonka is pure magic! It tells a whimsical, musical, story in which Timothee Chalamet shines as a young Willy Wonka. An adventure families will love.

wonka movie review

Wonka is probably the biggest surprise of the year. While the trailer made it look like it could be fun, it really does no justice to the phenomenal, whimsical, magical journey that viewers will go on. The song and dance numbers, laugh out loud humor, and incredible cast will have families not only loving this movie, but likely coming back for seconds. It is charming, hilarious, and filled with heart. An absolute cannot miss while it is in theaters, as it begs to be seen on the big screen.

Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Wonka would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions.

Wonka is sort of a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, although it is not directly related. However, it follows a young Willy Wonka as he chases his dreams of being the best chocolatier, which ultimately means he must take on the top three, who have banded together to stop him. Willy meets a young girl named Noodle, who helps him on his journey and who he helps find herself in return.  

Timothee Chalamet is a great actor, we all know this already, but the way that he portrays one of the most popular characters in television and book history, is next level. He very clearly studied what the talented Gene Wilder did in order to deliver this version of Willy Wonka. He is quirky, bizarre, and a little bit weird. But he is also serious and determined, especially when it comes to his chocolate making. 

wonka 2023 movie review

Willy Wonka wants nothing more than to make people happy with his unique candy creations, something that has always been true about the character. We learn early on in the movie that he always wanted to be a musician, and that it was his mother who knew how to make delicious chocolate — something she did for him every year on his birthday. 

Speaking of Willy’s mother, she has a key part in this film. She delivers a lot of the emotion, and is the key drive behind his desires. The relationship between the two will tug at your heartstrings, and have you rooting for Wonka.

The film falls under the musical category, and every single song is incredible. They are catchy, memorable, and emotional. The musical numbers that accompany them will have viewers tapping their toes, or wiping away tears, depending on what kind of song it is.

Wonka 2023 oompa loompa hugh grant

Probably the biggest concern coming out of the Wonka trailer is Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa. There is just no way to not make him look ridiculous, and they clip that ends up in the trailer certainly doesn’t help. But have no fear, he actually fits into the story perfectly. His role is an important one, even though he is not in the movie all that much. He is funny but at the same time, compliments Chalamet’s Willy Wonka in a way that feels like the start of their great adventure together. 

The Oompa Loompa isn’t the only one to deliver humor in Wonka, in fact a lot of other characters do. The three chocolatiers that Wonka goes head-to-head with offer some great comedic relief. They have a few singing parts, but the first one is by far the best. They are true villains, that the audience will without a doubt hate. Keagan Michael-Key, who plays the police officer tasked with keeping Wonka in line, is another funny character. Michael-Key is a comedian, and a fantastic one at that. His role this time around is no different. 

Oliva Coleman plays a bit of a villain herself. While we don’t want get into too much detail for fear of spoilers, just know that she really leans into the role she is there to play, and does so perfectly. She is hilarious for the most part, but also a tad creepy. 

wonka 2023 movie review

There is not one moment in Wonka that drags. Everything is well paced, with perfectly placed musical numbers to keep things on track. This movie is fun. It will have you dancing, singing, laughing, and crying. The set pieces are bright and colorful when needed, and dark and dreary at just the right times. It is apparent that a lot of effort went into Wonka from every single person who worked on it, which is why it is something truly special.

Wonka is a musical, magical, whimsical journey that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It is a family friendly film that fans of all ages will adore. Get ready to grin ear-to-ear as you soak in the fantastical origin story of a well loved character, Willy Wonka. The ending ties it into the well loved story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory just enough to make it nostalgic. Timothee Chalamet deserves all the awards for this one as he proves just how talented he already is at such a young age. 

Go on a magical, unforgettable, journey when Wonka hits theaters on December 15th.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NEXT: Dune (2021 Movie) Review: A Visually Stunning Massive Work Of Art

Wonka movie poster

About Wonka

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

Wonka hits theaters on December 15th. 

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[…] you are one of those who might be surprised by Wonka sing and dance, Tessa Smith’s review on Mom is a geek explains why this particular aspect is actually a good […]

Critics Have Seen Wonka, And The Timothée Chalamet Film Is Getting Both Sour And Sweet Reactions

Monday 4th of December 2023

[…] of the people who might be surprised by Wonka’s singing and dancing, Tessa Smith’s review on Mama’s Geeky explains why that particular aspect is actually a good […]

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