Pen To Paper: Step Into The Imagination Of 'Wonka', Where Dreams Come To Life In Musical Splendor

Pen To Paper: Step Into The Imagination Of 'Wonka', Where Dreams Come To Life In Musical Splendor

Through vibrant musical numbers and a stellar cast, the film brings a fresh twist to the beloved character's origins, offering a joyous and scrumptious cinematic experience for all.

Dhruv DhakanUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 06:49 PM IST
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Dhruv Dhakan | Special Arrangement

Genius. Traveller. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Ever since the print release of Roald Dahl’s 1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, every one of these qualities has been highlighted in each iteration of the character of Willy Wonka, from Gene Wilder’s engaging yet quietly threatening version to Johnny Depp’s kooky and slightly disturbing interpretation.

Here, with Timothée Chalamet donning the familiar purple robe, top hat, and cane, we see the wide-eyed, uncynical, and unflappable Wonka, imbued with so much hope and optimism that you may need a visit to the dentist after you absorb the saccharine sentiments he spouts throughout his 100 minutes on screen.

But let’s get one thing straight: Wonka is a lovely movie. In a post-Christmas world, this is a film that will lift your spirits and give you the sugar rush that only a satisfying trip to the big screen can provide. Such is Chalamet’s Wonka’s zest for life and passion for positivity, even those most foisted upon by the January blues will have their hard hearts melted.

Though it might be hard to believe, Wonka is even more fantastical than any of its predecessors. In this almost-an-origin story, the titular character arrives in a city most akin to Victorian London, seeking to make his fortune after seven years at sea. However, such is the enchantment on show, it is safer to assume that the events of Wonka take place in an alternate universe, where magic and impromptu musical numbers are parts of daily life.

In fact, it is important to point out that this film is far more of a musical than its 1971 and 2005 counterparts. The songs here are similar to those in other recent musical successes, such as The Greatest Showman: romping, stomping numbers that both progress and elevate the story being told.

Including a gleeful cast, notably the wonderfully villainous pair of Olivia Colman and Tom Davis, as well as the delightfully devious Paterson Joseph (playing Wonka’s nemesis, Slugworth), the run-time zips by, with barely a breath taken between each act.

It will come as no surprise to those that have seen director Paul King’s other works, particularly the Paddington films, that there is little-to-no time for negativity, nor insight into how the character might develop into the older, darker, and more frustrated man we have seen in previous films. King himself has described this film as a companion piece to the Gene Wilder vehicle, which is partially evident. However, how Wonka goes from an excitable, infectious, and sociable young man to a recluse and a raging capitalist (as well as potential child murderer) is not explored in any fashion.

This might be for the best. Wonka is not seeking to stimulate questions for, nor suggest answers to, the mysteries and vagueries of the famous/infamous chocolatier. It simply exists as a joyous, scrumptious, and irrepressible creation. Therefore, my advice is short, sweet, and simple: buy a golden ticket and come with Wonka into its world of imagination.

(This review is part of the winning reviews published in the Pen to Paper contest hosted by The Free Press Journal annually . This exclusive contest is open to teenagers only)

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