Wonka Review: Timothee Chalamet’s Magic Whips A World Of Pure Imagination

Wonka Review: Timothee Chalamet’s Magic Whips A World Of Pure Imagination

Timothee Chalamet, as the elfin and puckish Wonka, is innocence and charm personified.

Troy RibeiroUpdated: Friday, December 08, 2023, 03:54 PM IST
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Wonka Review: Timothee Chalamet’s Magic Whips A World Of Pure Imagination |

Director:  Paul King

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, Keegan Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, Natasha Rothwell,

Where: In theatres near you

Rating: 4 stars  

This musical fantasy film tells the origin story of Willy Wonka, a character in Roald Dahl’s novel- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was first published, in 1964.

The film has a dream-like sequence of events. It begins with the little magician Wonka on a ship, singing with joy, “After seven years on the sea…” when he spots land.

And ahoy! He settles in the unnamed city, hoping to make his fortune with the chocolate recipes invented by his mum (Sally Hawkins).

At the City Centre, his maiden attempt at selling his chocolates, is thwarted by the cartel of three unscrupulous chocolatiers- Slugworth, Fickelgruber, and Prodnose (Paterson Joseph, Mathew Baynton, and Matt Lucas), who hate competition.  The evil trio goes to great lengths to put a break to Wonka’s ambitions.

To make matters worse, the villainous Mrs. Scrubbit (Olivia Colman) and her lackey Bleacher (Tom Davis) trick Wonka. They trap him along with Abacus Crunch (Jim Carter), Lottie Bell (Rakhee Thakrar), Piper Benz (Natasha Rothwell), Larry Chucklesworth (Rich Fulcher) and the young orphan Noodle (Calah Lane) to serve out the rest of their lives in her laundry, forcing them to work to pay off a debt she fooled them into incurring.

The plot weaves a Dickensian adventure, creating an absorbing environment with fantastical elements that surpass reality. The narrative is full of heart, charm, and funny despite being outlandishly silly and flighty. How Wonka pursues his cocoa-based destiny with heroism and even confronts his enemies with the awful threat of Death by Chocolate forms the crux of the narrative.

On the performance front, Timothee Chalamet, as the elfin and puckish Wonka, is innocence and charm personified. He is endearing and effervescent in his demeanour. He is aptly supported by Calah Lane, who is fabulous as Noodle. Their beautiful bond of friendship is strikingly palpable on screen.

Olivia Colman and Tom Davis add layers of nuances to their stereotypical characters who oppress Wonka. Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa is funnily amusing, and Rowan Atkinson adds to his portfolio of inscrutable priests.

The songs in the film are distinctly paint-by-numbers. Each one is catchy and occasionally foot-tapping. The one that stands out is the duet between Wonka and his young protégé Noodle, as they embark on a magical journey, flying high above the city zoo and dancing on the rooftops.

On the other hand, ‘If You Have a Sweet Tooth,’ choreographed on the evil trio, appears camp.

The set and production designs by Nathan Crowley, the camera work, and the visual effects are all simply dazzling and impressive. The golden hue of the sepia tone adds to the warmth of the narrative.

To woo viewers of India and the Philippines- "Mumbai" and "Manila" are surreptitiously woven into the script.

Overall, this film is a good family entertainer.

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