At The Movies: Wonka is whimsical and charming, thanks to star Timothee Chalamet

2 months ago 60

Wonka (PG)

116 minutes, opens on Dec 64 stars

The story: Willy Wonka’s (Timothee Chalamet) dreams of becoming a chocolatier begin when his mother (Sally Hawkins) introduces him to an amazing seed called the cocoa bean. Young Wonka travels to Gallery Gourmet, a place that sells the world’s best chocolate, to set up shop. But he meets much resistance from a despicable chocolate cartel.

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination...”

The song Pure Imagination is an apt opening number for this musical fantasy.

The origin story of Willy Wonka is dreamt up by director Paul King of the acclaimed Paddington movies (2014 and 2017), and is set years before Wonka became the great chocolate magician adored by readers of British author Roald Dahl’s classic book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

This is the third cinematic iteration of the king of confectionery.

Gene Wilder’s Wonka in 1971’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was colourful and cheery, while Johnny Depp went dark and weird in Tim Burton’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005).

The pressure is on Chalamet to not mess up a beloved character – and he delivers and carries the film.

The young American-French actor is genuinely charming with his fresh interpretation of Wonka. He delivers a balanced mix of naivety, optimism and wonder in one neat package.

The dandy star looks the part too and, in some ways, he resembles the Wonka that Quentin Blake illustrated in Dahl’s books.

Chalamet’s singing voice may sound a tad thin at times, but the Oscar nominee, who rose to fame in Call Me By Your Name (2017) and starred in Dune (2021), proves he can hold a tune. 

He is supported by a stellar ensemble cast. Oscar-winner...

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