Wonka review – Timothée Chalamet’s Chocolate Factory prequel is a superbly sweet treat – The Guardian

On paper, it’s the worst potential concept: a brand new musical-prequel origin delusion for Willy Wonka, the reclusive top-hatted chocolatier from Roald Dahl’s 1964 youngsters’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit, who decides within the onset of center age to supply 5 Golden Tickets at random for youths to look spherical his secret confectionery paradise, staffed by a slave labour workforce of Oompa-Loompas. However within the fingers of Brit-cinema’s new kings of comedy, author Simon Farnaby and writer-director Paul King (who’ve already labored their magic on Paddington), this pre-Wonka is an absolute Christmas deal with; it’s spectacular, imaginative, sweet-natured and humorous.

Timothée Chalamet is attraction itself because the younger Wonka who involves prewar Paris as a younger man after a quaintly conceived life on the ocean wave, decided to make his fortune with the chocolate recipes invented by his mum (performed by Sally Hawkins). He’s a chocolate disruptor, shaking up the stagnant chocolate enterprise along with his new chocolatey concepts; he faces cruelty and imprisonment however wins out with the assistance of recent pals.

Chalamet is elfin and puckish, unworldly and possessed of a Paddingtonian innocence and attraction – and a pleasant singing voice – with out being unbearable. This very slender determine doesn’t truly do a lot chocolate-eating himself, by the way, clearly preferring to not get excessive on his personal provide. He pursues his cocoa-based future with heroism, lastly confronting the villains’ terrible menace of Dying by Chocolate. What are Farnaby and King going to do subsequent, I’m wondering? A prequel for CS Lewis’s White Witch, as a bit of lady wandering saucer-eyed round a “Delight” sweetmeat manufacturing facility in Turkey?

Hugh Grant after all comes near pinching the entire thing as the unique Oompa-Loompa, the keeper of the chocolate flame, digitally decreased to 12 inches excessive; he’s haughty and entitled and given to explaining himself in a type of tribal-musical show (“I can’t cease now, I’ve gone into the dance”). Olivia Colman and Tom Davis are the fierce Sweeney Todd-ish couple who oppress poor Wonka; there may be additionally nice stuff from Matt Lucas, Paterson Joseph and Matthew Baynton because the Boggis-Bunce-and-Bean-type trio of creepy chocolate overlords who resent Wonka’s fantastic new creations. Rowan Atkinson provides to his career-gallery of inscrutable clergymen; Calah Lane is super as Willy’s pal Noodle; Jim Carter is sweetly beguiling as Wonka’s smart ally and forensic accountant Abacus Crunch; Keegan-Michael Key triggers massive laughs because the chocoholic chief of police; and Phil Wang will get a dance quantity with Chalamet.

However how about what we already knew of grownup Wonka? What put the ocean salt into the chocolate bar? What occurred to him as a younger man to show him into the considerably ambiguous, even sinister grownup determine with a streak of Dahlian cruelty, who’s content material to punish grasping, beastly, sweet-gobbling youngsters with an terrible destiny? (In reality, Wonka just isn’t so very removed from one other of Dahl’s creations, the candy-wielding Baby Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.) Nicely, this movie doesn’t reply that query and behaves as if it doesn’t exist. Wonka is simply very nice. Finish of story.

Maybe Farnaby and King will make Wonka 2, through which one thing occurs to bitter our younger hero, simply the tiniest bit, turning him in opposition to a few of his younger sweet-toothed buyer base. I hope not as, regardless of the additional spoonful sugar within the combine, I’ve to say … whisper it … I loved this greater than both of the 2 earlier filmed variations, with Gene Wilder in 1971 and Johnny Depp in 2005. It provides the chocolate-endorphins.

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