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Wonka: Sweet or Sour?

Jaap Buittendijk
Timothee Chalamet on the set of “Wonka”.

For many, the idea of a new Willy Wonka spin-off after the 1971 classic was one to be excited for. Wonka, a movie about Wonka’s life pre-chocolate empire, hit theatres December 15th and took the media by storm. Starring Timothee Chalamet, the musical has many fun songs and cute moments. But, the question stands: did viewers leave Wonka with a sweet or sour taste in their mouth?

Wonka has a 7.3 rating on IMDb, has well as a 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is no doubt the general public loved it. Stated from a Google review by Tyler Skeen, “‘Wonka’ is one of if not the best use of complete creativity through the use of bizarre and unbelievable which is so precisely tied together with it’s fascinating characters and brilliant storylines,” Skeen said. Many believe that the Wonka movie was a perfect representation of Ronald Dahl’s whimsical world and story. And I agree that it’s a perfect movie to watch if you’re looking for a feel-good movie with little to no stress, just fun.

The story premise begins with Wonka, a young orphan man who is absolutely broke. He literally gives away all of his money in the beginning. However, he needs a place to stay. He finds a con-man who gives him a place to stay, which introduces the conflict of the story. He meets an orphan in the bed and breakfast, named Noodle, who becomes his sidekick in his journey to stardom.

As a teenage girl, I have had no shortage of Timothee Chalamet movies. I am such a huge fan of him, that I have watched every single movie in his discography. So if you need a person to tell you Chalamet is a great actor, let it be me. His performances in “Bones and All” and “Beautiful Boy” were some to be remembered. But “Wonka” was definitely spreading his horizons. All of Chalamets movies before this have been dramatic, emotional, and moving. Therefore, seeing him in a movie where he is purposely acting goofy and weird felt a little strange for me. I found myself sometimes cringing in my seat with the way he delivered his lines. And this hurts me to say, because I am the biggest fan of his. But I just don’t believe Chalamet fits the kid movie role that well.

That being said, it is important to remember who this movie is directed towards. Kids. I don’t think children have seen Chalamet’s other movies, or even know who he is. If I was a child watching this for the first time, I wouldn’t give a care for the way he delivers his lines. But for the teens or parents watching this, you may just have to take a sip of your Slurpee after seeing his animated movements and goofy facial expressions.

Now, it is no secret that this movie is a musical. I think it’s important for a musical to have at least one memorable song when you walk out of the theatre. For La La Land, it was “A Lovely Night,” and for Grease, it was “You’re the one that I want.” But for this movie, the only song I could find myself enjoying was “Scrub Scrub,” and the choreography really added to this piece. However, even that song I was not real impressed with. After watching this movie in theatres a couple weeks ago, I haven’t listened to any of the songs over again, or even thought to. But that doesn’t mean the music was horrible, just not real memorable to me.

Of course, I must point out all the things I loved about this film. First of all, it was extremely fun. If you like the “found family” trope or an adventure-packed movie, this one is perfect for you. There was plenty of good jokes that got me laughing in my seat. I do agree with the many people who say that Ronald Dahl’s spirit could be seen through this film. There was hardly any lack of CGI in this film, that’s for sure.

I also loved the characters. Not just Wonka, but his sidekick Noodle was also an interesting character with an interesting plot-twist on where she came from near the end. I won’t spoil, but I definitely did not see it coming. Both Noodle and Wonka’s characters made sense together and I found myself becoming emotionally connected to the characters.

The end of the movie ties together perfectly with the 1971 Willy Wonka story, and is very satisfying. I’m sure for many adults watching with their kids, they were able to get that nostalgic feeling when he finds the first golden ticket the finish off the movie.

So the final verdict: was Wonka sweet, or sour? Whether or not you describe this movie as good or bad depends on if you’re going to the movie for a fun time or if you’re going to be a harsh critic. For this review, I had to be a harsh critic, so I had to be very judgemental. But overall, I would say this was a very cute movie. Its supposed to be a kids movie, and I don’t think kids care very much about the cinematography of a movie or the development of characters or a plot. So I would say give it a try if you’re looking for a fun family movie night.

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About the Contributor
Grace Jenkins
Grace Jenkins, Reporter
Grace Jenkins is a first year Newspaper staff writer. She is a senior at Utica High School and is in Utica's Student Council Executive Board, Utica's NHS, and Varsity tennis. In her free time, Grace enjoys hanging out with friends and creating art.

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