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“Wonka” Review

An exciting new take on a beloved classic

“Wonka” came out on Dec. 14 and received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and the public alike. Timothée Chalamet stars in the new Warner Bros. film, the third adaptation of the beloved story of Willy Wonka. At the new year, Wonka had grossed $140.5 million domestically and an estimated $384.8 million worldwide finishing the year as the number-one film currently in theaters. As a Willy Wonka fan who was disappointed with Johnny Depp’s take on the historic character in 2005, I was cautiously hopeful for Willy Wonka’s prequel reincarnation.

“Wonka” tells the origin story of Mr. Willy Wonka, a character featured in Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The film written and directed by Paul King follows two previous Wonka-central films: “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” which was released in 1971 starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” which was released in 2005 starring Johnny Depp in the same role. Both films focus mainly on the story told by Dahl and are mainly focused on Wonka’s life after he came to meet Charlie Bucket. Although the 2005 retelling discusses Wonka’s backstory, it is a much different story than the 2023 film. 

Throughout the film, Wonka (played by Chalamet) is joined by a motley crew of misfits as he launches his chocolate career. Chalamet shares the screen with Calah Lane who gives a compelling performance as a young orphan named Noodle. Wonka finds friends in unexpected places as his trusting nature gets him in some unfortunate situations many times throughout the film. One of the film’s most captivating qualities is its use of magical realism as we have seen it as a pillar of the Wonka brand in every one of its iterations. 

Personally, I loved the retelling of the classic and the way it built a completely new world while still incorporating core values from previous books and films. Not only did this adaptation surpass my expectations but I might even say it comes close to rivaling the original. I almost surprise myself by saying this as someone whose family has been devout “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” fans since I can remember with decals of Willy Wonka quotes adorning our walls and a framed movie poster hanging in our hallway. With all that being said the cinematography and meaningful tie-ins to past movies are part of what made me love this movie so much. All in all, if you’re planning on going to the movies or have no plans but want something to do I would definitely recommend going to see Wonka.

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About the Contributor
Kyrie Garwood, Journalist
Kyrie is a junior at Community and is in her first semester on staff. When she's not at CHS you can probably find her at Pioneer where she dives, plays basketball, and plays softball. On the rare occasion, she's not at Pioneer she enjoys going to the movies with friends, playing Euchre, and working as a lifeguard at Vet's Pool. Kyrie is eager to write and share important stories about those in our community.

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