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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Movies with Tarek – ‘Wonka’

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There is innovation leading to success around every corner in Wonka.

Some may wonder how Timothee Chalamet compares to the previous performances of Willy Wonka. The true performance will always be Gene Wilder, and Johnny Depp did an acceptable job in the role. Chalamet is wonderful playing Willy given the backstory which is emphasized in this version.

Wonka is not so much about golden tickets, but instead about Willy’s fascination with chocolate. No one plays the role of a young man with motivation better than Chalamet. He can sing and presents positivity in many unexpected moments. In his role as Willy, he thrives on changing the world through his vision. His goals bring joy and laughter to the senses in Wonka.

With its unique approach and focus, Wonka feels like an interactive experience. Expect trials, errors, and success. While Willy might appear to be lacking talent and skills, he is gifted when it comes to chocolate. A “LIFETIME SUPPLY OF CHOCOLATE,” is what the audience will feel throughout the films journey through a world of sweetness, sugar, and a whirlwind of laughter and appreciation.

The writing and narrative of Wonka brings appreciation to what innovation in life can truly mean. As the saying from the classic song goes, “IF YOU WANT TO VIEW PARADISE, SIMPLY LOOK AROUND AND VIEW IT.” The vivid colors are seen blissfully through the eyes of director Paul King whose approach with Wonka is one for the ages. He takes what the audience knows from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and puts together a magical pre-story for Wonka. This film is an imaginative experience which caused me to boil over with happiness.

The film begins with Chalamet imagining his own success. Sadly, however, it is all in his head. He is presented as someone who is poor, like the presentation of Charlie Bucket from the previous films, only this is Willy’s story. Willy strolls through the streets and is always trying to sell his chocolate and find support for his craft. He faces a challenge when he finds himself a slave due to debt issues. The evil landlord is Mrs. Scrubitt who is played by Olivia Colman. Despite Willy’s unfortunate situation he meets a young girl named Noodle who is played by Calah Lane. She helps Willy navigate what he needs to do to make his dreams come true given his love for chocolate. There are many obstacles along the way, but Wonka is more exciting than the audience anticipates it will be.

The characters Wonka creates the perfect dynamic for humor. Hugh Grant’s performance and dialogue defines the Oompa-Loompa attitude with class. The song everyone knows with the Oompa-Loompa provides meaning that will make audiences laugh with joy. This is one of Grant’s most creative, yet quirky performances as he plays the serious and opinionated Oompa-Loompa.

There is also Slugworth who is played by Paterson Joseph. This character has always been known to be the enemy of the franchise. However, in Wonka he is given more of a backstory that clicks with the wonders of the film. There is also Father Julius who is played by Rowan Atkinson. In this role, he is back playing the absent-minded character the audience recognizes him to be, i.e., a bit like Mr. Bean going to church. Only in this church, there are many associations with chocolate and its father is unaware of the catastrophes lurking in thisgrandeur of sweetness.

Finally, there is Willy’s mother who is played by Sally Hawkins. Hawkins’ performance is brief, but she plays the most empathetic mother. The cast’s impressive performances of both good and evil are what creates the dynamics that make the magical world of Wonka unexpected and surreal.

It is a film which inspires people of all ages. Through the eyes of Chalamet, Wonka sends a message that anyone can pursue their dreams… even when they do not realize it. The movie also delivers a vibe of connection and a spirit of love that is captivating. There is also a sense of disconnect that seeks redemption. Chalamet is one of the most inspiring Willy Wonka characters which makes Wonka shine with unforgettable magic.

In the film, Willy’s mother tells him, “Every good thing in this world, started with a dream, so hold onto yours.” Willy’s dream started long ago. It began with Wilder, then again with Depp, but it goes way back with Chalamet. The beginning of this legacy soars for Chalamet. Although cheesy in moments, it is one positive ride. I connected with the film, and I know many others will too.

Three out of four stars for Wonka.

 

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Tarek Fayoumi
Tarek Fayoumihttp://movieswithtarek.com
Tarek Fayoumi is the creator and lead critic of movieswithtarek.com. He also contributes to Medium.com, is an approved critic of Bananameter, and a member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC) and Independent Film Critics of America.

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