The word is out. Wonka is actually good! That is according to the reviews. The film is at 80%% and climbing on the fruit-based review website. The Paul King-directed prequel to the much-loved 1971 Gene Wilder version, known as Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, wisely ignores the existence of the Tim Burton effort. Here are some reviews:

“Sweet yet never saccharine, their hyper-stylized portrait is not only powered by the pure imagination that inspires the songs’ spectacle, but it’s also filled with audacious flourishes of charm, whimsy, and poignancy.”

Courteney Howard, AV Club

“This may not be Paul King’s most satisfying film, but even at a scale – or at least a budget – several times larger than that of ‘Paddington 2,’ the purity of its imagination remains unquestionable.”

David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Wonka is, in fact, a lively, winsome pleasure, a film decidedly aimed at children that nonetheless incorporates some dark matter.”

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“Wonka exists in a world where cynicism and detached irony don’t exist. From its candy-colored visuals to its dazzling musical numbers, the movie dares you not to get swept up in its rapturous glee.”

Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

“Like any sweet treat, the film provides significant satisfaction, even if too much of its whimsy could give you a bit of a tummy ache. But it sure is tasty.”

Tim Grierson, Screen

“Paul King again proves himself a masterful engineer of imaginary worlds, and it’s the meticulous attention to detail that makes Wonka so captivating.”

Derek Smith, Slant Magazine


It’s not all praise though. One or two reviews pull out some negatives:

“Even if it’s plausible that the young Wonka might not have developed the arrogant authoritarian side of the character as conceived by Dahl, Willy feels neutered here, stripped of any edge that might have made him interesting.”

David Rooney, THR

The film stars Timothee Chalamet as Willy Wonka, with Calah Lane, Olivia Colman, Rowan Atkinson, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Paterson Joseph, Natasha Rothwell, Jim Carter and Sally Hawkins, whilst Hugh Grant looks like he will steal the show as an Oompa Loompa.

Wonka tells a story set around 25 years earlier than the novel before he became the famed chocolate factory owner. When Wonka opens a chocolate shop using the knowledge of sweets he has amassed from his travels, he soon finds himself facing the dangerous Chocolate Cartel of Mr. Prodnose, Mr. Fickelgruber, and Mr. Slugworth.

Wonka is set to open in cinemas everywhere on December 15th, the same day Reacher comes out on Amazon Prime.

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