- Timothée Chalamet’s performance in Wonka is praised as his best, with his singing and dancing adding to the movie’s magical and enchanting atmosphere.
- Critics describe Wonka as a spectacular, imaginative, and sweet-natured film that brings just the right amount of sweetness to the story of the master chocolatier’s early years.
- While some had issues with the plot and the portrayal of Willy Wonka, Wonka is still seen as a buoyantly cheerful film with fun musical numbers and an excellent supporting cast.
The reviews for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel Wonka are now. So, is the movie from Paddington director Paul King a new holiday favorite? Or does all the singing and dancing from star Timothée Chalamet far too sweet to satisfy? Well, according to the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Wonka is a delicious cinematic treat, with the movie now sitting at a promising 81%. Now, let’s see what the critics had to say…
We begin with MovieWeb’s own Julian Roman, who heaps praise on Timothée Chalamet in the lead role and does indeed declare that Wonka is “destined to become a new holiday favorite.”
“Wonka delights like a yummy cup of cocoa topped with whipped cream and colorful rainbow sprinkles. You can’t help but smile as Timothée Chalamet, in his best performance, sings and dances up a cotton candy storm on his magical quest to become a renowned chocolatier. His perpetually upbeat disposition transforms the lives of kooky characters in an enchanting setting. The film is a ray of happiness that may be destined to become a new holiday favorite.”
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian awards Wonka a perfect 5/5, and sums up his feelings by simply saying…
“It’s spectacular, imaginative, sweet-natured and funny.”
AV Club’s Courtney Howard, meanwhile, commends Wonka for bringing just the right amount of sweetness to this tale of the early years of the master chocolatier.
“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.”
Another 5/5 comes courtesy of Robbie Collin of Daily Telegraph, who praises director Paul King for mixing together the perfect ingredients to appeal to both a wide audience and those looking for something a little richer.
“Like any good chocolatier, King has obsessively focused on texture and flavour. And it’s those qualities – tuned to mass-market tastes, yet held in connoisseurish balance – that give his film its irresistible velvety sweetness.”
Collider’s Ross Bonaime had some issues with the plot, but was ultimately swept up in the buoyant cheerfulness of Wonka, praising a “fantastic” performance from Chalamet.
“Wonka is a bit shaggy, with too many moving parts, but its spirit and its optimism—and a fantastic performance by Chalamet—make up for the film’s weaknesses.”
Wonka Lands in Theaters Next Week
- Release Date
- December 15, 2023
- Paul King
- Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson
- Roald Dahl, Simon Farnaby, Paul King
Sadly, not everyone was a fan, with David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter finding major issues with the depiction of Willy Wonka, and longing for something more interesting.
“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.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, meanwhile, enjoyed Wonka, but only up to a point…
““Wonka” makes you feel good, but it never makes you levitate.”
Finally, Mae Abdulbaki of Screen Rant praised the musical numbers, but concluded that the building blocks of Wonka are too wobbly.
“Though it has its merits, an excellent supporting cast & fun musical numbers, Wonka wobbles in its journey & storylines while remaining heartfelt.”
Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, Wonka tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, Olivia Colman, newcomer Calah Lane, and Hugh Grant, Wonka is due to hit theaters on 15 December 2023. Check out the Wonka trailer below:
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