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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Wonka"

Here is a tidbit for our US Empire members: when you go to a local store and buy Cadbury chocolates, you could be getting fooled and not know it.  When you buy that piece of chocolate, you may think it was made by the historic company in the U.K. and think that higher price is because of that, but what you are eating is actually made by the Hershey Company right here in the United States.  Due to a legal licensing agreement, real Cadburys made in the U.K. are not allowed to be sold here and in fact use different recipes, which I found out when my wife and I were recently overseas.  So when we came back, we literally brought back over 50 pounds of authentic Cadbury chocolates, so what better story to tell than getting into my thoughts on a story that is rumored to have been inspired by the Cadbury company in Wonka.


Paul King (Paddington) directs this prequel that features Timothee Chalamet, Calah Lane, Hugh Grant, Olivia Coleman, Peterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Jim Carter, and Keegan-Michael Key.  In this story, a young Willy Wonka (Chalamet) arrives in a town known for its chocolate with dreams of opening a shop of his own.  He has a knack for inventions and magic, but he puts his ability into trying to bring a good quality of chocolate to everyone instead of just the elite.  As he works his way towards his dream, he meets resistance by three other chocolate producers led by Arthur Slugworth (Joseph), who will do anything to stop Willy.  When his journey gets derailed a bit, he meets up with an orphan named Noodle (Lane) who helps Wonka in certain areas where he lacks.  He has his work cut out for him, but with his friends at his side anything is possible.


Let’s start with the biggest thing here featured in the trailers: the visuals are simply stunning, taking me back to my recent trip to London and could only imagine what it would have been like in the time this film takes place.  The sets enhanced this film so much along just the right amount of CGI and could be one of the best films I have seen this year in that regard and should be recognized for that alone.  The cast is good overall with no performances that lacked; nothing that I would guarantee as worth nominating, but they did not disappoint.  My shout-out does have to go to Lane, a relative newcomer who shows great emotional range and chemistry with Chalamet, who does a wonderful job with the music here (and that is a very important part of the film itself).


At just under two hours long, the script kept me interested is well-paced.  Just like the original 1971 film, Wonka has a good mix of music and story, which tends to be a tough thing for a film like this to do.  The original film will always hold a place in my heart (while the 2005 version did not), so when I heard they were doing a prequel, I was a bit skeptical.  However, after watching this one, I was very pleasantly surprised and have no real complaints.  Because of all of this, I will definitely recommend this film as a the coveted full price in the theaters with some kind of enhanced visual viewing like IMAX or Dolby Cinema.

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