FILM REVIEW - Wonka
By The Masked Medic
I really don’t like the winter, because it’s so cold and tough to convince yourself to do anything other than stay cozy in your warm bed. However, occasionally spontaneous plans push you out of your bed and off to the cinema to see a film. To be honest, there were lots of films out, but I just didn’t have the urge to see any of them, until my sister said that we should go and watch ‘Wonka’, a film that her and my brother did rave about!
‘Wonka’ tells the story of infamous chocolate inventor, Willy Wonka, but long before he is known for the mystical factory that he sets up. Our titular character arrives in a small town, looking to get his first shop at the ‘Galeries Gourmet’, a place known for its chocolate. However, his naivety leads to trouble on the first night in the town when he finds himself swindled at the hostel he was staying. Forced to pay off a ridiculous debt to the owner of the hostel, Mrs Scrubitt, Wonka, enlists the help of the young orphan, Noodle, who is also trapped in debt to Mrs Scrubitt, to help him leave the basement of the hostel every day in order for him to go and sell his chocolate at the Galeries Gourmet. Here, Wonka, fails again to comprehend the nature of the people around him, as the heads of the other chocolate companies do everything they can to stop him, even resorting to enlisting the help of the police. Despite these setbacks, he is able to find some trustworthy friends, amongst Mrs Scrubitt’s prisoners, and they come up with a plan to pay of their debts. Although Willy Wonka, is clearly a genius and able to think of the most fantastical ideas, his friends help to make his dream come true. Can Wonka and his friends outdo the competition, and free themselves of their debt? Or will the people conspiring against him find the perfect way to end his shenanigans?
Me and my siblings were recently talking about the generation of actors coming up now, and amongst the group, one actor stands out above the others. That person is of course Timothée Chalamet. Chalamet is trying and succeeding in throwing himself into roles that are a bit different and that was clearly his aim with Wonka. He brings a natural charm to the role and his singing is very good. Top marks. Alongside him was 14-year-old Calah Lane as Noodle. Genuinely, I thought she was a lot older as the nuances of her acting were superb. She may have a bright future ahead in this business too. The film is not devoid of big names either. Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Matt Lucas are amongst the supporting cast and all play roles that honestly, I’d not have picked for them, but the genius of Paul King (the director) did. It’s tough to pick a standout role but as far as supporting roles go, I did really enjoy seeing Keegan Michael-Key as the Police Chief. Whilst his partner in comedy Jordan Peele is creating horror classics, Keegan has really taken to the acting gig and I thought he was fantastic in this!
So my actual thoughts on the film. My brother and sister went to watch this before me, and I love getting their opinion on stuff, because we all have varied tastes sometimes. They thought the film was great and needed to be seen in the cinema, which is why I was dragged along by my sister when she went to watch it a second time. ‘Wonka’ is no doubt a fantastic feel good film. The characters shine bright, and the acting is good. At no point during the film did I feel like I was bored or didn’t want to be there. That being said, where the film excels in its characters, I personally felt that it lacked an oomph(a-Loompha Ha!) in its story. Clearly I don’t mean the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s work who was clearly one of the greatest children’s author ever. I mean that whereas I did enjoy the film, I’m not sure it was anything to jump up and shout about. I realise that opinion may be a little controversial, but it is mine, and I’m just trying to be honest with you guys!
In a world where films have become quite polarised in the techniques used to create the film, Wonka stands clearly in the middle. There has been fantastic work done to create physical sets and scenes, but the film is adept in its usage of CGI, often using it as an additional bonus, rather than relying on it solely. This does add I think to the quality of the film. We also cannot ignore the musical aspect of ‘Wonka’ with many characters putting in excellent singing performances. Without giving away spoilers, although many of you may have already heard it, there is a song at the end of the film, sung by Chalamet that really acts as a ribbon on the present that was this film. Overall, this was a fun watch, with some good performances. Where the story lacks punch, the creators have done well to excel in the cinematographical and musical aspects!