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The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The return of Willy Wonka… Or is it really?

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
Wonka movie poster

Roughly 20 years after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the beloved character Willy Wonka has returned to the big screen. On Dec. 15, Warner Bros. film Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet and directed by Paul King was released in theaters across the United States.

With a successful opening night of $57.6 million in ticket sales, fans across the nation tuned in to see a childhood classic reimagined. However, to our disappointment, Wonka did not live up to the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or the 2005 Johnny Depp remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

With the theater buzzing with anticipation moments prior to the film’s opening, the atmosphere was instantly deflated within seconds of the film’s commencement.

To our horror, unlike the original, Wonka was more song than speech. Although the 1971 version is considered a musical masterpiece, the songs were dispersed throughout the film, making room for much-needed plot buildup. In comparison, a majority of the 2023 take depicted Chalamet as Wonka, singing and dancing across the screen for almost all of the two-hour movie.

Unlike others in the franchise, Wonka is focused solely on Wonka’s backstory, showing how he became a well-known chocolatier. Throughout the movie, Wonka goes through several hardships that put his dream on the back burner, creating a message of perseverance and the importance of pursuing one’s passions. While the message of never giving up on your dreams is impactful, we found it hard to look past the moments and songs that made us cringe.

As we watched the movie, we felt that each song interrupted the plot and took away from the movie’s positive aspects. The creative sets, classic costumes and Chalamet’s spectacular performance were the highlights of the film. Following in the franchise’s footsteps, Chalamet donned a take on Wonka’s famous purple cloak along with many other colorful fashion choices. In addition to the costumes, some of the songs resembled the past films, like “Oompa Loompa,” which was played when Wonka had his first encounter with one.

Although this movie may be enjoyable for a first-time audience of the Wonka universe, for those who have been long-time fans and wanted to see Wonka in hopes of nostalgia, it may be best to sit this one out.

For fans of the franchise who wish to save themselves from two hours of endless singing and corny dance numbers, we suggest that you plan to rewatch classic 1971 version or the 2005 Johnny Depp version instead.

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