Timothee Chalamet can sing and not struggle while doing it in Wonka. The actor is quite comfortable and charming, as he does it all.
Timothee Chalamet played Willy Wonka when he was a charming young man with excellent singing abilities, aspirations in his eyes, and a group of friends he made during his difficult times. Together, they disrupted the chocolate business in pre-war Paris and even won hearts by showing the greedy elites their place.
Willy Wonka as a character has been complex forever. In Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Willy is a wicked man who deals in chocolate, but what also peeps out of him is the charm that he probably once exuded. Many of us thought there had to be a story—a story that looked at him in times when he was more charming than eccentric and the world wasn’t looking at him with mixed emotions but only love. Paddington's fame and Paul King’s gaze are exactly doing that. It makes you travel back in time to the roots and shows you the Wonka who sang ballads of life—a life straight out of dreams.
Written by Paul with Simon Farnaby and based on Roald Dahl’s original work, Wonka takes you back in time to the young days of Willy Wonka when he ended his time in the sea and decided to open a shop in the chocolate hub of the world to show the world his magnificent art of making chocolates. What makes Wonka a winner is the fact that Paul and his associates are not on any bus to evolve the material or marinate it in current times. Even if they add a couple of elements that feel like they were added for representation, nothing in the frame screams about it; rather, they let it be and breathe normal.
They keep the story simple enough and enhance the characters instead of adding complex elements, making them entertain us and make us root for them. There is so much in Wonka but it is so cleverly decorated. A movie about a chocolatier trying to fight a cartel to achieve his dream. For kids watching it, there are colours, evil characters to be beaten, and songs that are beautiful in all aspects, be it the visuals, the tune, or the lyrics. For adults, the movie talks of corruption, greed, and pressing have-nots to walk. A rich French chocolatier puked at every mention of ‘poor’. “The greedy beat the needy every time,” says Noodle (Calah Lane). That is the simplicity that attracts and hooks one to Wonka. It's something for everyone but never overstuffed.
What seemed like a miscast during the announcement now seems perfect. Timothee Chalamet can sing and does not struggle while doing it; he is quite comfortable. His charm is beautiful and his screen presence is vibrant. I would have loved to see him dance more, though. Calah as Noodle is confident. She balances the OTT with her subtlety almost every time. Olivia Colman can never go wrong and Mrs Scrubbit belongs to her. What a performance! Hugh Grant’s Oompa–Loompa is a short orange man with a good sense of humor and nothing more this time though.
However, Wonka is not bulletproof. While the first half is like whisking chocolate with conviction to achieve that glaze, the second half is running with its fastest shoes on. It is only convinced to tell you the story at one point and never really stay with it for a very big chunk. The plot almost wants to forget that Willy Wonka did go bad after a point and the evil in him never peeps. At the end of the day, we have seen the future where he is attached to enslaving kids. But Timothee Chalamet’s Wonka doesn’t bother showing even a bit of the tragedy that hardened the softest heart in Paris.
What needs a special mention is Joby Talbot’s music, which blends into this screenplay so organically. There is no forced attempt to make it Disney-like. It is original and that kind of triggers everything in a good direction on the camera and behind it too.
End of the day, Wonka is a movie that leaves a sweet aftertaste after it has ended. You sit in the seat with a smile as he does a trick to turn on the lights in the cinema hall. It’s rewarding, calming, and feels like a warm hug when it ends. That is exactly what a holiday movie is supposed to be like.
Wonka Final Verdict:
Wonka is a charming movie that defines what a December film should be like. Timothee Chalamet fits the part and walks through it with a very beautiful ease. You can book your tickets right now.