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How Willy Became Wonka

Timothée Chalamet on set of Wonka

“Only Wonka’s chocolate makes your confidence sky-rocke-let!” This sweet new prequel starring Timothée Chalamet, Chalah Lane, and Keegan-Michael Key is still hitting record-breaking numbers in the box office after its release last December. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s Wonka books, but not beholden to them, director Paul King’s prequel is a musical-comedy highlighting how Willy became “Wonka”. The performances, costumes, songs, and choreography are just a small part of what made this movie as magical as it was. Willy (Timothée Chalamet) and Noodle (Calah Lane) partner up and set out on an adventure. They help Willy get started in the chocolate business, but also break him free from Mrs. Scrubbit and her partner, Bleacher. Who have trapped Willy, Noodle, and several others in the basement of their shop (Entertainment.com). 


The story starts by introducing a young Willy with a dream to open up his own chocolate shop in the Galerie Gourmet. Unfortunately, this square is ruled over by three all-powerful businessmen: Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucas), and Fickelgruber (Matthew Banton) who control the manufacturing and distribution of all things chocolate. They hold power over the police force in this city and will stop at nothing to get rid of Willy and any others who get in their way of being the top chocolatiers. The central storyline follows young Wonka as he recruits all of the others trapped at Scrubbit’s shop to launch his chocolate business and set them free from Scrubbit’s (IMDb). 


In an interview with Mrs. Manzo she said that: “Overall, I liked the film very much and thought that it was quite entertaining. The characters were quirky and unique; the actors portrayed them well. The storyline did not fully follow the expectations I had for a prequel to Willy Wonka. I grew up watching the original with Gene Wilder and reading Dahl’s book. I know both stories quite well and felt that Willy’s storyline with his mom seemed invented as well as the way he meets the oompa loompas. I watched the trailer before I went to see the entire film and I’m not going to lie, I was worried about Timothee Chalamet as Willy. He seemed forced and that he would overact the part. However, I was really presently surprised at his ability to sing, dance, and act. It is a fun movie, and credit goes to Chalamet for making it so.”


Sam Ornstein, a senior here at Ramapo, shared his reviews of Wonka:  “I went into the film with an optimistic view. Visually the film was stunning, and I was generally entertained; but taking out the visual side and some comedic aspects, I thought the film itself was a bit bland at some points.” Sam says “Casting Timothée Chalamet in my opinion as the infamous Willy Wonka was not the greatest choice. His overall performance felt like there was definitely more to be accomplished with the character. In other words, his performance didn’t feel finalized. However, if you are interested in the “Willy Wonka” tale, definitely go check this new adaptation out and be prepared for a movie full of surprises!” 

Wonka is a sugary sweet from start to finish. The film captures that magic touch of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale and brings it to life in a way that is both nostalgic and refreshing. With its spectacular visuals, stellar performances, and heartwarming story, it is truly a cinematic treat. Grab your golden ticket and head on over to a world of pure imagination!

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