Movie Review: Wonka

Look at this! I’m reviewing a movie that’s not years and years old! I know, you’re shocked. In truth, I’m really feeling like I’d like to switch back to some movie watching again instead of series, though the trick is that I’m in the middle of a number of series, so I’m not sure when I’ll actually be able to switch. But anyway, on to the review.

When I first heard about Wonka, I was skeptical. It seemed like it was mostly likely just another money grab based on nostalgia. I love the Gene Wilder original, so monkeying around with it wasn’t something I was too keen to see. But I’d generally heard good things, and so when it came on Max for streaming, we gave it a shot last week as a family.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It didn’t try to be the original, or even be too connected to it at all. You’ve got the costume, a couple of the melodies, a bit of the design, and then the name “Willy Wonka.” So enough that it was more of a sly wink to the original than something you wanted to spend a lot of time figuring out just how it is that Oompa Loompas ended up being three times as large by the time Gene Wilder takes on the role.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see all the musical numbers, as I wasn’t sure just how much of a musical they’d make it. The music was solid, though of course it’s hard to compare it to the original, when I know all the original music numbers by heart. (Except for Cheer Up Charlie, of course. I hate that song, and I still fast forward through it.) Chalamet has a surprisingly good voice, to the point that I had to double check it was him singing. (Why didn’t they make Dune a musical? Talk about missed opportunities! I can just see the singing and dancing sandworm now . . . )

In the end, it’s a fun story with a good cast, and a very solid recommendation for any family movie night. I gave it an 8.5/10. It didn’t really have anything that vaulted it up to the “I want to watch this again sometime soon” level, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a rewatch in a few years.

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