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  • Writer's pictureKen Silvers


The character of Willy Wonka has appeared on the big screen in two films, one released in 1971 and the other in 2005. The character is back in "Wonka", starring the actor who has taken the box office by storm, Timothee Chalamet. The new film is described as a musical/fantasy/comedy, and it certainly fits the bill. The film is the story of Wonka's early days before his chocolate factory, and he is presented as an aspiring inventor, chocolatier and musician. Wonka arrives at the  Galeries Gourmet, full of businesses selling chocolate, with the desire to start his own house of chocolate. After he arrives, Wonka and his small savings soon depart, and he is taken to Mrs. Scrubitt's (Olivia Colman) boarding house by a henchman. As he is signing a contract to stay at the boarding house, Wonka is warned by an orphan named Noodle (Calah Lane) that he should read the fine print on the papers. Wonka signs on without reading the contract, and will pay the price. When he is able to leave the boarding house, he goes to the area of city where the chocolate store are to introduce "hoverchocs", a chocolate that causes people to float. After the demonstration, Wonka sells out of the magical chocolate, but has his earnings taken by rival chocolatiers Slugworthn (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucas) and Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton). The rival chocolatiers are so jealous and threatened by Wonka they have the corrupt Chief of Police  (Keagan-Michael Key) aid in the confiscation of Wonka's earnings. After all his earnings are taken, Wonka is unable to pay the high fees of staying at the boarding house, and is forced to work in Scrubbitt's laundry with Noodles and several other captives. While working in the laundry, Wonka reveals his late mother was the inspiration for his chocolate, and believes his creations are being stolen by a mysterious little orange man, which is discovered to be Lofty (Hugh Grant), an Oompa Loompa, mischievous small humans who love cocoa beans and love to play practical jokes. Meanwhile, the city's "chocolate cartel", threatened by Wonka's more affordable and better chocolate, uses the  chocolate loving Chief of Police to intimidate Wonka. While in the boarding house, Noodles has been teaching the illiterate Wonka to read, and the two devise a plan to take down the cartel and the corrupt police chief. Of course the plan is successful and Wonka and his friends open the chocolate store he has always dreamed of. However, unable to use the police to continue to intimidate Wonka, the cartel sabotages Wonka's chocolate, resulting in the destruction of Wonka's store, and his forced departure from the city. Despite being forced out of the city, Wonka and his boarding house friends devise a plan to take down the crooked cartel, which proved successful, even resulting in a reunion between Noodles and her long lost mother. After his success, Wonka is able to turn an abandoned castle into his soon to be famous chocolate factory, with Lofty as his tasting chef. While the film does contain musical numbers, they are not overused, and add to the colorfulness of the film. The film is magical, has plenty of humor and heart in revealing Wonka's origin. While Chalamet isn't  the best singer in the world, he is fine in his vocal efforts and makes the film flow with his charm and charisma. "Wonka" is a blast of eye candy the entire family can enjoy. (Rated PG)



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