November 29, 2023
Critics Wowed by Timothée Chalamet's Sweet Turn in 'Wonka'
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.
Doubters who recall the way Tim Burton reimagined "Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" with his Johnny Depp-starring 2005 remake, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," can take heart. To hear critics tell it in early reactions to the upcoming prequel "Wonka," star Timothée Chalamet has stuck a happy landing on a chocolate bar.
Variety reported that "the first reactions are calling it a 'winning confection' and 'an instant holiday classic.'"
The Huffington Post wrote that "Others have insisted the musical is a 'loving tribute' to the 1971 film 'Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory,' which starred Gene Wilder in the title role."
Chalamet's costuming, unlike Depp's in the Tim Burton remake, reflects the sensibilities of the Mel Stuart-directed Gene Wilder classic. The overall production, to judge from the images and trailers released in advance of the film's premiere, suggest that while Burton's version was closer to the 1964 Roald Dahl novel, "Wonka" will hew more faithfully to the beloved 1971 film. And Chalamet himself proves his star power once again, with critics taking note of how he anchors the film.
Chalamet spoke out on the amount of preparation he did for the role.
The Huffington Post said that the praise was not unalloyed, pointing out that "while the film has received largely glowing reviews at this early stage, some critics have taken issue with some of the weaker plot points, while others have voiced their disdain over the inclusion of repeated 'fat jokes.'"
"'Wonka,' directed by 'Paddington' and 'Paddington 2' filmmaker Paul King, casts Chalamet as a younger iteration of the famous chocolatier," the entertainment news outlet detailed.
"The film is set years before Wonka opens his world-renowned chocolate factory and follows the young man as he fights to open his first shop. The supporting cast includes Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Matt Lucas, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman and Hugh Grant."
Check out the film's trailer below.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.