Whether or not it ends up in the Oscar race, Warner Bros. Discovery is positioning “Wonka” as a year-end awards season movie. The Paul King-directed prequel to the Roald Dahl novel, specifically the 1971 Gene Wilder-starring adaptation of that book, opens in theaters on Dec. 15. And while the review embargo won’t drop until next week, social media reactions are allowed. So, what do the first critics and journalists to see the Timothée Chalamet-starring musical fantasy think of this potential family-friendly holiday sleeper hit?
Freelance critic and journalist Jeff Ewing noted that “Wonka” was “fine,” noting “solid choreography and production design.” He also expressed his displeasure with a (slight spoiler) subplot involving a character played by Keegan-Michael Key who eats way too many chocolates and eventually becomes a massively overweight version of himself. “Fat jokes were inexcusable. Hoped to go one awards season without a fat suit, but I guess not.”
#Wonka was fine. Solid choreography and production design, Timothee did a fine job. Wish it teased how this Wonka will turn into the nigh-unhinged, scary Wonka of the original.
Fat jokes were inexcusable. Hoped to go one awards season without a fat suit, but I guess not. pic.twitter.com/kqg6h5PMhn
— Jeff Ewing (@ReelJeffEwing) November 28, 2023
Meanwhile, journalist Simon Thompson stated that the film didn’t reach the heights of Kings’ two “Paddington” films (an arguably impossible bar to clear), but that “it is still a delightfully sweet treat. Timothée Chalamet’s titular dandy is endearing and fun while Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompa steals every scene he is in.”
While Paul King’s #Wonka doesn’t quite reach the charming and beguiling heights of the Paddington movies, it is still a delightfully sweet treat. Timothée Chalamet’s titular dandy is endearing and fun while Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompa steals every scene he is in. #WonkaMovie pic.twitter.com/SRMSFcJ0Gy
— Simon Thompson (@ShowbizSimon) November 28, 2023
Zoë Rose Bryant declared “Timothée Chalamet is genuinely so good here, delivering a fresh new interpretation of Willy Wonka that still honors what’s come before, and killing it as both a comedian and a performer.” She also gave props to supporting actors, stating that “Calah Lane is a surefire star-on-the-rise thanks to this tender turn, Hugh Grant is hysterical, & Olivia Colman chews scenery as the sinister Mrs. Scrubbit.”
Courtney Howard, a film critic for Variety, The AVClub and others was a big fan, calling it a “winning confection, filled with perfect amounts of charm, whimsy and poignancy.” She stated that Chalamet was a “charisma factory” and that “Hugh Grant is exceptional DGAF mode.”
#Wonka/ #WonkaMovie is a winning confection, filled with perfect amounts of charm, whimsy & poignancy, powered by pure imagination & bright, nimble musical numbers. Timothée Chalamet is a charisma factory. His full committal is intoxicating. Hugh Grant in exceptional IDGAF mode. pic.twitter.com/vjKJqqY6ll
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) November 28, 2023
TheWrap’s Drew Taylor was also a fan, stating that “Paul King once again proves that he is one of our most exciting filmmakers, creating a world unafraid to go to the dark, strange places that Roald Dahl would.”
#Wonka is a delicious confection, at times salty, at times sweet, but always visually dazzling and emotionally rich. Paul King once again proves that he is one of our most exciting filmmakers, creating a world unafraid to go to the dark, strange places that Roald Dahl would.
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) November 28, 2023
While noted contrarian and curmudgeon Scott Mendelson had yet to offer an opinion, TheWrap’s business film reporter — and infamous critical killjoy — stated his bemusement that the film was a surprisingly accurate and realistic look at human trafficking. The picture, first act spoiler, involves the would-be chocolate maker finding himself alongside several other captives as an unwilling prisoner at a crooked room-and-board lodge forced to work off his fraudulent debts.
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) November 28, 2023
More reactions, most of them good-to-great, can be found below.
#Wonka is harmless. It has winning elements in a fairly unremarkable attempt to replicate Dahl’s spirit, and while it was always going to have nostalgia plays by default, I wish they weren’t used as a shortcut for key emotional beats. pic.twitter.com/ETrXUXe3co
— Aaron Neuwirth (@AaronsPS4) November 28, 2023
#Wonka is a super charming delight powered by an exceptional & pitch-perfect performance from Timothée Chalamet. It can get quite silly and there’s a few plot points that are a tad on the thin side, but that couldn’t stop such an impossibly sweet film with a hefty & very… pic.twitter.com/1SLMmRPSGY
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) November 28, 2023
#Wonka took me by surprise with how much I liked it. It’s whimsical and taps into that sense of wonder we got from the original while doing its own thing. Timothée Chalamet channels the energy of Gene without doing an impression. Great family film for the holidays. #WonkaMovie pic.twitter.com/qJKHYwnPMH
— Kaitlyn Booth (@katiesmovies) November 28, 2023
#Wonka is absolute magic! the way the film feels like a classic 90s family film yet so modern at the same time is incredible. timothée chalamet is so magnetic and truly a movie star
calah lane, olivia colman, hugh grant and paterson joseph create a perfect ensemble pic.twitter.com/VS1bte3e8Z
— kenzie xcx (@kenzvanunu) November 28, 2023
The post ‘Wonka’ First Reactions Declare Film ‘Visually Delightful’ and a ‘Fresh New Interpretation’ appeared first on TheWrap.