Wonka (2023) Movie Review: Chocolates represent to me a miracle dessert. In their widely circulated simplest form, chocolates remain a complete dessert. They show incredible adaptability to various flavours, aromas, and textures. Chocolates can coat or can be coated. They can be eaten at all temperatures. They often are a child’s introduction to sweetness, and they can be side treats or central gifts. Moreover, they can be flavoured or be a flavouring agent. The versatility renders chocolates acceptable to all cultures and universal in appeal. It is this versatility that allows a play of pure imagination.

While I haven’t read Roald Dahl’s classic novel to comment on the merit of this pure imagination, having watched all three films only gives me a sweet pleasure to conjure in my imagination Wonka’s wonderful chocolate factory. This is the closest Wonka, a fictional character, gets to creating an everlasting gobstopper: the virtue of his existence in the narrative of Charlie Bucket. 

Wonka, however, is completely about him. But this Willy Wonka embodies the idea of Charlie Bucket. He is an underdog, an orphan who has to carve his path in a cruel world. He lacks privileges, and his world is congested. All chocolates, from manufacturing to marketing, are controlled by the chocolate cartel consisting of Slugworth, Prodnose and Fickelgruber. The cartel hates competition, especially when the competition is a manifestation of merit and not deceit.

Wonka not only makes great chocolates in this world, but he also sells them at extremely affordable prices so that even the poor can afford them. Fickelgruber, on the contrary, wouldn’t even speak of the poor without gaging. Wonka threatens the dominance of the cartel with an attempt to democratise chocolates. And therefore, the corrupt trio has to get rid of Wonka and everyone who aids him. The film begins to capture a tale of corruption’s cessation and the rise of our miracle worker.

Paul King’s strength is in creating a wonderland without making it feel immature. The ridiculousness is charming. The essence of Paddington is visible throughout, as if the director is aware of his strengths and drawing from them. However, there are certain sequences in which you would feel that Wes Anderson could have done a more exciting job. Anderson’s style and frame compositions are perfectly suited to the character arcs in consideration, but they also bring in greater rigidity as opposed to Paul King’s fluid frames.

Despite a meticulous job of designing the film’s world, there is a sense of compactness to it, which makes the universe feel smaller. Everything occurs within a strict perimeter and with a handful of people, disallowing Wonka’s world to feel bigger than and beyond the imagined, i.e., a part of our world. Consequently, there remains a certain detachment from the spaces, if not the characters. The actors do their best to execute heightened performances, especially Paterson Joseph as Arthur Slugworth. Timothee is quite dependable and convinces his audience of his character, putting to rest all initial speculations against his casting.

The adventure is diluted and contained within the promises of simplicity. The stakes, while high, do not feel insurmountable, and not much complex progression occurs between events. This falls in striking contrast with the nature of our reality in a world where most chocolate confectionery and desserts are controlled by the duopoly of Mondelez and Nestle. The mere existence of this duopoly isn’t nearly as concerning as the business practices both companies occur in, only revealing the ethical corruption of the conglomerates that boast of bringing sweetness to countless lives. 

Wonka has a couple of noble messages to share with its viewers. He is a benevolent social capitalist who has a habit of sharing and a mind that democratises the joys of life. His revolution is about a pure business in which the relationship between a businessperson and their customer is completely built on the quality of the product. Therefore, the noble idea is best served in fiction.

Wonka is an enjoyable affair for a lazy evening that promises to retain a subtle smile on your face while also making you laugh at a couple of jokes. Rest assured, there will be no sugar rush watching this sweet little adventure and rekindling nostalgia.

★★★½

Read More: Wonka (2023) Trailer: Timothée Chalamet Is Willy Wonka Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before

Wonka (2023) Movie Links; IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Cast of Wonka (2023) Movie: Timothée Chalamet, Gustave Die, Murray McArthur
Wonka (2023) Movie Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family | Runtime: 1h 56 Mins
Where to watch Wonka

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