Wonka and the Prequel Factory

Wonka and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

We compare Willy Wonka’s new film to the original 1971 film and the previous movies from director Paul King. It sums up how I feel about most franchise movies.

Being someone who adored the original Willy Wonka and these newer Paddington films, I was intrigued by this movie as soon as the trailer came out. While I am not necessarily excited about the quality of the trailer, I am interested in watching a Wonka film directed by Paul King. After all, he’s responsible for these excellent movies with the talking bear. The Paddington director made a Willy Wonka movie, and I was ready. 

It didn’t meet my expectations. I love the 1971 original Chocolate Factory and Paul King’s previous Paddington movies because I can see these were passion projects. It was filmmakers pushing the envelope for family adventure movies, not studios pushing their agenda to cash in on existing movie franchises. 

Even with the talent involved.

Despite Timothée Chalamet’s impressive resume, I couldn’t help but notice he was not the right choice for the title role. Even if he was, we don’t see the same quick-witted and sarcastic demeanor that made Gene Wilder’s iteration of the character legendary. Also, despite the two Paddington films being so good, Paul King fell short of Wonka. It just doesn’t have the same sparkle as his previous films. 

Property of Warner Bros

Not even Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompa saved the movie. Once again, the filmmaker decides to change Roald Dahl’s original racist depiction of African pygmies. This time, Hugh Grant is the sole Oompa-Loompa on a mission to steal Wonka’s chocolates. A punishment to Wonka for stealing their cocoa beans. It is a funny subplot, and it could’ve been a funny movie about the two chasing after cocoa beans. In my book, that’s the potential of a better prequel than what we got. 

It’s like processed chocolate but manufactured by studio execs.

Mediocre at best, this is just another overproduced musical full of unforgettable musical numbers, uninspired cinematography, and impetuous performances. It’s devoid of anything that resembles effort and passion. With its silly, underdeveloped chocolate mafia theme, the plot is not even creative, as it is too similar to the director’s Paddington 2. 

Do not expect Timothée’s version of Willy Wonka to be a meme any time. Because this is just another forgettable cash-grabbing prequel. In conclusion, things are better when they’re a passion project, not a studio-mandated prequel. 

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