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  • Writer's pictureTrish Perry

A Wonka I Can Recommend: A Sweeter Wonka 

Updated: Feb 28


Wonka movie poster

I've never been a huge fan of films based on Roald Dahl books (although I loved The BFG). Dahl's stories for children lean toward dark environments--James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example. The latter of these stories was the basis for the 1971 Gene Wilder film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. One critic (who liked the film) characterized Wilder's Wonka as "a frightening combination of warmth, psychosis, and sadism." Spot on. And Johnny Depp's 2005 Wonka, in his director's words, "does not like children."


Apparently Dahl's own childhood experiences involved private-school bullying, headmasterly caning, and general homesickness and unhappiness. And his young protagonists do prevail, despite their tragic circumstances.


Still, I was hesitant to watch the current iteration, Wonka, and I thought others might be, as well. I want to encourage you to give this one a try, whether you have kids to bring or are simply a kid at heart. This origin movie is funny, colorful, and hopeful. Timothee Chalet gives us a sweeter Wonka. All of the actors are great fun, including the bad'uns. While there are enough dark tones to provide sufficient conflict, the solid musical numbers and silly villains hint that nothing is too terribly serious to reach a happy ending.


Finally, I was pleased to see a movie without a moment of wokeness. Very refreshing these days...

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