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The student news site of New Trier High School

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‘Wonka’ exceeded expectations and brought a load of chocolate-covered nostalgia

Delving into the rise of chocolate-master Willy Wonka, the film holds a hatful of wonder and determination while presenting several deeply meaningful messages
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Sena Gordon
‘Wonka’ was released in early December 2023

Released in early December 2023, the Wonka movie brings a new and playful perspective to the rise of Willy Wonka, the aspiring master chocolate maker with a determination to turn his dreams into a reality. Inspired by the original book, “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, and the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” it offers a deep look into the journey Willy takes to bring to life the fantasies that so many kids have. 

Starting off with a true broadway vibe to it, Willy slides off a boat into the heart of Europe to sell his rare and wondrous chocolates he carries with him. Willy, played by Timothee Chalamet, sings about having only twelve silver sovereigns to start, only to lose them all as he searches for a place to stay overnight. Bouncy and optimistic, he exerts a sense of confidence in himself that is super exciting to watch. 

Throughout the entire movie, the feeling of pure joy and imagination was super bright and tied in with all the amazing events that took place on Willy’s quest to give his chocolates to the world.

The magic Willy insists on was shown so effortlessly through the animations and visual effects, revealing an articulate chocolate-making briefcase and a magician’s hat. Seeing the movie recently, I felt that it had a very child-like and innocent feeling to it.

Not only was Timothee Chalamet perfect for the role, but he had the talents of appearing lightweight in size, but also in character. The balloon scene with Noodle, played by Calah Lane, was super wholesome, and made me wish I could fly high in the stars above the building of chocolatiers. One of the major effects of this movie for me was the realistic aspect of Willy’s magic. While it was evidently fantastical, it also appeared so true and authentic to the characters that it didn’t feel out of place or odd. 

Despite being quite a bit surprised by the fantasy-like aspects of the movie, I was even more shocked by the amount of times the characters broke into song. Not only were the songs quite good in my opinion, but they tied in a few tunes from the older Willy Wonka movie, which hooked in quite a bit of nostalgia for me personally. The choreography that came with it was truly so enticing to watch with the crowds in the city, or just Wonka himself. 

Bringing back the true feeling of the old movie and book, it gave a new twist and perspective on Willy’s long and interesting journey, while also incorporating the wonder that kids feel when going into the chocolate factory. I also loved how the factory was open to all, and wasn’t restricted to six or seven kids who found the golden wrapped chocolate bar. It felt more open and welcome to all, with an eccentric twist that made people fly, literally!

Throughout the entire movie, the feeling of pure joy and imagination was super bright and tied in with all the amazing events that took place on Willy’s quest to give his chocolates to the world.

Through trickery and a little bit of effort, they summoned elephants, an Oompa Loompa, played by Hugh Grant, with green hair, and their other hotel inmates to fool the deceiving rivals of Wonka himself. 

Tying in all the bright feelings throughout the movie, the main messages that shined through were tear-jerking, immensely genuine, and had the potential to teach all of us a lesson. Willy, a young chocolate maker, knew more about the world and the people around him than most others. Bringing Noodle back to her mother, he got to experience the relationship with his late mom that he once knew. 

At the end of the movie, which is arguably one of my favorite parts, Willy opens up the bar of chocolate his mom gave him years before. On the wrapping, she wrote something Willy took to heart: “It’s not the chocolate that matters. It’s the people you share it with.” 

Sweet, wholesome, and full of life, the Wonka movie climbed up on my rankings of favorite movies, and is a film for all to see, whether to hear music about chocolate, learn an important life skill, or simply fantasize about a piece of chocolate that makes you fall in love. Either way, the new Wonka movie is truly a sweet and uplifting treat.

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