Wonka: What have been the early reviews of Timothee Chalamet’s new movie ahead of its release?

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Is it going to be any good, or will it be the proverbial hard toffee in the tray of chocolates this Christmas? What have early reviews been for “Wonka”?

The first reviews for the musical prequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Wonka” starring Timothee Chalamet in the titular role and Hugh Grant as the Oompa Loompa’s have filtered through social media - and for fans of Chalamet, you can breathe a sigh of relief as they are generally positive so far. 

With advance screenings held this week, the film is already being considered a “Christmas classic” despite not being out of general release, which is quite the lofty accolade to begin with given the gamut of Christmas titles that come out this time of year. Chalamet’s performance as Willy Wonka, a role that many considered sacred thanks to Gene Wilder’s interpretation of Roald Dahl’s character, has been met with praise, with Forbes writer Simon Thompson stating “Timothée Chalamet’s titular dandy is endearing and fun,” while Germain Lussier of io9.com tweeted “Timothée Chalamet is reason alone to see Wonka. He’s infinitely charming & a blast to watch.”

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In fairness, all the cast have been celebrated in the early reviews, with Hugh Grant’s role considered a scene-stealing casting throughout the movie, with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff going as far as to say: “There are lots of supporting performances to love, especially Calah Lane, who excels big time in the middle of an ensemble filled with powerhouse veteran performers. And Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, and Mathew Baynton = the PERFECT villainous trio. They feel like a sinister threat but are also clearly relishing the opportunity to get playful with it, and I couldn’t get enough of that.”

Paul King’s direction was also complimented in the early reviews, though there were some comparisons to his previous work, “Paddington,” and how it might not match up to that film’s whimsical charm. “Paul King brings the same lovable tone from the Paddington films to Wonka, adding in some cute musical numbers, Daniel Howat of Next Best Picture tweeted, while Simon Thompson wrote: “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.”

The film is not without its faults though; one review stated that “It can get quite silly and there’s a few plot points that are a tad on the thin side,” while the most critical early review came from Aaron Neuwirth of We Live Entertainment: ““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.”

When is “Wonka” released in cinemas?

“Wonka” opens in cinemas on December 8 2023 across the United Kingdom.

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