Wonka: is the new Willy Wonka film suitable for kids, will it have songs from the original and how long is it?

The much-anticipated prequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” arrives in cinemas this weekend, but is it something you can take a child to see?
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“Wonka,” the Paul King-directed prequel to the cult classic “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” starring Timothée Chalamet and Hugh Grant, finally arrives in cinemas tomorrow, just in time for the festive season. An origin story about how Willy Wonka became the chocolate magnate we’ve come to love growing up with Gene Wilder’s iteration, the film looks set to already be an instant Christmas classic.

Early reviews for the film have been glowing, with Chalamet and Hugh Grant’s performances (despite his recent revelation he hated playing an Oompa Loompa) earmarked are standouts and the overall feel of the movie being one that isn’t laborious and instead, as far as prequels go, a very entertaining watch even if for younger audiences it might be a little lengthy (more below.)

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But with the school holidays approaching, is “Wonka” one of those films that’s safe to go see with children as a way to pass the time? Will you be catching yourself singing along to some of the songs in the film - if indeed they include some from the original? More importantly, how much time can you spend watching it in the cinema? NationalWorld looks to answer some of your “Wonka” related queries.

What is “Wonka” about?

“The story of how Willy Wonka goes from a young adult selling chocolate in a small shop to an eccentric genius known all over the world.”

Who stars in “Wonka?”

IMDB lists the following performers as lead and major supporting roles in Wonka:

  • Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka
  • Calah Lane as Noodle
  • Keegan-Michael Key as the Chief-of-Police
  • Paterson Joseph as Arthur Slugworth
  • Matt Lucas as Prodnose
  • Mathew Baynton as Fickelgrube
  • Sally Hawkins as Willy Wonka's mother
  • Rowan Atkinson as Father Julius
  • Jim Carter as Abacus Crunch
  • Tom Davis as Bleacher
  • Olivia Colman as Mrs. Scrubbit
  • Hugh Grant as Lofty, an Oompa-Loompa
  • Natasha Rothwell as Piper Benz
  • Rich Fulcher as Larry Chucklesworth
  • Rakhee Thakrar as Lottie Bell
  • Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Simon Farnaby
  • Colin O'Brien
  • Ellie White
  • Murray McArthur
  • Tracy Ifeachor
  • Isy Suttie
  • Phil Wang
  • Tim Fitzhigham as Ship Captain

What is the BBFC rating for “Wonka” and is it safe for kids?

“Wonka” has been rated PG by the British Board of Film Classification, suggesting that parents might wish to exercise some discretion in taking children to see the film. In the BBFC’s summary as to the reason for the PG rating, they wrote: “mild threat, violence, implied bad language”

Are there any songs from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in “Wonka?”

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The trailer for “Wonka” saw Chalamet singing the iconic “Pure Imagination” from the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” but there are no other suggestions that the musical will have other songs from the film.

Our reasoning? Given that the film is a prequel, there is no golden ticket yet to sing about, nor are the Oompa Loompa’s needing to dispense harsh real-life consequences for action slightly off the moral compass (we’re looking at you, Veruca Salt!). Interestingly, seven of the original songs from the new film have been composed by The Divine Comedy frontman Neil Hannon.

How long is “Wonka?”

The run-time for “Wonka” is 116 minutes and 6 seconds, which works out as nearly two hours - not quite the same running time as “Oppenheimer” or “Killers of the Flower Moon,” but still quite a run-time for young ones to attend. Toilet breaks before entering the start of the film is a must!

When is “Wonka” released in cinemas in the United Kingdom?

“Wonka” is released in cinemas nationwide on December 8 2023.

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