Entering a World of Imagination: Reviewing the 2023 “Wonka” Movie

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The year 2023 was an exciting one, many new movies were released including the film, “Wonka” directed by Paul King. This movie dives deep into the backstory of Willy Wonka, a character from world renowned author Roald Dahl. Watching this movie I found a fun musical filled with nostalgia, bright scenery and uplifting messages.


This film contained 11 songs, some paying homage to the original 1971 film, such as the song “Pure Imagination.” However the film also created many original songs which were sung by the cast and occasionally danced with beautiful choreography. My favorite song from the film was “A Hatful of Dreams” sung by Timothee Chalamet, as Wonka. Wonka expresses his passion and persistence for his dream to come true and discusses all the hard work he has done to achieve his dream. This song has a very uplifting and inspirational feeling to it which I enjoyed.  The musical element of the film helped to give it a nostalgic feel, but also incorporate newer, fresher takes on the story. I overall enjoyed the musical aspect of this movie and was surprised at how catchy the songs were. They are memorable and sure to give you something to blast on the car ride home.

Costume and Set:

One of my favorite aspects of this movie was the set design. Most of the town has a more bleak tone to it showcasing the somewhat depressive nature. However all of Wonka’s inventions are brightly colored creating a contrast between the sceneries. His factory is filled with colorful pipes and natural light. This demonstrates the differences between Wonka and the rest of the town people. Wonka has a dream to start a chocolate factory which is struggle because the chocolate industry is run by greedy cartels. He has an eccentric personality which is reflected through the designs of his outfit. Throughout the film he is seen wearing a long velvet textured plum colored coat, a multicolored vest, and scarf. Other people in the town are shown wearing bleak gray outfits, so Wonka’s colorful ensemble stands out throughout the film. 

Comparing “Wonka”s:

While this film was not a remake of the original Wonka, but rather a backstory there were still many differences from this film, compared to the earlier films and book. In the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” film from 1971, Willy Wonka is seen wearing a brown bow tie. In the remake he sports a multicolored vest. The 1971 film as well as the 2005 film were much more focused on Charlie, the young kid who got a golden ticket to the factory, and his story. The new film, being focused on the backstory of Willy Wonka, does not include Charlie at all; it instead dives into Wonka’s story. The 2023 version also leans away from the mystical musical aspect of the movie and instead tells more of a story of overcoming obstacles and chasing dreams. The original film follows Charlie and the other children on an adventure through the chocolate factory. However the new film shows Wonka and the difficulties he had to prevail over in order to reach his dream. It shows his perseverance to achieve his dream, and while it does include some mystical aspects of the chocolate factory, it has more of a focus on Wonka’s persistence. 

The main message I took away from this movie was to continue to be yourself no matter the circumstances. Throughout this movie Wonka has a dream that is constantly being discouraged. In his town no one else talks of starting a chocolate factory because they don’t dare to defy the chocolate cartel. The chocolate cartel constantly tries to sabotage his factory, yet that does not stop Wonka from pursuing his dreams. Throughout the film he remains undefeated, teaching audiences all over to pursue your passions even in the face of adversity.

Timothee Chalamet is a 28 year old actor who stars as Willy Wonka in the film, “Wonka.” Timothee Chalamet was nominated in the Golden Globes category, “Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy” for his role as Wonka. When asked about “Wonka” Chalamet told Vanity Fair, “This was the most physically challenging project I’ve ever done. You’ve got to keep being in the center of the frame while dancing, you’ve got to rehearse for months, you’ve got to be on for every take-take 12 and all the other takes-and dance with professional dancers, who are icing their ankles. That’s how serious they were taking it. So it was a big challenge.” (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)