Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

“Wonka” review: A queer theatre kid’s wet dream

Courtesy+of+Warner+Bros.
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers for “Wonka”

If The Walt Disney Co. has taught us anything, it’s that remakes aren’t good. They only play on childhood nostalgia and always fail to live up to the expectations a person sets for themselves after seeing a favorite from their childhood become remade.

When the trailer for the new “Wonka” film came out, fear instantly struck many, as they remembered the distasteful Tim Burton adaptation of the 1971 classic. It didn’t help that the trailer for this prequel showed the cringiest parts of the film, making it almost unbearable prior to watching the movie.

Seeing Timothée Chalamet, whose resumé consisted of more dramatic films, like “Little Women” and “Beautiful Boy,” take on a much more comedic role wasn’t appealing to me, and, by the trailer, it didn’t seem like the role for him.

But once I sat down in the theater and the opening scene began, it only took halfway through the first musical number, “A Hat Full of Dreams,” for me to know that this would be a movie-musical favorite for me.

It’s rare for a trailer to make a movie seem so much worse than it is – usually it’s the other way around – but that’s exactly what this film did. It underplayed the film and also seemed to hide the fact that it was a musical, which was one of the movie’s strongest points.

The musical numbers truly made the film. They were catchy, fun, and well-performed. “Sweet Tooth” and “Scrub Scrub” have been stuck in my head for weeks, and as embarrassing as it is for both of these songs to be on my Receiptify this month, I have to admit they hit different (sly Taylor Swift reference). These musical numbers are exactly what this movie needed. It was a perfect mix of different musical beats with great play on lyricism. It tied the magic of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with a new, unique twist. Yes, we had the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical, and yes, the songs are good – great even – but it doesn’t compare to this musical.

Besides the music, the film added a great symbolism about our capitalist society. The three villains in the movie, all of which own different chocolate companies and control all chocolate, bribe the chief of police to kill Wonka once he threatens their profits.

Wonka’s chocolate is tastier and more accessible to people with less money. It’s a perfect metaphor for how companies control our government in society and will do anything they can in their power to keep that control and make the most money.

And now to the surprise of the entire movie: how truly great Chalamet’s performance was. From his past performances in other popular films, it was a quick judgment to think he wouldn’t eat this performance up. But, really, this type of role has always been in Chalamet’s resumé. Does no one remember his iconic “Saturday Night Live” performance with Pete Davidson or his Statistics music video?

Needless to say, this man has ALWAYS had a comedic side. Sure, he mostly performs in dramatic films (and he does slay at every time), but he is much more versatile than that. He was a high school theatre kid. He was that white boy in every theater department that constantly got leads and every queer cast member fell in love with. Roles like the character of Willy Wonka were MADE for theater kids.

This movie was definitely an underrated film setup to fail from the beginning. Bad advertising hurt this film. Don’t let the media scare you. Go see it. Enjoy it. Maybe you’ll get the ick. Maybe you’ll fall in love. Maybe you’ll finally find the courage to audition for that college play you’ve been thinking about but have been holding off from doing because of a bad high school theater experience…. Oh well, maybe I’m projecting.

Anyways, go see it, queers.

“Wonka” is now playing in theaters.

4 out of 5 stars

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About the Contributor
Kloe Witt, Managing Editor for Digital
Kloe Witt currently serves as The Maroon's Managing Editor for Digital. Kloe is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and environmental studies, though is interested in pursuing a career in media services for recreational therapy camps. In their free time, Kloe is usually watching Criminal Minds, listening to Taylor Swift, or reading new books. Kloe can be reached [email protected].

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