Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

 Kittipong/Adobe Stock
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photo credits: HHS Unity Club
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Wonka is Whimsical Family Fun, but Doesn’t Quite Live up to the Magic of the 1971 Original

Willy+%28Timothy+Chalamet%29+and+Noodle+%28Calah+Lane%29+skip+across+rooftops+aided+by+a+bundle+of+balloons+%28Photo+Credit%3A+Warner+Bros.+Pictures+all+rights+reserved%29.
Willy (Timothy Chalamet) and Noodle (Calah Lane) skip across rooftops aided by a bundle of balloons (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures all rights reserved).

Released in late December and just finishing up its theatrical release, Wonka has received generally positive reviews. While I was initially apprehensive about seeing the third theatrical take on Roald Dahl’s eccentric character from his 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I finally decided to see the film after the trailer and the critical buzz suggested a different approach than the 1971 classic and its remake. However, even with the expectations of seeing something new, I was almost immediately surprised to see a singing Willy Wonka on a ship heading for, as he sang it, a city he “pinned seven years of hope on” after seven years of life on the sea. For all that I knew of the film, I hadn’t realized it was a musical! 

While getting into a musical can be a tough sell for many people, especially if they don’t expect it, after about five minutes into the film, I began to enjoy myself, as the musical format proved to be a fun way to convey the whimsical eccentricities of a burgeoning young chocolatier making his way in Europe against the devious Chocolate Cartel, headed by businessmen Slugworth, Prodnose and Fickelgruber, the same competitors to Wonka as in Roald Dahl’s original novel. They are not the only characters from the original novel to appear in this remake/prequel to the main Willy Wonka story, as one of the standout songs is of course, the Oompa Loompa song, expertly performed by Hugh Grant, who may have outshined his Jump (For My Love) Pointers Sisters classic dance scene in Love Actually (2003) with his dedication to such an exuberant display. 

Chris Hoppe, a junior at HHS described how although he doesn’t normally see that many musicals, he liked the film, stating “ Generally I thought it worked as a musical, there were a few scenes where it felt slightly awkward, but overall it was pretty fun.”

Other great songs on the soundtrack include “A Hatful of Dreams”, “Scrub Scrub”, “You Never had Chocolate Like This” and a heartbreaking rendition of “Pure Imagination” sung by Timothee Chalomet at the end of the film, that evokes much of the hopeful energy found in The Greatest Showman, or Paddington, the latter of which has some overlap with this films tremendous cast, which is bursting at the seams with some of Britain’s greatest stars. 

Nate Bradl, a freshman at HHS who saw the film especially enjoyed seeing typically serious British actors in something more lighthearted, stating “it’s always nice to know these actors have a sense of humor, everyone can enjoy something that’s just purely fun once in a while. I think that having such a famous senior actor in such a mystical movie attracts more attention to the film, and causes more buzz around it.”

From the aforementioned Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa, to Rowan Atkinson’s Chocoholic priest, to Olivia Colman’s crafty Mrs. Scrubbit and Jim Carter’s jolly Abacus Crunch, every side character in the film is filled with an actor whose love of the project shines through the occasional awkwardness of a spontaneous dance number, which helps to inspire wonder and a strong desire for chocolate in any one viewing the film. While not quite on the same level as the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film, which I felt better employed its soundtrack to support the story, this film was nonetheless quality family entertainment which I feel any child would enjoy.

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