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  • Amelia Vivash

Wonka: The Best Movie of 2024

This article was written by Ameila Vivash, Year 12




It is not often that I leave the cinema thinking of that particular outstanding word. Sure: amazing, wonderful, even fantastic drift around my mind after a good rewatch of Oppenheimer or another similarly magnificent film. But never, or, almost never, does the word Magic float into my mind. 


The last 12 months have been a time of very hit or miss movies for me. From the very enjoyable ‘Barbie’ to the incredibly disappointing ‘Napoleon’ I have been unsure about how to rate Hollywood at the minute. 


Following the recent SAG-AFTRA strikes; it seems so has everyone else.


Succeeding every decent piece of cinema seems to be the entrails of its making, shoved into 16 feature length films starring every actor you’ve never heard of and Timothee Chalamet, because, who else? 


Two films that spring to mind for me are: Mission Impossible and Indiana Jones (the most recent ones) and though I enjoyed both, what stood out the most to me more than the action scenes, painfully long fight sequences and, for some reason, innumerable deaths was the repetitiveness. 


Both these films showcased all star casts (admittedly lacking Timothee Chalamet, perhaps he is the difference), a team of renowned directors and a budget the size of Tuvalu’s GDP (not even joking here) but both also decided to share an extremely drawn out car chase scene and a train-top-fighting-the-bad-guy sequence (equally drawn out). These films left me hungry for more; well not more, something…original. Enter the 3rd remake of Roald Dahl’s classic ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.


No traintop action scenes or drawn out car chases here, just Timothee Chalamet surrounded by equally talented people singing their little hearts out. And I LOVED it. 


Each song, even previous movie’s songs, felt fresh and new, the story felt fantastical and outlandish while holding on to humanity (a balance that is so hard to find) and the characters felt realistically ridiculous (or perhaps ridiculously realistic?).


But wait, I am getting ahead of myself…


What is Wonka? And why is it the best movie of 2024? 


Wonka opens on a ship sailing the ocean blue, a whistled tune nestled in the background, as it approaches the bay of a town. Timothee Chalamet (again: he’s everywhere), as Wonka sings the opening number ‘Hatful of Dreams’ which introduces Wonka as an underprivileged character with big ambitions and sets the tone for the entire movie. 


The movie is the story of Wonka and how he became the famous chocolatier that we all know and love. We meet a couple who made him their indentured servant, a little girl who taught him to read, his mother and the police chief hired by three villainous chocolatiers to stop Willy’s excellence. Overall, a rollercoaster when written down in a list but a masterpiece when watched. All of this, put to music. 


Each song in this movie carries not only an incredible tune but symbolism that continues throughout the movie. I particularly enjoyed the song ‘Scrub Scrub’ sung by Mrs Scrubbit (Olivia Coleman) and Bleacher (Tim Davis) as well as the rest of the imprisoned cast. This song was reminiscent of ‘Master of the House’ from Les Miserables and was sung with similar disdain. I suspect Mrs Scrubbit and Bleacher were modelled on those Les Mis characters, but I think it makes for an effective harkening back to an original. 

The songs in Wonka really are what make it so fantastic, yet the cast of characters and actors is huge and ranges from


Rowan Atkinson to Keegan Michael Key, each of which embrace the comedy of their performance whilst simultaneously feeding into the absurdity of their characters. Key’s character for example (The Chief Of Police) balloons to thrice his size to emphasise his corruption and to embrace the idiocracy of the situation. To be honest his entire character is so clever and so stupid, but it just works so well that he becomes a real villain while also being the comedic relief.


Finally, two songs that are somewhat or direct copies of previous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory editions: Oompa Loompa and Pure Imagination. Oompa Loompa as well as Hugh Grant’s character who sings it are fun and playful ways to expand the story and introduce a subplot. But Pure Imagination is a very different story, even the greatest of cynics, pessimists and sceptics felt their eyes prick with tears when this song concluded the movie, there's something so heartwarming and charming about using the song from the original movie (Where Willy Wonka is borderline insane) to show how Wonka’s kindness changed a little girl’s life, this irony was trumped, however, by the Pure Happiness that this scene finishes with. 


Wonka deals with themes of addiction, corruption, murder plots, economic disadvantage, kidnapping, sabotage and pure hatred all collected into tiny, shiny Quality Street wrappers of all different colours. Yet amongst all the vividity and flashiness, is the story of a child living all alone, a corrupt policeman, a villainy of entrepreneurial enterprise and incredibly, if not, most importantly: the story of a chocolatier finding his family on the shelf beside the sugar, of a child finding her place in the world and of Willy Wonka a man that has two films already telling of his job but neither telling of him…of his life, of his family. That is where the best parts of this film lie, in the least fantastical parts, in the freeing of the group from their captors, in the helping of one another, in the determination and ambition of a family…and what could possibly be more Magic than that. 


I loved Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, I watched (barely) Johnny Depp as Wonka but I truly think that Timothee Chalamet is so fresh, so fantastic, so…original


No movie of the last few years (let alone 2024) has charmed me as Wonka did. No other movie enchanted and moved me as Wonka did. No movie had the magic that Wonka did; a magic ingrained into every flouncy music number, every over the top dance and every line uttered. This film encapsulates everything that modern cinema is and everything it is trying so hard to be: new, different, familiar, fun, fascinating, yet no words cover this movie as well as this: coursing through every scene, piece of dialogue and movement is 


Magic. 


If this didn’t convince you I am not quite sure what will, nevertheless I have attached the Wonka trailer. If you are at all enticed I insist you watch this movie.



That’s all from me! Amelia Vivash.



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