Fizzing with fun, Wonka conjures up a magical backstory for the world’s most famous chocolatier. Here’s why we’re making a song and dance about this fabulous fantasy musical – now available on Virgin Media Store
By Torri Mundell, Feature Writer
We’ve got the ultimate sweet treat to lift your midwinter spirits: visiting the whimsical world of Wonka whenever you want! The star-studded blockbuster musical is still playing in cinemas but you can also immerse yourself in its chocolatey goodness at home, because it’s available to buy or rent now on Virgin Media Store.
Whether you choose to rent or buy it from Virgin Media Store, you’ll want to tuck into second, third and fourth helpings of this heart-warming story about a young chocolate maker with a big dream, especially when you can enjoy it from the comfort of our sofa. All that’s missing is a selection box of Wonka specialities to munch on – because we guarantee you’ll be craving Broadway Chocolate and Hoverchocs soon after the opening credits.
So what’s the story of Wonka?
An eccentric chocolate inventor, Willy Wonka is one of writer Roald Dahl’s most famous literary creations. In previous film adaptations of the book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, he’s been portrayed as an unpredictable confectionery genius with a penchant for punishing badly-behaved children.
However, in Wonka, writer-director Paul King and writer Simon Farnaby – the creative duo behind the delightful Paddington 2; King also wrote and directeed the first Paddington movie – have doused the chocolatier’s outlandish origin story with lashings of charm.
The prequel artfully spins the tale of a teenage chocolate afficionado (Timothée Chalamet, Little Women) who leaves his life at sea to make his fortune in the big city. Wonka’s candy is destined for greatness; he has a turbo-charged imagination and years of study on his side, as well as his beloved late mother’s chocolate recipes and a big dollop of magic.
Chalamet brings wide-eyed optimism, a goofy turn of phrase and a sweet-but-not-too-polished treble to Wonka’s coming-of-age story – and the film is packed with musical set pieces that are tons of fun to watch. Whether Wonka is drifting over the city rooftops with his young friend Noodle (Calah Lane) and a fistful of balloons, or slipping into full showman mode to introduce his chocolate to the world, Chalamet’s bouncy cakewalks and outlandish suits give him the air of a Quentin Blake illustration come to life.
Who else stars in Wonka?
Thankfully, Chalamet’s winsome approach never veers too far into saccharine territory, and the movie’s cast of villains, provided by a who’s who of British acting talent, also adds bite. Olivia Colman (The Favourite), for instance, plays Mrs Scrubbit, the woman who gleefully indentures the young Wonka into her laundry factory. Paterson Joseph (Boat Story), Mathew Baynton (Ghosts) and Matt Lucas (The Great British Bake Off) ham it up as the “chocolate cartel”, a trio of Bad Guys determined to see off the threat posed by Wonka and his sweet creations.
And Hugh Grant (Paddington 2) puts in a hilarious comic turn as a haughty, indignant Oompa-Loompa determined to hold Wonka to account for stealing his tribe’s cocoa beans. His performance is just one of many delicious treats in this joyous chocolate box of a film.
You can buy or rent Wonka now on Virgin Media Store. Cert PG.
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Image credit: Wonka © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.