Tag Archives: Keegan-Michael Key

Wonka-2023

Wonka-2023

Director Paul King

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Olivia Colman

Scott’s Review #1,414 

Reviewed January 3, 2024

Grade: B+

Wonka (2023) is only the third live-action film based on Roald Dahl’s iconic 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, following Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The latter was an inadequate and unnecessarily dark film starring Johnny Depp that threatened to ruin the trademark fantasy of the original.

Fortunately, director Paul King mostly known for directing the Paddington films opts for a warm and even gooey experience that does perfect justice to the original starring Gene Wilder with many connections to that film, especially costumes, characters, and locale.

It’s saccharine sweet but not sickeningly sweet instead feeling both fresh and genuine.

The wonderful and familiar featured song ‘Pure Imagination’ appears instantly as the film begins which does wonders to capture and captivate the nostalgic audience—mixed with other new gems like ‘A World of Your Own’ hooks newer and younger viewers.

The effort works well as a kindly old friend dusted off the shelf for a new waltz across the dance floor and a dizzying chocolate delight crowd-pleaser is the result of Wonka.

Wonka is released in December amid the sugary Christmas holiday season. A marketing win what parents could refuse a delicious trip to the cinema?

The wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician, and chocolate maker became the beloved Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) we know today begins with the young actor brazenly wearing a similar garb as Wilder did in the 1971 effort.

I adore this feat and pointed display because it makes crystal clear the attempt to leverage history instead of upheaval.

Chalamet is perfectly cast as Willy in large part because he resembles Wilder with his wiry build and waifish face. There exists a kindness and trustworthiness that transfers well from the big screen to the audience member.

Throughout the film, there is light peril that Wonka faces like a crooked debt owed to the even more crooked Mrs. Scrubitt’s (Olivia Colman) boardinghouse or the vengeful competitor Arthur Slugworth (Paterson Joseph) but it’s nothing he can’t handle with a grin and shrug of the shoulders.

His feathers are not ruffled easily because he believes in the magic of chocolate. In a dear flashback scene featuring his mother, played by Sally Hawkins, she inspires him to always believe in himself and be a good person.

This is at the heart of the film.

Along for the ride are new friends orphan Noodle (Calah Lane), Abacus Crunch (Jim Carter), and others trapped within Scrubbit’s and henchman Bleacher, played by Tom Davis.

There’s even a connection with the fan favorite Oompa-Loompa’s led by Lofty (Hugh Grant) who becomes a close ally in the end. As historical viewers will know the pair reunites in business.

Despite all these terrific additions the main attraction is the chocolate naturally. Highlights are a lavish chocolate attempted drowning, a chocolate store, and more than enough chocolate colorful flowers to whet one’s appetite.

The film is weird and zany without being too far out there and retains its touchy-feely approach.

Wonka (2023) successfully builds a multi-generational bridge between audiences with a powerful human connection. Grandparents, parents, and children alike can all see the film together with a common love of chocolate and magic.

The dangers are light-hearted and the filmmakers keep age-appropriate sensibilities and the result is family-friendly material with a kindhearted approach.

We all need this sometimes.

The Lego Movie-2014

The Lego Movie-2014

Director Phil Lord, Chris Miller

Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks

Scott’s Review #284

70289949

Reviewed October 24, 2015

Grade: D

A child’s movie in every sense of the word, The Lego Movie (2014) is silly and amateurish. It contains a hackneyed plot and a fast pace that makes the viewing experience quite unpleasant.

Computer-animated and primarily created by imagery, a scene involving two human beings interspersed among all the animations only makes the plot more sappy, overwrought, and predictable.

The film is a complete dud and a waste of energy save for one lone catchy song appearing throughout the film. I am perplexed why this film received mostly positive reviews as I did not share the same sentiment.

The premise is too complex for the target audience, in a Lego universe, where all of the characters are Lego pieces, a mysterious wizard- Vitruvius, attempts to protect a superweapon (Kragle) from the evil Lord Business.

While he fails, he prophesies that a person named “The Special” will one day find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

Kragle turns out to be superglue in the human world, as a cameo with Will Ferrell reveals he is the human version of Lord Business and refuses to let his young son play with Dad’s Lego set, thereby threatening to keep the set stationery with glue.

Inevitably, this leads to a tender scene with Dad and his son.

I did not find The Lego Movie engaging story-wise or visually and I was bored during most of the experience.

Admittedly, modern animated films are not my favorite genre- I miss the days of the classic Disney drawing-style films like Bambi or Dumbo both in the 1940s.

The major flaw is the frenetic pacing of the film. Did the powers that be think that all youngsters and parents dragged along suffer from attention deficit disorder? There was no time to pause and ponder what was going on in the story since immediately it was on to the next scene.

The action is non-stop so the film seemed like one long action sequence.

The main character of Emmett, a young Lego piece characterized by everyone as dull is voiced by Chris Pratt. Emmet stumbles upon a young woman named Wyldestyle looking for something at his construction site- she assumes he is The Special and they race to save the world from Lord Business.

Emmet, as far as a lead character goes, is likable enough, and predictably, a romance develops between him and Wyldestyle. We meet various creative characters like Batman and Princess Unikitty.

The film contains a sickeningly catchy song called “Everything Is Awesome” that will stick in the viewer’s head whether desired or not and that is the strongest part. It is not that the song is lyrically great or anything, but it is fun and hum along.

Overly high octane and an uninteresting plot make The Lego Movie (2014) perhaps appealing to young kids in the seven to ten range, but it is a forgettable and tedious experience for this grown-up.

The ending of the film leaves room for the inevitable sequel.

Oscar Nominations: Best Original Song-“Everything Is Awesome”