It’s been 18 years since Johnny Depp starred in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and over half a century on from Gene Wilder’s take on Willy Wonka.
Rather than yet another adaptation of the 1964 Roald Dahl classic book, Warner Bros has instead opted for a prequel origin story.
From the writer and director of the Paddington movies (Simon Farnaby and Paul King) comes Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet as the chocolatier in his youth.
The $125 million movie sports an all-star cast of British greats from Rowan Atkinson and Olivia Colman to Matt Lucas, Sally Hawkins and Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa.
Yet despite King and Farnaby being behind what many consider a perfect film in Paddington 2, the first reactions for Wonka make the film sound like it lacks pure imagination.
World of Reel reports that three critics who have seen Wonka at a preview screening were far from impressed.
They called the fantasy musical “not good”, “tonally way off” and simply a “mess”.
The outlet also pointed out that the blockbuster is projecting to have a December opening of just $25 million, which would be “below expectations” for a $125 million movie.
Of course, it’s always possible that other critics did like the movie and that the film could become a sleeper hit beyond Christmas into the new year, as was the case with The Greatest Showman.
Wonka hits UK cinemas on December 8, 2023.
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