The Best New Blu-Ray Releases: Wonka, Wish, And More


In our modern movie landscape, Hollywood has decided that everything has to be a recognizable brand or a bit of familiar I.P. There’s no room for originality, gosh darn it! Which is why we end up with, oh, let’s say, a Willy Wonka prequel. The very idea seems silly — part of what makes Willy Wonka such a memorable character is that he’s mysterious. We don’t need to know his origin story. We just accept him as a quirky, possibly homicidal chocolate maker. And yet here we are, with “Wonka,” a film with a tagline that asks us to “Find Out How Willy Became Wonka.” Sure. Whatever. But wait, maybe it’s not all so dismal. For one thing, “Wonka” stars that charming Timothée Chalamet fellow. For another, it hails from Paul King, the director of the wonderful “Paddington” and “Paddington 2.” Can “Wonka” actually justify its existence?

Eh, sort of. The film is harmless and somewhat charming, although nowhere near as good as King’s “Paddington” films. And Chalamet is a likable enough lead, although it’s hard to picture him as the somewhat deranged guy who eventually lets kids fall into chocolate rivers and get sucked up into potentially deadly tubes with little more than a smirk and a sarcastic comment. Like the classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Wonka” is a musical — and that’s fine! I love musicals! Alas, all of the songs here are, to be quite frank, terrible. The only memorable number in the entire film is a reprise of “Pure Imagination” from the original “Chocolate Factory” film. It was bold of them to make a musical where every single song stinks, but here we are. 

Special features:

Unwrapping Wonka: Paul King’s Vision

  • Revered director Paul King takes you on a deep dive into his experience adapting the beloved story of Wonka.

The Whimsical Music of Wonka​

  • Composer Joby Talbot and songwriter Neil Hannon take you into the studio to illuminate the craft behind the wondrous songs of the film.

Welcome to Wonka Land

  • Production designer Nathan Crowley and the rest of the “Wonka” crew discuss creating the magical sets that transport audiences to the worlds of the film.

Hats Off to Wonka

  • Costume designer Lindy Hemming breaks down the inspiration and intention behind each of the character’s wonderful costumes.

Wonka’s Chocolatier

  • Chocolatier Gabriella Cugno provides an in-depth look at the creation of the beautiful chocolates seen in “Wonka.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *