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The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
by Caleb Geer, Ad Manager/Web Editor • April 27, 2024

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life when I showed up on campus in the middle of the pandemic almost four years ago. I knew...

Looking back at my time at Simpson
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by Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager • April 27, 2024

It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
by Jenna Prather, Editor-in-chief • April 27, 2024

Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

Wonka (2023) Review: Not just the chocolate is too sweet

Caleb Geer

 “Wonka,” the prequel to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” is a surprisingly heartwarming musical that is great as a standalone film, but is too sweet to capture the original movie’s essence.

The film, directed by Paul King, follows Timothee Chalamet’s Willy Wonka as he attempts to open a chocolate shop in a town where three chocolatiers, “The Chocolate Cartel,” monopolize the industry. 

After signing a hotel owner’s manipulative contract, he accidentally becomes an indentured servant. He teams up with his fellow workers to try to simultaneously pay off their debt and achieve his lifelong dream of being a chocolatier. 

The story for this film is phenomenal, with perfect pacing and a tone that manages to balance fun and suspense. It has a unique plot that takes time to develop every character. 

The writers tie up all the loose ends without relying too much on the nostalgia factor of the other films – except for an appearance by the Oompa Loompas and Willy singing “Pure Imagination.” 

Casting Chalamet as the titular character was an excellent but unexpected choice. He is a powerhouse with impressive vocals and eccentric characterization who fully commits to the ridiculousness of his role. 

With lyrics like “Singing this song will improve your moodle” and “Will I crash and burn or go up like a rocket,” it would be easy for these moments to be cringy. Chalamet, however, managed to make these lines not just seem natural but somehow emotional. 

Although I had a great time watching the movie, I still have several criticisms of it.

In this adaptation, Willy Wonka is a naive but kind-hearted genius who wants to share his chocolate with the world and fulfill his mother’s dream. 

This representation differs significantly from Gene Wilder’s and Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka. They are creepy, vindictive characters who attempt to murder (or at least severely harm) children for acting like rowdy kids who can’t follow rules.

They send one down a garbage chute and suck another into a tube to be made into chocolate. Afterward, they just move on with the tour like nothing happened while some Oompa Loompas sing choreographed songs about the horrific events.

While Chalamet’s Wonka did not need to be evil, I wish they had shown hints of his wicked nature. Maybe he could have given a kid who bothered him candy that turned him into a fly or made them speak in Pig Latin.

Instead, he gave money to a woman who needed it for a place to sleep. His character is a sweetheart who deserves the world, but it is difficult to believe he is the same person who casually attempts to kill people in the earlier films.

I also despise Wonka’s costume. I know it is supposed to match what he wears in the factory from the original movies. However, I do not believe he rode on a boat and ran around the dusty city without snagging or staining his clothes. 

Also, he was a poor orphan who lived in the jungle. Why does he have a velvet coat and dress pants? They could have incorporated a scene where he buys new clothes after making money from selling chocolate. Everyone loves a makeover montage! They could have even put this in one of the songs. 

Maybe this would have helped me remember them because, right now, the music is pretty forgettable. The only song I can remember is “Pure Imagination,” which isn’t even an original from this movie. The music fit well with the scenes, but it was not unique or catchy enough to stay with me. Unfortunately, I will not be adding any of them to my playlist.

Overall, Wonka is a fun, engaging film to watch that will make you smile the whole time. While it does not match the energy of its predecessor, I still highly recommend watching it if you want a light-hearted movie about the value of innovation, determination, and a bar of chocolate.

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About the Contributors
Maggie Fitzpatrick
Maggie Fitzpatrick, Staff Reporter
Caleb Geer
Caleb Geer, Ad Manager & Website Editor

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