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Wonka first reactions are in: is it the ultimate Christmas hit?

Early reactions suggest Timothée Chalamet smashes it as Wonka...

Wonka first reactions are in: is it the ultimate Christmas hit?
Andrew Williams
29 November 2023

The first reactions to the premiere of big Christmas movie Wonka are in, and are mostly positive.

Before you get too excited, these are not the proper critic reviews we’ll see ahead of the film’s release on December 8 in the UK.

This is the circus of social media reactions, largely posted on Twitter/X by people who aren’t going to end up writing the reviews that sway the Rotten Tomatoes score.

However, this doesn’t mean they’re all posted by YouTubers who can be bought up with a bag of sweets and a promise of a future sponsored content deal.

Germain Lussier is a Gizmodo entertainment reporter who says Timothée Chalamet is a “blast” as Wonka, and the highlight of a film that while decent can’t quite match up to his performance.

This represents something of a turnaround. So much of the Wonka pre-release scepticism over the last few months has centred around how supposedly bad the generally super-entertaining Chalamet is going to be.

Variety film writer and reviewer Courtney Howard is even more positive, and gives us something else to look forward to: Hugh Grant in “exceptional IDGAF mode.” Always a joy.

Collider video producer Perri Nemiroff, much like Lussier, says Chalamet is the Wonka highlight. She has generally very positive things to say about the film as a whole, but doesn’t shy away from criticism either.

Variety’s Jazz Tangcay also highlights the film’s visuals and gives a shout out to the film’s production designer Nathan Crowley. We’d hope it to be strong in this area, given how iconic the look of the 1971 version is.

However, out favourite reaction has to go to IndieWire’s David Ehrlich. Here’s his concise take:

As for Empire's Chris Hewitt - it's fair to say, he's a massive fan.

While these early social media takes are far from a conclusion the film is genuinely good, we should also remember who’s at the helm here.

Wonka is directed by Paul King, director of both of the Paddington movies. He co-wrote this adaptation with UK comedy actor treasure Simon Farnaby, who also co-wrote Paddington 2. And even had a hand in writing the under-seen Mindhorn with Julian Barratt.

We’ve got fingers crossed this initial solid reception will continue in the full reviews, which we won’t see until next week. Wonka is due in cinemas on December 8 in the UK, December 15 in the US.