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Timothée Chalamet as Wonka VS Gene Wilder VS Johnny Depp

Timothée Chalamet as Wonka VS Gene Wilder VS Johnny Depp
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Who captured that pure imagination best? Welcome to MsMojo, and today, the cocoa shavings are gonna fly as we determine who has the golden ticket as the best Wonka. Our verses includes Gene Wilder, Johnny Depp, Timothee Chalamet, and more!

Round 1: Candy Man

In order to become a chocolatier, one must pull off the look of a chocolatier. Now, how exactly does one figure out how to dress to success? Well, it’s all in the aesthetic! All three Wonkas do bring that chocolatier flair in their attire. Wilder comes with the royal purple coat and brown top hat, a classic appearance that still holds the same level of pizzazz as it did back in 1971. (Seriously, this look is never going out of style!) Depp’s wardrobe has a much darker tone, almost to the same degree as artisanal high-percentage dark chocolate. Fancy. But Wonka is a character of modesty in his way, and Depp’s outfit is a bit too elegant for the character. Chalamet borrows the brown top hat from Wilder while sporting Depp’s coat but in a lighter shade. It helps reflect his character while still matching the graceful appearance of chocolate in a royal wrapping. Depp and Wilder certainly look like chocolatiers. However, Chalamet dresses as if he is chocolate in its original and purest form. Without all the magic tricks and spectacle he brings, this is still a man who we’d still be eager to buy chocolate from. WINNER: Wilder 0 / Depp 0 / Chalamet 1

Round 2: Humor

To be Willy Wonka, the character needs a bit of zaniness, wit and bite to his demeanor. Each Wonka actor brings their own humorous spin to the character. Humor is part of what makes Gene Wilder’s Wonka so memorable. There is a reply for every kind of statement or question whether it’s dry, sarcastic, or even downright insulting. Even in dire situations, his wit is on point. Even in the face of Mr. Beauregarde yelling at him or Mrs. Teavee panicking, he always keeps his cool and kind of makes a big joke of the situation. Depp in his role, on the other hand, is a bit of an oddball. Lovable, but odd. Whereas Wilder’s Wonka has some sharp comebacks and subtlety to his insults, Depp’s Wonka is a lot more direct. His disruptions are often loud and without warning, and his disdain towards children is a lot more obvious. In a way, it sort of adds to his mysterious persona and makes you wonder what happened to break him into such a maddening figure. It works for and against him. Chalamet’s Wonka is, unfortunately, the least impressive if you’re purely looking for comedy. While there are some fun gags and one-liners in “Wonka”, Chalamet’s version of the famed candy maker is the weakest for laughs. Many of his jokes lean too heavily into his naivety and innocence. It’s a little too wholesome and doesn’t properly set up, much less allude to, his frustrations with a dishonest world. We don’t often do this in a triple threat fight, but we’re going to give both Depp and Wilder Wonkas this round. Even if Depp is a bit different in demeanor with his humor, both he and Wilder still manage to be funny overall. Chalamet’s Wonka needs some more edge to his comedy. WINNER: Wilder 1 / Depp 1 / Chalamet 1

Round 3: Songs

A crucial aspect to making a great Willy Wonka movie is the tracklist. You need a good selection of songs that truly capture the magic and wonder of making candy. We’ll just knock the Depp Wonka out of the way first. We can admire the ambition for making the Oompa Loompas take on different genres of music for every number. However, the songs are hard to follow with overwhelming visuals and bizarre vocals. The Chalamet Wonka is a true step up from Depp’s. The songs are charming and fit with the tone of the movie. Unfortunately, that’s the most we can say about the music. Overall, the songs are mostly forgettable because of how generic they sound. Sure, “A Hatful of Dreams” and the movie’s rendition of “Pure Imagination” are wonderful, but the rest of the songs sound a little too much like many other songs you’ve heard in other musicals. We suppose you could say Wilder Wonka takes the win rather easily here. With “Cheer Up, “Charlie” being the only weak song in the 1971 classic, it still sets the standard for the kind of songs a Wonka movie should have. “Pure Imagination”, “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket”, “The Candy Man” are all songs that defined the movie and the wondrous world of Wonka. Really, need we say more? Wilder wins this one pretty easily. WINNER: Wilder 2 / Depp 1 / Chalamet 1

Round 4: Sending A Message

The fourth key ingredient to a fantastic Wonka film is heart — most importantly, a heartfelt message for audiences to learn from. The original Wilder Wonka laid the foundation for the theme of honesty by telling a tale of temptation and perseverance, although the film takes a long time fully addressing its message. It all leads to a rather rushed ending where Charlie’s honesty earns him the grand prize. Depp’s Wonka focuses a lot more on resentment. Much of the movie shows how Wonka’s father kept him from chasing his dream of becoming a candy maker. Problem is that the broken relationship between him and his father steals the spotlight from Charlie and pays no mind to the original movie’s message of honesty. Kind of an odd approach considering the source material. And what of Chalamet? Well, his version follows the blueprint Wilder’s Wonka laid out. Honesty is at the forefront of the movie’s themes, as we see the soon-to-be chocolatier constantly get conned, threatened, and sabotaged by big business owners Slugworth, Fickelgruber, and Prodnose. It not only follows the footsteps of the original, it also does an excellent job at setting up the events featured in that film. It shows how honesty becomes a treasured trait to Wonka and why he values it so much. In a sense, it winds up making the original even better in that regard. The Chalamet Wonka can celebrate this victory with a big chocolate fountain. When you not only follow in your predecessor’s footsteps but also spectacularly build upon that legacy while elevating it, you have done a tremendous service to both the source material and fanbase. WINNER: Wilder 2 / Depp 1 / Chalamet 2

Round 5: Pure Imagination

The final ingredient to create the perfect concoction to the most scrumdiddlyumptious candy flick of all-time: an imaginative, breathtaking reveal of the main attraction, the Chocolate Room. To its credit, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” had an impressive and creative Chocolate Room. The river looked like it was a deep, thick chocolate syrup. The grass looked as if it was grown specifically for Easter baskets. It truly looked as if every bit of the room really was made of, or for, candy. And the mix of CGI and practical effects was well done. We only wish we got a better, longer look at the room before moving on. Chalamet’s Chocolate Room doesn’t appear until the very end of the movie so we will focus more on the scene where Wonka opens up his first shop. As Chalamet sings “A World of Your Own”, we see a chocolate cherry blossom tree, strawberry cotton candy clouds, a sour gummy rainbow, and a wide arrangement of colorful chocolate flower bouquets. It definitely feels like a precursor to what would become the Chocolate Room. Our only complaint? It seems a little small. And it’s lacking the chocolate river. So, why should the Wilder Wonka win this round? Well, it isn’t just because it’s the original; it’s more because of the impact it had and how it truly captured the idea of a world made of candy. There are mushrooms with whipped cream spots, trees that spill jelly beans when shaken, tea cups made of chocolate, bouncy balls of bubble gum, bushes of candy canes, lollipops, and of course, the chocolate river. It was a wondrous room, and the collective look on the cast’s faces is exactly how we felt the first time we watched the movie. (Fun fact: that shot was also their first time seeing the Chocolate Room as it was kept secret from them until it was time to shoot the scene.) Wilder’s Wonka still has that timeless magic in its Chocolate Room. It brings the vision of a Chocolate Room to life and leaves a massive impression. Depp’s Wonka has a vibrant and surreal Chocolate Room, and Chalamet works with what he was given. But it’s official, folks - Wilder still reigns supreme as the one Wonka to rule them all. WINNER: Wilder 3 / Depp 1 / Chalamet 2 Did we choose the best Wonka? Let us know in the comments!

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