What it felt like to watch Wonka at Cineworld through the eyes of my children

The excitement started to build in the days leading up to Wonka’s release. "Is it Wonka Day yet?" was the daily refrain from my children, and after viewing Wish, the next family movie to look out for was, naturally, Wonka. It all started with the Wonka trailer, which teased the candy-coloured world from the producers of Harry Potter and the director of Paddington. It promised to be a fantastical dive into pure imagination.

The big day finally arrived. "Today is Wonka Day isn’t it", my eldest proclaimed first thing in the morning. Being fans of the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, my four-year-old and eight-year-old were both extremely excited to meet Timothée Chalamet’s new incarnation of Wonka.


Arriving at the cinema, the four of us (two overgrown children and two actual children) were quick to capitalise on Cineworld's Family Ticket offer that allows adults to pay kids' prices. We gathered snacks, excitedly asked for the (golden) tickets, and made our way to the screen. The black Unlimited card came in handy at this stage!

"I’m really excited", the four-year-old said in between handfuls of popcorn. The trailers appeared on screen with nodding approval toward Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire and Next Goal Wins from the eight-year-old and the four-year-old confusing Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom with a new version of The Little Mermaid.

The BBFC notice flashed up and indicated the reason we were there: Wonka. As the movie began with the piano twinkling of the incomparable ‘Pure Imagination’, it became evident that director Paul King was injecting pure nostalgia into his reimagining of Roald Dahl’s world.


Amplifying the entertaining song and dance atmosphere were the raucous songs from The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and the score from Joby Talbot. Both children were swept along by Wonka’s otherworldly charm. Certain scenes elicited whispers of ‘Wow, that’s magic’ while one particular dance sequence resulted in a hushed, "That’s glass, it’s not safe to dance there".

As the story progressed, the appearance of Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa, Lofty, elicited the biggest laugh from our area of the cinema thanks to his throwback musicality and gamely camp performance.

Post-credits, the remains of the family munch boxes tidied away, it was time for the standard movie post-mortem question: "Well kids, what did you think?" It's always a nervy moment as a parent.

Without going into too many plot points, the answers were "Giraffe" and "The funny man from Paddington". "How did this Willy Wonka compare?" I asked, knowing full well that living up to the great Gene Wilder is an enormous task for anyone.

"I liked his magic hat", said our youngest "He was really clever and I want to try his chocolate", said our eldest. It was clear that the kids had been swept away in the manner of a delicious hoverchoc taken directly from Wonka's hand. 


Escape into a world of pure imagination with a family ticket for Wonka. Click the link below for more details.