A Paul King directorial, ‘Wonka’ is a 2023 fantasty comedy adventure that follows Wonka, a character from Roald Dahl’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story revolves around Wonka’s struggle against the chocolate cartel and their subordinate policemen, to open his own store and become a full-fledged chocolatier. He is joined by a young girl, Noodle, and a fairy-like Oompa Loompa called Lofty. The young inventor figures out creative ways to outwit the cartel and create his own chocolates to share with everyone.
The bright musical journey of Wonka is accompanied by whimsical humor, stunning visuals, and stellar performances by the cast. The wholegrain family entertainer departs lessons in friendship, working against the odds, believing in one’s self, and sharing happiness with others. These are some movies like ‘Wonka’ that draw us into their fantastical tales and take us on riveting adventures with plenty of laughs along the way.
10. Maleficent (2014)
Directed by Robert Stromberg, ‘Maleficent’ reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty by providing a fresh perspective on the iconic villain. The film delves into the backstory of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), revealing her transformation from a benevolent fairy living in the magical Moors to a misunderstood and scorned figure. The narrative takes a dark turn when Maleficent places an irrevocable curse on King Stefan’s daughter, Aurora, as revenge for a betrayal.
Unexpectedly, Maleficent becomes a surrogate guardian to the young princess, developing a complex and unconventional bond. Aurora grows into a young girl, unaware of the role Maleficent played in her past. Much like ‘Wonka’ the film is an origin story of an enigmatic character in a classic children’s movie. Both films provide exemplary backstories to their protagonists, building upon what little we knew of them with redeeming character arcs.
9. Robots (2005)
Under the direction of Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha, ‘Robots’ is an animated adventure that takes place in a futuristic world entirely inhabited by robots. The story centers on Rodney Copperbottom, a young and aspiring inventor who dreams of making a difference. Rodney embarks on a journey to Robot City, a bustling metropolis, in pursuit of his dreams. Once there, he discovers the city is not as perfect as he imagined.
As Rodney navigates the challenges of Robot City, he encounters a diverse cast of robots, each with their own quirks and personalities. The plot takes a turn when Rodney uncovers a nefarious conspiracy that threatens all of Robotkind. With the help of his friends, including the charming Fender (Robin Williams), Rodney must confront the conspiring bots and bring about a revolution. Much like Wonka, Rodney is an inventor who wants to make a positive impact on the world but is hindered by dubious characters in power. Both films combine humor, heart, and a vibrant world to deliver a delightful experience with underlying themes of friendship and standing up for what is right.
8. Dolittle (2020)
Helmed by Stephen Gaghan, ‘Dolittle’ presents a whimsical adventure with a man who can talk to animals, Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr). Dolittle has isolated himself in his manor following the death of his wife. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when the young Queen Victoria falls gravely ill. To find a cure, Dolittle, who can communicate with animals, sets sail on a perilous journey to a mythical island. Accompanied by a motley crew of animal companions, Dolittle faces treacherous seas, encounters fierce foes, and unravels a conspiracy.
The plot is interwoven with humor, charm, and heartwarming moments as Dolittle and his eclectic animal friends navigate challenges to save the queen and the fantastical creatures inhabiting the mysterious island. Both ‘Wonka,’ and ‘Dolittle’ feature a similarly whimsical adventure with hilarious characters and situations sprinkled throughout. The films share their fantastical nature along with themes of resilience, friendship, and the importance of embracing one’s unique abilities.
7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
With Ken Hughes in the director’s chair, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ brings to life the magical tale of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts. In the idyllic English countryside, Potts salvages an old car and transforms it into a fantastical vehicle named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which can drive, sail, and fly. When Potts, his children, and his wife, embark on a seaside picnic, the magical car reveals its extraordinary abilities, taking them on a thrilling journey.
The plot takes an enchanting turn when the family finds itself in the land of Vulgaria, ruled by the sinister Baron Bomburst and his quirky wife. Comparable to ‘Wonka,’ ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ is a whimsical musical adventure that involves an inventor and his fantastical escapades. With further similarities found in hilarious absurdities and eccentric characters, fans of ‘Wonka’ will find themselves bobbing along to the rhythm of the classic family tale.
6. Meet the Robinsons (2007)
In the directorial hands of Stephen J. Anderson, ‘Meet the Robinsons’ follows the journey of Lewis, a brilliant yet orphaned inventor with a passion for creating extraordinary gadgets. Lewis’s life takes a thrilling turn when Wilbur Robinson, a time-traveling boy, takes him to the future. Together, they embark on a journey to thwart the villainous Bowler Hat Guy’s sinister plans.
As Lewis encounters the eccentricities of the Robinson family and their futuristic gadgets, he discovers a need to go back to his time and search for his family. The Disney adventure shares its sense of humor with ‘Wonka,’ both having bumbling villains whose absurdities and antics lead to hysterical moments.
5. The BFG (2016)
Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg breathes life into the enchanting tale of Sophie, a young orphan who encounters the Big Friendly Giant (BFG) in the bustling city of London. Initially scared out of her wits, Sophie soon discovers that not all giants are menacing. The BFG, a gentle giant, takes Sophie to Giant Country, where she learns about the existence of evil giants who devour human children and bully BFG.
Determined to stop them, Sophie and the BFG embark on a journey to persuade the Queen of England to help thwart the giants’ nefarious plans. Like ‘Wonka,’ ‘BFG’ is also adapted from one of Roald Dahl’s classic novels. Both films share a delightful mix of humor, friendship, and fantastical adventure in an imaginative world.
4. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
With director Brad Silberling at the helm, ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ follows the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Their parents perish in a mysterious fire, leaving them in the care of the nefarious Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). The orphans endure a series of unfortunate events as Olaf schemes to seize their inherited fortune. The children’s resilience and ingenuity become their greatest assets as they navigate a world filled with eccentric characters and sinister plots.
With each encounter, they uncover clues about their parents’ past and the secret society connected to their misfortunes. The film, based on the book series by Daniel Handler, combines dark humor, gothic aesthetics, and a sense of melancholic adventure. Similar to Wonka, the Baudelaire orphans have very few people they can rely upon and use their own ingenuity to even the odds. The film visually contrasts ‘Wonka’ while matching its absurd humor and a story of battling conspiring figures.
3. Labyrinth (1986)
‘Labyrinth’ invites us into a fantastical realm where goblins and magical creatures dwell in a world that defies comprehension. At the heart of the story is Sarah, a teenager who, frustrated with her responsibilities, inadvertently wishes her baby brother away. The Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie), seizes the opportunity, taking the baby to his labyrinthine castle. Sarah embarks on a quest through the elaborate maze to rescue her brother within the stipulated thirteen hours before he becomes a goblin permanently.
Under the direction of Jim Henson, the labyrinth itself becomes a metaphorical backdrop for Sarah’s personal growth, while David Bowie delivers an iconic performance dripping with enigmatic charisma. For those who liked the musical adventure of ‘Wonka,’ ‘Labyrinth’ will provide a melodic experience laden with mischievous humor in a thrilling world.
2. Hook (1991)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, ‘Hook’ transports us to Neverland, where Peter Pan (Robin Williams) has grown up and forgotten his magical past. Now a corporate lawyer, he rediscovers his roots when Captain Hook kidnaps his children. With the help of Tinker Bell (Julia Roberts), Peter is taken back to Neverland, where he must realize his forgotten identity as the legendary Peter Pan.
Initially struggling to embrace his inner child and the concept of imagination, Peter gradually rediscovers the magic that defines Neverland. Much like ‘Wonka,’ ‘Hook’ follows up on its classical predecessor and builds upon the story with a deeper exploration of its characters. Both films provide a heartfelt and visually captivating journey that captures our imagination and resonates with audiences of all ages.
1. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ directed by Mel Stuart, is the classic that first introduced Willy Wonka to cinema. The eccentric chocolatier invites five golden ticket winners to tour his fantastical chocolate factory. The lucky children, including the endearing Charlie Bucket, experience a surreal adventure filled with vibrant landscapes and magical confections. Wonka’s factory is a playground of enchanting rooms, from the fizzy lifting drinks to the edible wallpaper.
The film’s heart lies in Charlie’s journey, a humble boy who is on the path to prove himself worthy of Wonka’s legacy. As the group encounters mischievous Oompa-Loompas and navigates Wonka’s peculiar tests, each child faces consequences for their flaws. If you were enthralled by the world of ‘Wonka,’ its timeless predecessor becomes a must-watch. Within its chocolate factory, the film blends fantasy, morality, and the sweetness of childlike wonder into a delectable cinematic experience.
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