Timothée Chalamet transformed into Willy Wonka for Paul King‘s eponymously-titled prequel for the beloved character, but that doesn’t mean first reactions weren’t full of a few critics calling the film nuts.

Chalamet stars as a young entrepreneur setting out to build a chocolate empire in musical film “Wonka.” The film is set 25 years before the events of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” with the feature being deemed a “companion” film to the 1971 original Roald Dahl adaptation. Actor Simon Farnaby wrote the script alongside director King, reuniting after “Paddington 2.” King previously teased that “Wonka” would harness the magic of the “golden age of MGM musicals” hailing from the 1940s and ’50s to tell the sweet tale.

Oscar-nominated star Chalamet did not have to audition for the musical after his viral high school raps circulated the Internet and led director King to cast the actor as Willy Wonka in the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” prequel. Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, and Rowan Atkinson also star alongside Chalamet.

Director King previously has gushed over Chalamet’s “voice of an angel” and compared his singing to Bing Crosby. “There’s quite a range, because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things, to moments of real, pure emotion and he can do it all,” King said of Chalamet. “I’m going to sound like a crazed fan.”

While the Warner Bros. movie doesn’t hit theaters until December 15, critics attended the premiere and quickly took to Twitter to share their audience reactions. The film has been praised for being a “sweet” installment in the franchise, drawing comparisons to “seeing a live Broadway show!” Chalamet has been deemed a clever and “magnetic” presence as the titular chocolatier, thanks to director King’s “whimsical” vision. The Oscar-nominated actor is also celebrated as “both a comedian and a performer” by singing and dancing in his musical debut.

The consensus that “Wonka” was a pleasant “surprise” of a musical holiday “classic” surely adds to the excitement around the new Warner Bros. feature.

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