on October 4, 2010
I won't bore you with yet another "review" of this film or my personal opinion of it. You want to know what I think of the BD version, right?
My short answer: This BD looks and sounds so good that I've already given away my DVD of it.
The Blu-ray Disc of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is the best I have ever seen of the film. Image quality is sharp & clean and the colors stand out like candy. The DolbyTrueHD sound is excellent allowing all the dialogue and songs to come through crystal-clear.
This BD case is like a book with many pages for the fans. My ONLY (small) regret is that the back cover containing all the BD information is not printed on the book, and instead is merely a printed page that eventually comes loose and detaches after a short while (whereas my "Easy Rider" BD is the same type of book and the information is printed on the back cover - much better!).
If you like (or love) this movie and are wondering if the BD is worth the money, wonder no more. You will be pleased with your decision to make the switch to Blu-ray for Wonka.
on November 25, 2001
The 30th Anniversary Edition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was originally botched as a fullscreen-only effort. However, Warner listened to the people and gave them a wonderful widescreen transfer.
Colors are vibrant, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track is very nice, and there are a handful of cool extras. There is the 30-minute documentary "Pure Imagination" which shows some of the cast today, including all the children and Gene Wilder himself. The interviews of the cast looking back at the movie which was the defining thing for so many of them is very interesting. The documentary on the whole is rather fulfilling. While one feels that the documentary could have delved deeper and maybe been an hour-long, at a brisk 30 minutes, the pacing seems okay and it won't leave you wanting too much more. There is a limited amount of archival on-set "B" roll footage, but all that is there is interesting.
Also included is the original theatrical trailer (Warner left off the 25th Anniversary trailer that was on the original DVD release from 1997), a 4-minute featurette on the production design, and a feature-length audio commentary from the children, who have now grown up. The other features - "character bios" and sing-alongs - are pretty much fluff features. Since this was one of my most anticipated DVD releases of the year, I can't help but feel Warner could have done more in the way of extra features - games, outtakes, deleted scenes, etc. Nevertheless, the overall content of this DVD is satisfying enough.
As one of the greatest films of all time, and certainly one of the most enjoyable musicals and most enjoyable films of the 1970s, "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" has a timeless feel to it. This DVD deserves a place in every collection.
If you like the movie, then know better than to be the fullframe edition, which was released earlier. Widescreen in the original ratio is the only way to go. Especially in a few years from now, when we all have 16 x 9 widescreen TVs, and that "fullframe" version leaves you with big bars on the side of the TV. See the movie the way it was made and meant to be seen - in widescreen. And when you do get that 16 x 9 television, guess what - the widescreen DVD will fill your screen!
A classic movie with classic peformances, and a wonderful amount of heart. What are you waiting for -- get the widescreen 30th Anniversary Edition DVD of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory so you can enter a world of pure imagination today!
Video: A -
on May 14, 2005
WOW, I can't believe how long ago this film was made and how wonderful it is even today! It really doesn't seem like it's from 1971. I have probably seen this film over 500 times by now, since the 80's and I still am not the least bit bored of it. At 28 years old, I still totally love this film!!! The characters, especially Gene Wilder who plays Willy Wonka, who is THE Willy Wonka, who could never be topped EVER (yes I've seen the 2005 film!), the music, the setting, the songs, and especially the Oompa-Loompa's! Everything in this film is so wonderfully done and everyone who hasn't seen it yet, needs to as soon as possible!!
My favorite place or scene in the whole film has to be the big candy and chocolate room where Willy Wonka sings "Pure Imagination." Not only for the song but because I can see how much work the director put into this film. All the candy and chocolate looks so real and alive and the whole room looks so beautiful the way everything is set up! I also love that teacher, Charlie's teacher that you see a lot until they go into the chocolate factory, he is so funny! And it's set in London, an added bonus!! I just cannot get enough of this film or recommend this film enough!! It's a masterpiece!!! It's definitely one of my favorite movies of all time!!!
Who could not love Veruca's "I Want It Now" performance? That whole scene was totally brilliant!
The Special Widescreen Edition DVD has tons of extras. There is commentary by the kids who got to go inside the factory. You'll also learn that Gene Wilder wouldn't play Willy Wonka unless he was able to do that somersault that he does before letting the kids through the gate. There is an interview with Gene Wilder from 2001, The Making of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, four sing along songs, a 1971 behind the scenes featurette, and a photo gallery.
on January 21, 2003
Well, not exactly... Some here have complained that the widescreen version is simply a matted version of a full screen print, and that the widescreen presentation chops off part of the image at the top and bottom. Well, according to my copy of the DVD, that is only half correct. I own the 25th Anniversary 1996 release of this film on DVD, which has both the widescreen and full screen version on one DVD. I compared numerous scenes in freeze-frame between the widescreen and full screen versions. In widescreen, sure enough, a bit of the top and bottom of the image seems to be cut off when compared to the full screen version. But I also noticed that when viewing the full screen version, an equal bit is missing from the left and right compared to the widescreen version. So no matter which version you watch, you aren't seeing "everything". But which is proper? After comparing many images, I conclude that the widescreen version is what we are supposed to be seeing. Consider the beginning of chapter six. If you watch the widescreen version, you see a news anchor sitting at a desk. the bottom of the image is framed with his name plate on his desk, and the right side of the screen says "Evening Report" on the back wall. Watch the full screen version, and you will see a bit more blue background on the top, and more of the desk below the name plate on the bottom, but the right side of the image now reads, "Eveni Repo"! Folks, you ARE missing the left and right sides when viewing the full screen version, and from what I saw, the little bit of information that is missing from the top and bottom of the widescreen version generally was inconsequential. Every scene I watched and compared looked better composed when watching the widescreen presentation. Just FYI...
on October 19, 2011
This review is for the 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray.
We all know Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a great movie. This review is simply the mechanics of this special edition set.
It is very nice box set and well organized and put together. However, to keep all the items in place are these clear cheap thin plastic pieces which make the whole set look a little cheap. I rather have foam like material to keep the items where they belong. The discs are on the bottom in a candy bar looking cardboard foldout sleeve, so you must dig through all the other items to get to the movie.
The box is colorful and fairly solid. It is slightly thicker than the Warner Brothers I am Legend special edition box set. When standing upright the top just slides off, but you need it to be on it's side or all the stuff will fall out. Really nothing of any use. I'll never use the smelly pencils or eraser. I wish the Blu-ray/DVD case was a steelbook or something a little stronger than cardboard. The golden ticket is cool and some of the other stuff is all right.
I had the Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory UK Blu-ray and I can honestly say this disc looks and sounds a lot better. It is probably the same as previous USA Blu versions, though to me it looks the best it ever has.
Over-all it is a nice set to have if you are a big fan like me. Each box is labeled as to what limited number you are out of 100,000. This label is actually a silver sticker on the outer cover of the box set. I wish it was on the inside somewhere, but that is ok. If you are hesitant, maybe wait until the price drops a little. I can't see this item selling out or being hard to find as there are 100,000 of them and it's not the best set in the world. But at $43.99, I am not disappointed with the set, movie, or cost.
on March 27, 2012
This is one of three movies that defined my more informative years. And this collection (I happened to get #8501 of the 100,000 that are floating around on Fizzy Lifting Drinks) is incredible. The slipcase pulls away and the first thing you see is the infamous Golden Ticket - which did advertise a contest from when the set was originally released. But it's a perfect copy of the ticket from the film.
Delving deeper into this set, we find a slip folder with the 40th anniversary logo. Within are several copies of inter-company notes and letters recognizing the casting, discussing the making of the film, a copy of a hand-written letter from Gene Wilder to the producers, and a cover letter from Wily Wonka explaining the Golden Ticket contest.
Further in the box is a high-gloss 130 page full colour paperback book entitled 'Pure Imagination'; its contents cover everything from the casting process to a "Where are They Now?". It's very well written and very insightful.
THEN, we find two boxes of 'Wonka Bars': the smaller box (6x3") has a hinged lid that reveals four pencils (with logos for Hair Creme, Banana, Blueberry, and Snozzberry; I have yet to open them, so I cannot tell you if the snozzberries do indeed taste like snozzberries). Also included is a thumb-sized eraser with the Wonka Bar logo.
The larger of the boxes (averaged DVD size) contains the BD of the feature, the DVD of the feature and a DVD disc with two featurettes, the first of which is director waxes reminiscent about everything he did in the production and along with the spots with his kids (who both had minor roles in the film) we get to see some of their favourite moments throughout. The second featurette (Pure Imagination) is an original (and very dated) behind the scenes focusing on the writer of the novel 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. It moves on through the process of coming up with the sets, props and musical numbers.
I have yet to listen to any commentary tracks, but I think it's safe to say it fits just as well as everything else WB gave us with this great collection of memorabilia. So live like the Oompa-Loompas and lose yourself in a film of pure imagination.....
on April 17, 2016
This was exactly what I was looking for. It was as described, but to get the extra star, I would love it in real leather. For the price, hard to complain. I would probably buy again, but would definitely spend 3 times as much for a leather version.
on January 18, 2016
Author Roald Dahl disowned this film version of his book. Apparently, after Dahl had finished writing the script, it was rewritten by David Seltzer. Dahl did not like that the emphasis of the film shifted from Charlie to Willy Wonka. He also didn’t like Slugworth being turned into a spy and various other “additions” to his story. He especially didn’t like that they hired Gene Wilder instead of Spike Milligan (Dahl’s choice for the role). Supposedly, Peter Sellers begged Dahl for the role of Willy Wonka. Also considered to play the character: Fred Astaire, Joel Grey, Ron Moody, and Jon Pertwee. All six members of Monty Python also wanted the part.
The plot involves a mania for candy that Willy Wonka turns into a contest. Win one of five golden tickets and you’ll be eligible for a tour of his super-secret chocolate factory. Charlie Bucket is determined to win a ticket on the grounds that it means more to him than anyone else, “I want it more than any of them!” So naturally, he deserves to win one. And the minute Charlie finds a ticket his bedridden grandpa Joe gets out of bed to sing, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket!” They tour the factory with a bevy of rotten kids and equally rotten parents, all of whom are quickly dispatched in amusing ways. The moral is clear, deceit will get you everything your heart desires.....and if it doesn’t kill you..........woo hoo!
Wilder’s psychotic turn as Wonka is a bit disturbing, especially when he throws a screaming fit that clearly demonstrates he isn’t fit to run a footrace, never mind a big candy company.
But I do love the naughty children, especially Julie Dawn Cole as Veruca Salt.
The film is based on a much-loved children's book, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', by Roald Dahl. Dahl wasn't always happy with the changes made between his book and the film, and wasn't always consulted on them. Today probably more people are familiar with the film sequence of events than the book. Charlie is a down-on-his-luck boy who is nonetheless optimistic and happy. He and his mother work to tend for their bed-ridden family members, all living together in a one-room home.
One day there is an annoucement that Wonka is going to open his factory to visitors, to be chosen more or less at random through finding the Golden Tickets, contained in Wonka bars (a brilliant marketing device back then). Scenes of shoppers' frenzy are shown all around with world, including a Wonka delivery van shown arriving at the White House.
The five golden tickets are found all around the world - the first one in Dusselheim, Germany, by the fat boy, Augustus Gloop (played by Michael Boliner, who is now a tax accountant in Munich, and is still rather large). The second ticket was found in the UK, by spoiled brat, Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole, the only Wonka child still acting), whose father, Roy Kinnear, is a well-known actor in British cinema. The third ticket was found in the USA, by gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson, now an accountant at a nuclear plant in Colorado), whose used-car-salesman father was played by Leonard Stone (who was selected over Jim Bakus). The fourth ticket was also won in the USA, by Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen, considered a real brat by most of the cast and crew); his frantic mother was played by Dodo Denny (later Nora Denny), who was one of the few minor characters in the film to consistently act after this film. The final ticket at first is reported to be won by some shady businessman from Paraguay, but in the end, that is proven to be a forgery. Of course, Charlie buys a Wonka Bar expecting nothing, and gets the ticket.
An ominous figure, Slugworth (the arch-enemy of Wonka - who knew chocolate makers also made arch-enemies?), appears to each of the winners, whispering in their ears. Charlie is also confronted, and promised a reward should he bring Slugworth an example of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper. One wonders why (a) any candy maker would make a candy that never wears out (thus defeating re-sales), and (b) why Slugworth can't just buy one himself when they are released, analyse it and ruin his own factory the same way? But I digress... Gunter Meisner, a very prolific German actor, played the villain, who wasn't in the book (nor was the 'gobstopper plot').
The grand day of the event, the winners enter the factory with great fanfare, meeting Wonka (Gene Wilder) for the first time, and get the first taste of his bizarre sense of theatre. (It is reported not only Wilder's idea for the limping/somersault introduction to the crowd, but also a condition of his accepting the role.) From that point on, what was truth? It is ironic that Wonka's entrance doesn't occur until the film is half over. What we remember of the film comes after this, but over half the film is actually set-up. This is rather like the Wizard of Oz, where most of the film is done before we see 'the major character', although admittedly Wonka is far more prominent than Oz's balloonist.
Wonka, the man of mystery, only ever became even more of a mystery as the tour progressed. He is constantly switching his words ('we have so much time and so little to do'), and there are surprises at every turn. Wonka borrows a lot of his key phrases (Ogden Nash, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde) and there are a lot of fantasy-inspired elements (Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings).
At each major scene, something ghastly seems to happen, but in epic-fantasy form, it doesn't seem to matter to the majority, who proceed onward with their quest. In the chocolate room, Augustus Gloop meets his untimely exit from the factory by falling in the chocolate river. Violet turns into a blueberry by chewing experimental gum, and has to be squeezed (squoozed?). Veruca, in the room with the geese who lay the golden eggs, turns out to be a bad egg herself, but has a sporting chance of going down a chute with an inactive furnace. Mike Teevee shrinks in the Wonka version of the Star Trek transporter beam, leaving in the end only Charlie, who is denied his prize of a lifetime of chocolate for a minor infraction.
It would seem that Wonka had a sinister side in many ways - the boat that carries the prize winners only seated eight, implying that Wonka knew someone would be missing. The Wonkamobile only had seats for four guests. Of course, the children apparently all had sinister sides, too, including Charlie, until the end. None of them let Wonka know of their Slugworth contact.
In the end, we never know what becomes of the fallen questers - we are led to believe that in this candy factory they got their just desserts. The Oompa-Loompas put the moral to each downfall in song, with a 1970s karaoke-type presentation of the lyrics as they sing. In the end, of course, goodness and justice win out, as the factory is given to Charlie after his act of unwarranted kindness toward Wonka.
Director Stuart always saw this film as a 'realistic' fantasy film. Those things that are not over the top are very ordinary. The people are not superheroes, and the situations, while fantastic, are not beyond the credible. Stuart also did his best for 'real' reaction - the kids had never seen Gene Wilder before his appearance at the door, the chocolate room in the factory, or the Oompa-Loompas prior to the first scene, either, so their reactions are more natural.
A great film for children and adults!
on June 5, 2015
I got this set on a Deal Of The Day as I love the movie. I had been hoping to get the Blu Ray collector's edition of this movie and was pleased that it finally dropped to a price I could afford. I found the image and sound to be exceptional - much better than the earlier DVD edition I had. The extras goodies - book, pencil case and movie notes included are enjoyable as well. The book was especially enjoyable as it offers some exceptional insight into the making of this classic film.
While I don't get Blu Rays for the extra features, it is nice to find something of value when you purchase a collector's edition. The movie only Blu Ray and DVD include little with the only item of any length being a behind the scenes feature from an earlier release of the movie. There was an extra 'special features' disc, so there must be more great stuff there! Unfortunately, this was a really meager batch of extras that seemed thrown together with little thought. For such a special movie, I expected more than a few echo filled interviews from the actors.
If you love this movie and can find this set at a great price, it is worthwhile. Just don't expect anything incredibly special.