Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 4K Ultra HD
(Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / PG / (1971) 2021 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder as the legendary Candy Man Willy Wonka, this splendiferous movie brings to the screen the endlessly appetizing delights of Roald Dahlâ€™s cherished book.
Coated with flavorful tunes and production designs that are a visual treat for the eyes, this effervescent musical never fails to enchant young and old.
On a whirlwind tour of Willys incredible, edible realm of chocolate waterfalls, elfish Oompa-Loompas and industrial-sized confections, a boy named Charlie (Peter Ostrum) will discover the sweetest secret of all: a generous, loving heart.
And viewers will rediscover all the timeless magic as it was meant to be seen.
Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the oh-so colorful, and gloriously kinda-sorta edible (!) Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this June 29th, 2021.
For my money, this Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p), HDR: HDR10, Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHDs, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.
For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the truly breathtaking, and musical Pure Imagination scene, where the camera pans around inside the factory floor, where all the grass, candy canes and toadstools are situated!
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - notably the fine detail to the faces of the three people (two adults, one child ... and half a clock!) in the brilliant You Lose! Good Day Sir! scene!
As for the audio, well we have the choices here of: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), French: Dolby Digital Mono, and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, as people tend to forget, Willy Wonka is not a nice man from the onset. Yet, somehow, you cannot help but like him. Hey, at least as he is played by Gene Wilder in, the semi-psychedelic, and psychotronic 1971 version of Roald Dahls classic childrens novel.
Wonka is aloof, sardonic, sarcastic, mysterious, manipulative, and devious - a leprechaun with a hyperactive thyroid and an edge. But, as Wilder plays him, you sense the sweetness behind the wild gleam in his eyes.
indeed, he is really hoping that one of the five children he has invited to tour his chocolate factory will be a worthy heir to the world of his imagination.
Yes, Wonka is a cynic and a misanthrope. I mean, what else could he be after sequestering himself in his own little world for years on end? But he wants to believe that there is still some good to be found in a weary world and thus Wilder captures Dahls creation perfectly!
The rest of the cast is perfect, too, and they make the most of Dahls often witty script. Peter Ostrom, in particular, is excellent as Charlie.
Yet, this minor classic of a movie has its flaws. The production design suffers from a lack of budget. Wonkas Chocolate Room looks like an elaborate mini-golf course, with a dirty river running through it, in a brick warehouse.
The Inventing Room is meant to be a whimsical, magical laboratory, but comes off more like an especially elaborate hideout for the Joker on the old Batman TV series!
The songs range from reasonably good (Veruca Salts ode to brattiness I Want the Whole World) to saccharine (The Candy Man) to downright wretched re: the Oompa-Loompa oeuvre entire, with lousy choreography to match!
Wilders rendition of Pure Imagination, an overly sugary confection that could induce diabetic comas in the wrong hands, works thanks to the faraway look in his eyes; he makes it magical.
The make up and costumes of the Oompa-Loompas (Wonkas workers), on the other hand, are simply embarrassing, sorry; but then again, it was 1971 and I am sure there were a LOT of fun drugs hanging around the set, if you know what I mean!
Yet despite these finickity flaws, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is hugely entertaining and probably the best family film of the 1970s.
Think of it this way: Willy Wonka is to Burtons Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the Batman TV series (from the 1960s) is to Burtons Batman. Both are different, entirely valid takes on the same source material and both are worth watching!
OK, in summary, the first part of the film is possibly the funniest. Rather than seeing a group of children searching the world for Golden tickets, we are instead presented with a variety of obsessed adults who seem willing to pay any price for the prizes.
This makes the film even more enjoyable for children; they get to see their parents acting like maniacs, the way the children themselves would.
But it is five children who find the tickets, and they are hand-picked to be the worst examples of bratty kids: the overfed glutton, the snotty gum-chewer, the smarmy couch potato, and of course the most demanding, spoiled little demon in history (in my opinion, one of the greatest performances by a child actor ever!)
But the fifth is the golden child, the hard-working, honest little boy who has never had anything. From the beginning he is taking care of his family, trying to be the man of the house now that his father is dead.
One cannot help but love Charlie, especially as he sadly walks home alone to the sounds of his mother singing him a lullaby.
Anyway, the point of the film is that honesty, innocence, and faith will eventually make dreams come true. Those dreams are brought to life through the Chocolate Factory, a spectacular series of sets and scenery, along with a delightful musical score.
Yet all through the Chocolate Factory, it is only Charlie who really seems to be enjoying himself; the others only whine and complain about all the strange and wonderful things around them!
Taking a peak at one of the Special Features, and although they have all been used and seen before, the stand out for me is obviously still Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
It runs at just over 15 mins and is, near enough, the complete verbal, and at times, behind-the-scenes visual rendering of how the scenes came to be and what elements caused too much trouble along the way!
The stand out fact here is that, and as told by Producer David L. Wolper, Quaker Oats was going to bring out a new candy bar and he admitted that sounded like a great movie tie in, and so the name Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was locked in place.
It was already a book about a chocolate factory, and so they decided to make a movie of the book, but to tie in with the new and upcoming Quaker Oats chocolate bar!
So the plan was to then release the film around the same time as the Quaker Oats chocolate bar reveal, BUT Quaker Oats decided at the very last minute to call the candy bar the Wonka Bar, so they immediately changed the title of the movie to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
So Quaker Oats put up the money to make the movie, and with the script from Roald Dahl, together with renowned writer David Seltzer, the film got retitled and rehandled so that all parties came out winning!
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
Commentary with the Wonka Kids
Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Pure Imagination
Scrumptious Sing-Along: I Want It Now!
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Ive Got A Golden Ticket
Scrumptious Sing-Along: Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-De-Do
On 6/29/2021, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.
It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.
Official Original Trailer
On June 30th, 2021, the beloved family film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory celebrates its 50th anniversary. Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee), Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) and Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop) recently sat down together to reflect on 50 years of the perennial family classic.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory | 50th Anniversary | Warner Bros. Entertainment