Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Blu-ray Book) – Blu-ray Review - CLIPS ADDED!
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 19, 2009, 14:46 GMT
Join the expedition visiting legendary Candy Man Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) in a splendiferous movie that wondrously brings to the screen the endlessly appetizing delights of Roald Dahl’s classic book. Coated with flavorful tunes and production design that constantly dazzles the eye, this effervescent musical never fails to enchant young and old. On a whirlwind tour of Willy’s incredible, edible realm of chocolate waterfalls, elfish Oompa-Loompas and industrial-sized confections, a ...more
“The candy man can”
Oompa Loompa Doompa-Dee-Do, get your Wonkavision set ready because Willy Wonka has returned and is in high definition. The somewhat sinister chocolatier wants to give you a personal tour of his factory, but don’t expect to go away unharmed if you a naughty child.
Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) is dirt poor. He lives with his mother, father, and two sets of grandparents who are confined to bed, one bed at that (kinky!). Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) used to work at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. However, one day the mysterious Wonka (Gene Wilder) fired everyone and closed the factory. Even more mysterious, after years of inactivity the factory started back up again but no one saw anyone go in and nobody comes out.
The secrecy surrounding the candy maker has given rise to all sorts of curiosity. That is brought to a frenzy when Wonka announces that he’s hidden five golden tickets in his Wonka Bars and the bearers of this glittering commodity, along with one parent, will be granted a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
The race is on and a worldwide buying craze for the candy happens. Soon four tickets are found by the overweight German lad Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), the bratty Brit Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), gum chewing American Violet Beauregard (Denise Nickerson), and television obsessed American Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen).
The final ticket is found by a mysterious Paraguayan millionaire and this dashes Charlie’s hopes of finding the prize, that and he couldn’t afford to buy the massive quantities of chocolate the others did. His luck seems to change when he finds a coin in a gutter. He uses it to buy a Wonka Bar just about time the word hits that the Paraguayan millionaire had faked his ticket.
Charlie opens his candy to find gold glittering inside. Running home he’s approached by the sinister Arthur Slugworth (Gunter Meisner), a rival candy maker, who offers Charlie a large sum of money to steal a sample of Wonka’s latest creation the Everlasting Gobstopper.
Charlie’s family is ecstatic of his find and Grandpa Joe even rises from his sickbed to go with Charlie on the tour and joins Mr. Salt (Roy Kinnear), Mr. Beauregard (Leonard Stone), Mrs. Gloop (Ursula Reit), and Mrs. Teevee (Dodo Denney) as the adults on the tour. I think we’ll also go along and enter a world of pure imagination.
Willy Wonka is a part to die for. The character is talked about for a good thirty minutes before he’s even shown on screen so by the time that he does show up the mystery and anticipation is effectively built up to a fever pitch (Orson Welles would say of the character of Harry Lime that he took the part because the same reasons even though the role was small, but don’t forget that grand speech about the cuckoo clock).
Gene Wilder would make Wonka one of his signature roles and, in my opinion, even the hot property Johnny Depp couldn’t take the role from him. He makes Wonka equal parts sinister, untrustworthy, but never takes it too far so that the audience still loves him.
It’s a grand, delicious bit of acting. Each of the supporting kids also play archetypes, but they play them so well that you can’t help but recognize those traits in you and others, not to mention their poor, put upon parents.
Charlie Ostrum, our hero, is indeed heroic and a great little actor (I’m always surprised that he didn’t go on to bigger things). He’s joined by the very reliable Jack Albertson and Roy Kinnear also is a shining point in the adult roster.
The film is not one that talks down to kids and even offers a chill or two along the way. I still prefer the original over the remake (even though I like it too) for Wilder’s wondrous Wonka (Depp is a bit too Michael Jackson, scary that).
I also can’t forget about the tasty, sing-able songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and the great production design by Harper Goff, who also designed the Nautilus for Disney (20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954) - full disclosure: one of my favorite films).
The film has proved to be an Everlasting Gobstopper in that it will continue to entertain generations.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). It’s the best that I’ve ever seen it. Special features include a commentary with the Wonka kids, Charlie Ostrum, Michael Bollner, Julie Dawn Cole, Denise Nickerson, and Paris Themmen.
The rest of the special features are presented in standard definition. Next is the 30 minute “Pure Imagination” making of that also features interviews with Wilder, director Mel Stuart, and producer David L.
Wolper, the 4 minute “Vintage 1971 featurette” delightfully focuses on Harper Goff (I know I was thrilled), 9 minutes of sing-along songs from the film, and the 3 minute theatrical trailer. The disc is done up in Warner’s digibook packaging that has 38 pages of production notes, photos, etc.
Pure imagination has never looked better, the special features might not be new but they are still tasty. It’s a solid package and as appealing as a Wonka Bar. You’ll eat it up.