Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory (Three-Disc 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo) – Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Oct 17, 2011, 15:52 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
Return to the original world of pure imagination since it’s been forty years since you first saw it. Warner Brother certainly put everything into a nice package. There are some goodies but they may not be as expansive as the box suggests.
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.
Director Mel Stuart brought author Roald Dahl’s trip with Charlie through the surreal chocolate factory of Willy Wonka to colorful life. The film is primarily brought to life by its performances, fun songs, and fantastical production design.
Gene Wilder is a grand choice for the mysterious confection constructor, Ostrum leads a fabulous young cast of archetypes, and Albertson adds charm to the elder statesman role. It’s as delightful as a Wonka Bar and just as sweet. Hard to believe it’s been forty years but to celebrate Warner Brothers has added some new items, but they’ve basically reissued most of what they’ve already put out.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). Special features, from the older releases and in standard definition, include a commentary with the Wonka kids - Charlie Ostrum, Michael Bollner, Julie Dawn Cole, Denise Nickerson, and Paris Themmen.
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 production designer Harper Goff, 9 minutes of sing-along songs from the film, and the 3 minute theatrical trailer.
New is a separate DVD, meaning in standard definition, with a new 14 minute interview with Stuart and a newly discovered vintage 13 minute “World of Pure Imagination” that is important because it has interview footage with late author Dahl. There is also a DVD copy of the film. The oversized purple box also contains an excellent 144 page making of book, 14 pages of replica correspondence, a Wonk Bar tin with pencils and an eraser, and a replica of the Golden Ticket.
Is this the ultimate collector’s edition? Well, sorta. The new extras are nice, especially the nice book, but I really wanted them to be in high definition. If you’re into extra box swag then you may like the pencils and other stuff. I like the movie enough to not be too disappointed, but other collector’s might consider the higher price tag in comparison to the smaller additions.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
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