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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory [Blu-ray]


(Mel Stuart, 1971)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:45.270

Disc Size: 22,371,381,664 bytes

Feature Size: 20,279,285,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.76 Mbps

Chapters: 40

Booklet Blu-ray Case with 38-pages of advertising, color photos, essays etc.

Release date: October 20th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video


NOTE: There has been an well-researched discrepancy regarding the film's framing in this YouTube video HERE, from Matt Garvey. (Thanks Matt!)



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1468 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1468 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none



• Delectable Documentary: Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (30:25)

Mouth Watering Commentary with Wonka Kids

• 4 Scrumptious Sing-Along Songs

• Tasty Vintage Featurette (4:01)

• Theatrical trailer





Description: The story of Charlie Bucket, a little boy with no money and a good heart, who dreams wistfully of being able to buy the candy that other children enjoy. Charlie enters into a magical world when he wins one of five "Golden Tickets" to visit the mysterious chocolate factory owned by the eccentric Willy Wonka and run by his capable crew of Oompa-Loompas. Once behind the gates, a cast of characters join Charlie and Grandpa Joe on a journey to discover that a kind heart is a far finer possession than a sweet tooth.



The Film:

Once upon a time Quaker Oats decided to get into the movie business. It was a short-lived venture but out of it emerged a strange and unusual children's film. In it, five children win special tickets entitling them to a lifetime supply of candy and a personal tour of the mysterious Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Inside, scores of green-haired midget workers called Oompa-Loompas operate the bizarre machinery that creates "Everlasting Gobstoppers" and other Wonka treats. Kids that don't abide by the rules of this private tour, however, get more than they bargained for in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), a live-action fantasy reminiscent of a Grimm's fairy tale. The film is directed by Mel Stuart, stars Gene Wilder as the unpredictable title character, and is based on the popular children's book by Roald Dahl. At the time, Quaker Oats produced a line of branded chocolate bars (Willy Wonka's Super Skrunch Bar and others) to capitalize on the film's release but the candy sold poorly and was soon discontinued. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, on the other hand, has gone on to become a cult film whose audiences continue to grow with the passing years.

Roald Dahl, whose previous work as a screenwriter includes The Night Digger (1971), a psychological thriller about a spinster and her blind mother who shelter a serial killer from the police, also wrote the screenplay for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which was based on his 1964 children's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Besides the title change, other plot details didn't survive the translation from Dahl's book to the screen like the original concept of the Oompa-Loompas. In the book, they were pygmies from Africa who lived on a diet of caterpillars. (In response to charges of racism by various book critics, they were changed to little white-faced men with long flowing beards in the 1973 edition of the book). In the film, they are dwarf-like creatures with green faces and red hair who function as a Greek chorus, chanting the lyrics of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley (which received an Oscar nomination for Best Score.)

Excerpt from TCM located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is, most probably the same, VC-1 transfer that was rendered to HD-DVD in October 2006 by Warner which was taken from the same master as the Anniversary DVD Edition. This Blu-ray is single-layered with the feature taking up over 20 Gig. The image quality is acceptable - colors standout with their brilliance.  Detail is not particularly consistent with softness abounding throughout. Skin tones seem accurate - contrast exhibits decent black levels and grain is visible in backgrounds. For a 38-year old film this 1.78 Blu-ray transfer is impressive. I doubt this niche classic will be looking any better than it does now in 1080P - and that is fine as the presentation is an enjoyable one with brightly-colored candy that makes your mouth water.


NOTE: There has been an well-researched discrepancy regarding the film's framing in this YouTube video HERE, from Matt Garvey. (Thanks Matt!)



















Audio :

It's a bit of a wimpy TrueHD 5.1 at 1468 kbps but suits the film to a 'T'. Newley and Bricusse's songs sound solid from "The Candy Man" to "Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-De-Do" and are a big part of the film's enjoyment. I never noted anything abundantly crisp or with punchy bass but the higher end was there and, overall, this is probably a decent recreation of the film's family-passive soundtrack. There are a host of foreign language DUBs and subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the Anniversary DVD (and HD-DVD) with the commentary from the five grown-up Wonka kids who won a 'golden ticket' - Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Denise Nickerson, Paris Themmen, and Michael Bollner. It's a bit scattered with sporadic memory patches of scenes and events. Included is the same 1/2 hour 'delectable documentary': Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory which has input the same 5 kids, director Stuart, producer Wolper and Gene Wilder. There is the same 4 Sing-Along Songs and mini, 4-minute, vintage featurette plus a theatrical trailer. The attached booklet case is very nice with essays and beautiful color photos. There is nothing that I can find in HD though.


This is a film that seemed to be more appealing to adults than the kids it was targeting. It's snuck about as a niche classic - and with good reason. Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has the bigger budget and extensive art direction but Willy Wonka still has many hearts.  Warner's Blu-ray doesn't seem to advance over the defunct HD-DVD in any area but many will be very pleased to have it in this format - looking and sounding better than an Everlasting Gobstopper. 

Gary Tooze

September 23rd, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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