Sunday, October 4, 2009

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 20.8 GB
Film Size: 18.8 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: Free

Willy Wonka comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The look of the film is about as good as one could expect, there are some issues present, but clearly from the actual source and not a bad Blu-ray transfer. The issues are occasional shots that are slightly out of focus, such as the scene where Charlie's mother is singing.

DNR and edge enhancement do not seem to be an issue at all here, with a healthy layer of grain present throughout, and a decently sharp look. Certain scenes can look a bit more dated, while other scenes can almost look like they were filmed just yesterday.

Colors are vibrant and leap off the screen whenever it's given the opportunity to, and the overall sharpness and detail when compared to DVD is fantastic. There are a few softer scenes here and there, and darker scenes are much weaker in comparison, but aside from a few issues it's really hard to complain about this Blu-ray presentation. 8.5/10.

A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included and it's quite decent. Dialogue was generally solid and clear, and the film's music did sound very nice as it expanded to the front left and right speakers. The film's environment effects are used in both the front and surround area of the 5.1 setup.

The surround speakers for example are used for the water fountain effects when they first enter the Candy environment. It's actually fairly fitting as well, as it gives a sense of environment to the film.

The musical numbers are fairly good quality, well at least the music itself is, the singing sounds quite dated but the film is quite aged anyway. It's a good track that should leave fans very pleased. 8/10.


Audio Commentary
with the Wonka kids.

Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (30:26) (SD)
Includes interviews with Director Mel Stuart, Producer David Wolper, Star Gene Wilder and the five Wonka kids. It features cast and crew memories on working on the film, as well as the story and impact.

Vintage 1971 Featurette (4:02) (SD)
A promotional behind-the-scenes look at production of the film.

Sing-Along Songs (8:12) (SD)
Available in play-all and select a song options. Unfortunately they are presented in standard definition.

Theatrical Trailer (3:10) (SD)

Digibook Packaging
The Blu-ray release comes packaged in a beautiful book, featuring 38 colored pages with lyrics to the songs, details about the film, as well as promotional and production photos.

Blu-news Summary
It's really great to own Blu-ray at the moment, the past couple of weeks and coming weeks the format has released and will release many of my absolute favorite films. I remember watching the film many times as I grew up, and the film is still magical to this day.

The characters and environments took us into a world we could only dream about, and I find the film still holds up extremely well. The film just has a charm that makes such a memorable film, and one that families today can still enjoy together.

The Blu-ray release is very good, featuring nice video and good audio. Extras are a bit weak, but everything seems to be ported over just fine. The Digibook packaging the Blu-ray release comes in is very nice and will certainly look fantastic on any Blu-ray owner's shelf. 'Highly Recommended.'

Additional Screenshots:

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