In its 50th year, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory gets to wonderfully weird us out again in 4K Ultra HD. So, how is it? Good egg, or bad egg?
The story: Gene Wilder was perfectly cast as the slightly alluring, yet also kind of disturbing, Willy Wonka, owner of a mysterious candy factory staffed by curious little orange fellows known as Oompa-Loompas. Five prize-winning kids received the full Wonka experience – some for the better, some not so much…
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
The 4K disc: While previous standard Blu-ray releases of Willy Wonka were pretty dodgy, boasting terrible mis-framing issues – the good news begins with discovering that this has been fixed on 4K Ultra HD with this bountiful, native 4K transfer. The joys continue, from the addition of HDR that makes colours – in particular those inside Wonka’s factory – pop delightfully, while darker scenes also benefit from the increased visual dynamic range. Detail is as never seen before, with a fine, natural film grain present throughout, which becomes slightly more noticeable in some shots, but never to the point of being gob-stoppingly horrid. Lovely!
Audio comes via a DTD-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix – there’s no sign of the original mono – that is very front and centre-centric, with some slight use of surround channels enough to spread the aural experience out a bit.
This collector’s edition certainly doesn’t skimp on the fun extra stuff. Starting with the included discs, the 4K and standard Blu-ray share a fun commentary from “the Wonka kids” (Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Paris Themmen, Michael Bollner, and Denise Nickerson), while the latter also delivers a ~30-minute doumentary entitled Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, an original 1971 featurette, four songs from the film to sing along to and a theatrical trailer. Physical extras in this lovely, shiny package include a full colour 32-page book, a collection of trippy art cards, a two-sided theatrical poster and a facsimile of Wonka’s golden ticket (that sadly can’t be redeemed for a factory tour). In all this is a superb piece of collectible fan service – top stuff!
Release date: August 4, 2021
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.