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Blu-ray Review: ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

The 1971 fantasy musical “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” releases its “40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” featuring a three-disc set with one Blu-ray disc and two DVDs.

This screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” tells the story of an underprivileged boy who finds one of the five golden tickets to visit Willy Wonka’s famed chocolate factory. He and four other lucky children find themselves in an unusual adventure with the world’s greatest chocolate maker and the workers inside his factory.


This Blu-ray upgrade provides the 1971 film with improved sharpness, decent contrast, deep blacks, and rich and pleasing saturation. The color palette renders warm skin tones, richly saturated reds and greens, and lush and vibrant secondary hues. Solidly odd and garish colors stand out in many scenes.

The clarity of this HD version provides satisfactory details for such a dated offer. Although minor imperfections from the print source occasionally appear, they are not detrimental to the picture’s quality and novelty. However, it is still worth noting that this package is still not comparable to the first-rate transfers of cinematic classics that received frame-by-frame restoration. Some special effects sequences and dark scenes tend to show heavier grain structure and minor age-related issues.


Despite showing its age, this film’s audio track turns out as a playful piece that considerably sounds like a modified and upgraded mono mix. It may not be an outstanding rendition, but this particular audio track still effectively reflects the odd and vibrant atmosphere of the images shown on screen. From the engaging sound elements around the factory to the intelligible vocals, the organic sound design allows the film to immerse the audience with unusually fun moments.

The musical score is the most active sound element in the mix. The varying musical numbers feature a certain kind of weird charm to this cinematic offering. Aside from the original mix, audio options in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese are available as well.


As a 40th anniversary release, it is expected that a variety of extras are made available for the package. The Blu-ray disc houses the film’s HD version, while the DVD provides its SD version. The other DVD contains a number of bonus materials. Some physical goodies are also available including production correspondences, a book that serves as a behind-the-scene retrospective courtesy of director Mel Stuart, a chocolate-scented eraser, specialized pencils, and a golden ticket that works as an advertisement for an online contest with prices somewhat mirroring the kids’ factory tour in the story.

The disc supplements include a commentary track with the now grown up children cast, a making-of documentary, sing-along Wonka songs, cast and crew interviews, image gallery, and the film’s trailer. The video materials are all in SD format and their total running time is less than 30 minutes. The film supplies a number of subtitle options including English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Final Thoughts

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is able to provide an unlikely combination of whimsy, humor, comedy, and horror to its imaginative presentation. Gene Wilder as the legendary chocolatier WIlly Wonka fits the character well. This tale about children’s literally sweet adventures, their misbehavior, and their overindulgence is a great addition to anyone’s classic movie collection.

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Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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