Hey folks, Valkor here. With Halloween soon upon us, the one thing on almost everyone's mind is – candy! Sweet, sweet delicious candy! And the folks at Warner Home have the HD goodies to feast your eyes on in the form of "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Blu-ray 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Review" (mouthful isn't it?). So come with me and you'll be… in a world of pure imagination…
The story of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is quite simple – Mr. Wonka (played by Gene Wilder), world famous candy manufacturer, suddenly shuts down his factory (people were stealing and selling his secret formulas), so he ends up firing the entire factory and goes into seclusion for three years. He suddenly reemerges with an announcement that he's reopening his factory and will allow just five people to enter – those who can find one of five golden tickets hidden in one of his Wonka Bars.
Enter one Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), a poor boy who lives with his widowed mother and bed-ridden grandparents; when he learns about the Golden Tickets, it's all he can think of. Charlie wants that ticket beyond bad. So bad, he can taste it – literally and figuratively. However the two chances he gets come up nil and golden tickets are being found with the quickness, until their all snatched up. One day Charlie finds money fallen in a gutter and uses it to buy a Wonka Bar. It's at that time it's announced that that last golden ticket was a fake and when Charlie opens his Wonka bar what does he find? A golden ticket! He makes a mad dash home, but along the way he runs into Arthur Slugworth (Gunter Meisner), a rival candy maker who makes Charlie an offer he cannot refuse – if he should be able to bring him Wonka's latest creation "the everlasting gobstopper" from Wonka's factory, he'll make Charlie a rich little boy.
Now he and four other children – Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen), Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), and Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson) are set to tour Wonka's factory with the chance to win a lifetime supply of chocolate. When Wonka makes his first appearance, he looks to be crippled. However he amazes the crowded when he does a tumble and springs to new life (and his unpredictability doesn't end there). He guides the children along with their adult companions into the factory where they have to sign a waiver form and are soon swept into a world of "pure imagination". And what happens after that is simply crazy as each kid falls into some sorta mishap and breaking Wonka's rule of "no touching"; even sweet and innocent Charlie, who drinks Wonka's fizzy drink that sends him afloat. Who'll come out on top is anyone's guess. Oh and I left a chunk out intentionally. I mean if you haven't seen it then I don't wanna completely ruin it and if you have seen it, then you already know what to expect.
Wait… did I just say that? Don't we know Charlie will win the prize? Of course we do, we know that as soon as the film starts. But thankfully the road leading up to his victory is as sweet as candy.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory comes in a variety of flavors for its 40th anniversary release – There's the dual disc DVD, a single disc blu ray, or if you wanna go extreme, then there's the "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Three Disc 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's edition" (limited to 100,000 pieces), which contains the DVD, the BD, a digital copy of the film and a separate disc of additional features. But we're not through just yet as you'll also get a booklet entitled "Pure Imagination" which is a behind the scenes look at the film, an envelope containing "14 pieces of Wonka Production Correspondence" (taken from the box), and a collectable tin with scratch-and-sniff pencils and scented eraser. This one makes an awesome gift for the holidays.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is pure genius and classic fun. The story in and of itself is so simple, yet its morals are everlasting – stay true to yourself and you'll receive your just desserts. The film itself feels natural. Think about it, these kids that go into the factory are brats and are dealt with rather harshly with Wonka merely brushing them off with a "well they got what they deserved" attitude and Oompa-Loompa song; it feels real! Greatest achievement of all is when Wonka blasts Charlie at the end. OK quick story time! When I first watched this film, oh so many moons ago, I caught it just as the kids entered the factory, not knowing of Charlie's beginnings. When it reached the end and I saw Gene Wilder just lay into Charlie… I was freaked out!! I mean he really let him have it! I was in shock because I am a HUGE Gene Wilder fan and I've never seen such a dark side of him. Even after he makes nice with Charlie that chill still resonates, even to this day I get uncomfortable watching that scene. But it shows just how fine of a performer Wilder is and how he was perfectly cast for the role. Though his character is slow to get on-screen, when he arrives he puts on an unforgettable presentation. The children also deserve credit for their work with one stand out that I never get tired of – Julie Dawn Cole's "Veruca Salt"; she's the brat you love to hate. Her character is steadfast and demanding and ends perfectly with her song "I want it now", only to fall into the garbage furnace. Lulz. And before I forget, we gotta talk about the transfer – it's a high definition thing of beauty! Colors are eye-popping bold and beautiful, plus the Dolby tracks really brings out the vocals, especially when the songs kick in. Hearing Gene Wilder sing "Pure Imagination" is heavenly. That man… such a beautiful voice. A-hem… To round out this review, the Ultimate edition is a pretty sweet deal with the foiled box alone making for an amazing showpiece. But the fold out DVD/BD case is simply… delicious.
No bad or ugly needed here; if you're a fan of the film then the 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is the one you'll want. And if you've never seen this version of the film, then do yourself a favor and pick up this delight piece of cinema – it's one of my all-time favorites and bar none one the most imaginative films I've ever laid eyes on. Out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Ultimate Edition 5 stars of sweet perfection.
Now good day sir!
I SAID GOOD DAY!!