Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: 30th Anniversary Edition (1971) (NTSC)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||1971|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (26:37)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,4||Directed By||Mel Stuart|
Warner Home Video
Julie Dawn Cole
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, A Wonka bar, anyone?|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I admit to loving this movie. Always have, always will. Call me silly, but there is something about Willy Wonka that I like. It must be the chocolate. Or is it the timeless classic tale of a hopeless child's dreams come true? Must be the chocolate.
I certainly hope no one needs a description of the plot, but for the record here it is. The mythical chocolate maker extraordinaire, one Mr. Willy Wonka, who reclusively churns out perfect chocolate bars by the gazillions without anyone knowing his secrets, gives five lucky members of the general wretched public a chance to visit his mysterious factory. Young Charlie (Peter Ostrom) wants nothing more from his life, which up until now has been pretty poor given that a good meal for him is some cabbage water, than to be one of these people. Of course, the chances are slim, but amazingly he finds a golden ticket in a Wonka bar and gets to tour the factory with his trusty Granddad. All manner of strange things happen within this factory, and in the end Charlie gets to own the factory, which results in him passing out and then exploding. No, the last bit doesn't happen, but he does get the factory. A classically simple yet thoroughly charming tale.
It must be said that this is one of Gene Wilder's finest hours, playing Mr Wonka to absolute perfection. A touch of madness, a large dash of eccentricity and a lot of warmth, he is the essence of this movie and I can't imagine anyone else playing this part as well as he did. Let's not forget the wise little Ooompa-Loompas, who are amusing and insightful, with a lesson in each song!
So what does this new, 30th Anniversay edition offer? Well, a fair bit – but what the DVD Lord giveth, the DVD Lord also taketh away …
It is also surprising that this is an NTSC transfer, and that the colour signal may be lost on some older PAL-only televisions.
Niggling issues like OAR aside, the transfer as it stands is simply outstanding, and lives and breathes like never before. Comparing it with the original release is like comparing night with day. The picture is sharper than most, and has a surprising vibrancy not becoming a movie as old as I am (cough). Detail levels are stunning, with every strand of Charlie's unkempt hair clearly visible. There is no edge enhancement at all, resulting in a smooth presentation. The image has a great deal of depth to it, with perfect shadow definition and contrast. There is no low level noise, and only a hint of film grain. NTSC or not, this is one of the finest looking DVDs I have laid eyes upon.
The colours have been especially spruced up, and are now fully saturated and clean as a whistle. This movie more than most relies on a strong colour palette, and unlike the slightly drab transfer before it, now has precisely the look it needed. There is no chroma noise, nor is there even a hint of colour bleeding. Reds are handled to perfection, with no loss of resolution or clarity. This is truly demo material and will have your jaw dropping many times.
There are no MPEG artefacts. The film artefacts which plagued the original release are gone, and what is left is the odd minor speckle here and there – the restoration work has worked miracles for this film. There is trivial aliasing on a couple of business suits, remarkable for a movie with this much vertical detail.
The English subtitles are concise, and almost paraphrased in the interests of brevity, a wee bit too much for my liking.
This move is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring during Chapter 14 at 26:37.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is encoded at 448 kilobits per second and is very good indeed. There are also mono French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital soundtracks which are much reduced in fidelity and pale in comparison.
Dialogue was at all times very clear and synced.
The music is quite wonderfully presented, and has a nice warmth and clarity about it. As with the original release, it presents a wide soundstage, though is very frontal.
The surrounds were hardly used, and would hardly be missed if they were turned off.
The subwoofer aided with the bottom end of the music, but other than that was silent.
|Surround Channel Use|
This disc also has a jacket image and DVD-Text information, something never normally seen in R4 land, which is a pity.
This version is identical to the R1 full-frame release in every way, including NTSC formatting. As a result of a massive public backlash against the full-frame release, Warner also released a widescreen version in Region 1.
This is an almost perfect reissue of an earlier bare-bones disc. The video is exemplary, the sound is very good and the extras are meaningful. It is a great pity that we have only the 1.33:1 transfer, and that is why I have given only 4 stars for video. I hope Warner does the right thing and releases a 1.78:1 version for those of us who want to see the remastered video in all its glory.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DB-930|
|Speakers||Front & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500|