One of the most beloved family films ever is now available in a brilliant Blu-Ray release. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition, a limited, numbered released is one that you don’t want to miss, and it’s packed with goodies.
Capturing the hearts of audiences since its initial release, the film now comes to you in an amazing 3-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD combo. If there was ever a film that could capitalize on Blu-Rays ability to deliver a sharp and glorious color palette, this is it, and the release will not disappoint on that score. This is a release that is well worth the purchase just for the ability to relive the magic in all its wonder.
The video bonuses include the same great offerings of the original Blu-Ray release of the film, plus a new DVD of extras.
The Blu-Ray features a brilliant commentary track with the kids from the film, who are all grown up now and have some great insights about their experiences and the production in general. It’s in the top-tier of commentary tracks around, and frankly, much more in keeping with what I imagine as the kind of offering fans are looking for out of such bonuses. It’s really fun to sit through, and any fan of the film will have a great time with this one.
You also get a documentary, Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, which includes Gene Wilder, director Mel Stuart, and one of the producers reminiscing about the entire affair from a variety of angles. You also get some cut-shots of the grown-up kids. This is likewise one of the better installments of such a bonus feature you’ll run into, and it’s put together with a good deal more thought than most. Running at somewhere around 30 minutes, there’s an awful lot in store for you here, and none of it better than getting inside Wilder’s mind, not only in terms of his character, but his overall view of the production and culture icon it has become.
You’ve also got four sing-a-long songs which are worth whatever such things are worth, the theatrical trailer, and a short featurette from 1971, mostly detailing the wild sets and the production.
The new DVD of bonuses only has two items on it, but they are pretty serious additions.
Mel Stuart’s Wonkavision is a new interview with the director which covers the production and various thoughts on how things went, and how it all came together. It’s another solid effort, put together well with soundbites from other interviews, and it gives even more insight to the truly strange production, and various difficulties that had to be overcome to get things just so.
Then you get A World of Pure Imagination, a recently rediscovered featurette which includes an interview with Roald Dahl. This one is a very cool treat to get your hands on, and though it comes in a good bit under 15 minutes, it has a lot of interesting detail to it. The interview alone is worth it for most fans, but it’s also a major addition to get a good dose of the film’s archival “sell.”
Beyond just the video bonuses, this is a serious pack of goodies.
For Wonka-esque wacky fun, you get a tin Wonka Bar pencil case which comes with four scratch-and-sniff pencils, including some Wonkaliciously odd flavors, and a chocolate-sceneted eraser. Plus, you get a Golden Ticket, which is an instant win game piece, offering the chance to win some great prizes (see details below).
Also in the package is Mel Stuart’s book Pure Imagination. This is a special printing of the previously-released 144-page book, which is filled with behind-the-scenes info and images. It’s a treasure for any fan of the film, and Stuart goes over more info on the film than you can probably imagine (ha). From details of getting the elaborate sets, to background on casting choices, much more.
Finally, you get reproductions of production correspondence, including a fascinating letter from Wilder covering his thoughts on bring his character to life.
Overall, this is superb release, which gets as much of its benefit from the Blu-Ray version of the film as from anything else. Of course, the Blu-Ray was released on its own, but this is a thoughtful package with a real eye to adding value, as opposed to just knocking out another version. Fans will love it, and it has all the makings of a great gift.
The film Roger Ebert called a “genuine work of imagination,” starring Gene Wilder in one of his most famous roles, will now dazzle as a delectable Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD combo in double-wide giftset packaging, perfect for holiday gift-giving. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition will contain over an hour of extras, including Mel Stuart’s Wonkavision, a brand new interview with the director; a new-to-DVD featurette on author Roald Dahl; a 144-page production book reprint filled with production photos and notes, and archival letters. Sweet premiums like a retro Wonka Bar-shaped tin box with scented pencils and eraser and a limited time Golden Ticket Instant Win Game piece for a chance to enter and win a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, CA., to complete the tasty offering. Just like in the movie, five (5) Grand Prize winners will receive a very special trip for themselves plus a guest. In honor of the 40th Anniversary, 40 limited run posters of the original theatrical one-sheet will also be given away as Runner-up Prizes. Fans can visit willywonkamovie.com for more details.
US only Limited Edition. The Blu-Ray is Region All while the DVD is NTSC/Region 1. A poor little boy wins a ticket to visit the inside of a mysterious and magical chocolate factory. When he experiences the wonders inside the factory, the boy discovers that the entire visit is a test of his character.