General Evans Above Archive for Jul 06, 2021

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 4K review

Jul 06, 2021permalink

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has redeemed itself for releasing an often maligned Blu-ray of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory back in 2009. The redemption comes in the form of the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 4K which I had a chance to review. To make the WB lawyers’ as happy as a kid (or adult) eating chocolate, here’s the disclaimer they love: WB Home Entertainment provided me a copy of the movie in this review. The views below are mine.

The native 4K 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded digital transfer uses the HDR10 system and is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The disc comes from a 4K restoration and fixes the framing issues of the previous release that had a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image has great detail and clarity from facial textures and textiles to the wild world of Wonka’s factory. There’s a light film grain. The colours look fantastic from the muted palette of Charlie’s world to the dazzling rainbow of Willy’s fantastical factory and the black levels are deep. This is a sweet-tasting video presentation.

On the audio side, you can choose between an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, or French and Spanish Dolby Digital Mono tracks. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. While purists may decry the fact that WB has not included the original English mono track as an option, the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track does update the experience to use the surrounds and put us in the midst of all that candy, though it’s still a front heavy presentation. There are some issues that can be tracked back to issues with the source material, but it’s still a very good audio track. The dialogue and vocals are clear and well-prioritized, while the score is bright and dynamic.

The Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 4K comes with a Blu-ray copy and a digital code. The Blu-ray, sadly, is not a downscaled version of the restoration, but rather the 2009 Blu-ray. Except for the audio commentary, which appears on the 4K disc as well, the rest of the special features are on the Blu-ray disc and have not been updated for the film’s 50th anniversary. There’s a couple of featurette’s including one from 1971, some sing-along songs and a theatrical trailer.

Though it lacks new special features and the audio track still has some issues, the video presentation is still the best that Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has ever looked on physical media and that’s why it’s still a highly recommended addition to your home library.