|Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory |
Widescreen Special Edition
Actors: Gene Wilder, Michael Bollner, Leslie Bricusse, Julie Dawn Cole, Roald Dahl
Directors: Mel Stuart, J.M. Kenny
Genres: Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
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.
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Candy is dandy...
FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 05/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film is based on a much-loved children's book, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', by Roald Dahl. Dahl wasn't always happy with the changes made between his book and the film, and wasn't always consulted on them. Today probably more people are familiar with the film sequence of events than the book. Charlie is a down-on-his-luck boy who is nonetheless optimistic and happy. He and his mother work to tend for their bed-ridden family members, all living together in a one-room home.One day there is an annoucement that Wonka is going to open his factory to visitors, to be chosen more or less at random through finding the Golden Tickets, contained in Wonka bars (a brilliant marketing device back then). Scenes of shoppers' frenzy are shown all around with world, including a Wonka delivery van shown arriving at the White House. The five golden tickets are found all around the world - the first one in Dusselheim, Germany, by the fat boy, Augustus Gloop (played by Michael Boliner, who is now a tax accountant in Munich, and is still rather large). The second ticket was found in the UK, by spoiled brat, Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole, the only Wonka child still acting), whose father, Roy Kinnear, is a well-known actor in British cinema. The third ticket was found in the USA, by gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson, now an accountant at a nuclear plant in Colorado), whose used-car-salesman father was played by Leonard Stone (who was selected over Jim Bakus). The fourth ticket was also won in the USA, by Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen, considered a real brat by most of the cast and crew); his frantic mother was played by Dodo Denny (later Nora Denny), who was one of the few minor characters in the film to consistently act after this film. The final ticket at first is reported to be won by some shady businessman from Paraguay, but in the end, that is proven to be a forgery. Of course, Charlie buys a Wonka Bar expecting nothing, and gets the ticket.An ominous figure, Slugworth (the arch-enemy of Wonka - who knew chocolate makers also made arch-enemies?), appears to each of the winners, whispering in their ears. Charlie is also confronted, and promised a reward should he bring Slugworth an example of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper. One wonders why (a) any candy maker would make a candy that never wears out (thus defeating re-sales), and (b) why Slugworth can't just buy one himself when they are released, analyse it and ruin his own factory the same way? But I digress... Gunter Meisner, a very prolific German actor, played the villain, who wasn't in the book (nor was the 'gobstopper plot').The grand day of the event, the winners enter the factory with great fanfare, meeting Wonka (Gene Wilder) for the first time, and get the first taste of his bizarre sense of theatre. (It is reported not only Wilder's idea for the limping/somersault introduction to the crowd, but also a condition of his accepting the role.) From that point on, what was truth? It is ironic that Wonka's entrance doesn't occur until the film is half over. What we remember of the film comes after this, but over half the film is actually set-up. This is rather like the Wizard of Oz, where most of the film is done before we see 'the major character', although admittedly Wonka is far more prominent than Oz's balloonist.Wonka, the man of mystery, only ever became even more of a mystery as the tour progressed. He is constantly switching his words ('we have so much time and so little to do'), and there are surprises at every turn. Wonka borrows a lot of his key phrases (Ogden Nash, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde) and there are a lot of fantasy-inspired elements (Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings). At each major scene, something ghastly seems to happen, but in epic-fantasy form, it doesn't seem to matter to the majority, who proceed onward with their quest. In the chocolate room, Augustus Gloop meets his untimely exit from the factory by falling in the chocolate river. Violet turns into a blueberry by chewing experimental gum, and has to be squeezed (squoozed?). Veruca, in the room with the geese who lay the golden eggs, turns out to be a bad egg herself, but has a sporting chance of going down a chute with an inactive furnace. Mike Teevee shrinks in the Wonka version of the Star Trek transporter beam, leaving in the end only Charlie, who is denied his prize of a lifetime of chocolate for a minor infraction. It would seem that Wonka had a sinister side in many ways - the boat that carries the prize winners only seated eight, implying that Wonka knew someone would be missing. The Wonkamobile only had seats for four guests. Of course, the children apparently all had sinister sides, too, including Charlie, until the end. None of them let Wonka know of their Slugworth contact. In the end, we never know what becomes of the fallen questers - we are led to believe that in this candy factory they got their just desserts. The Oompa-Loompas put the moral to each downfall in song, with a 1970s karaoke-type presentation of the lyrics as they sing. In the end, of course, goodness and justice win out, as the factory is given to Charlie after his act of unwarranted kindness toward Wonka.Director Stuart always saw this film as a 'realistic' fantasy film. Those things that are not over the top are very ordinary. The people are not superheroes, and the situations, while fantastic, are not beyond the credible. Stuart also did his best for 'real' reaction - the kids had never seen Gene Wilder before his appearance at the door, the chocolate room in the factory, or the Oompa-Loompas prior to the first scene, either, so their reactions are more natural. A great film for children and adults!"
One of the all-time classics in a must-own DVD
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 30th Anniversary Edition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was originally botched as a fullscreen-only effort. However, Warner listened to the people and gave them a wonderful widescreen transfer. Colors are vibrant, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track is very nice, and there are a handful of cool extras. There is the 30-minute documentary "Pure Imagination" which shows some of the cast today, including all the children and Gene Wilder himself. The interviews of the cast looking back at the movie which was the defining thing for so many of them is very interesting. The documentary on the whole is rather fulfilling. While one feels that the documentary could have delved deeper and maybe been an hour-long, at a brisk 30 minutes, the pacing seems okay and it won't leave you wanting too much more. There is a limited amount of archival on-set "B" roll footage, but all that is there is interesting. Also included is the original theatrical trailer (Warner left off the 25th Anniversary trailer that was on the original DVD release from 1997), a 4-minute featurette on the production design, and a feature-length audio commentary from the children, who have now grown up. The other features - "character bios" and sing-alongs - are pretty much fluff features. Since this was one of my most anticipated DVD releases of the year, I can't help but feel Warner could have done more in the way of extra features - games, outtakes, deleted scenes, etc. Nevertheless, the overall content of this DVD is satisfying enough. As one of the greatest films of all time, and certainly one of the most enjoyable musicals and most enjoyable films of the 1970s, "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" has a timeless feel to it. This DVD deserves a place in every collection. If you like the movie, then know better than to be the fullframe edition, which was released earlier. Widescreen in the original ratio is the only way to go. Especially in a few years from now, when we all have 16 x 9 widescreen TVs, and that "fullframe" version leaves you with big bars on the side of the TV. See the movie the way it was made and meant to be seen - in widescreen. And when you do get that 16 x 9 television, guess what - the widescreen DVD will fill your screen! A classic movie with classic peformances, and a wonderful amount of heart. What are you waiting for -- get the widescreen 30th Anniversary Edition DVD of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory so you can enter a world of pure imagination today!Video: A -
Oompa-Loompa, doopity do, I've got another puzzle for you!
Joy | Fairfax, VA USA | 05/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WOW, I can't believe how long ago this film was made and how wonderful it is even today! It really doesn't seem like it's from 1971. I have probably seen this film over 500 times by now, since the 80's and I still am not the least bit bored of it. At 28 years old, I still totally love this film!!! The characters, especially Gene Wilder who plays Willy Wonka, who is THE Willy Wonka, who could never be topped EVER (yes I've seen the 2005 film!), the music, the setting, the songs, and especially the Oompa-Loompa's! Everything in this film is so wonderfully done and everyone who hasn't seen it yet, needs to as soon as possible!!
My favorite place or scene in the whole film has to be the big candy and chocolate room where Willy Wonka sings "Pure Imagination." Not only for the song but because I can see how much work the director put into this film. All the candy and chocolate looks so real and alive and the whole room looks so beautiful the way everything is set up! I also love that teacher, Charlie's teacher that you see a lot until they go into the chocolate factory, he is so funny! And it's set in London, an added bonus!! I just cannot get enough of this film or recommend this film enough!! It's a masterpiece!!! It's definitely one of my favorite movies of all time!!!
Who could not love Veruca's "I Want It Now" performance? That whole scene was totally brilliant!
The Special Widescreen Edition DVD has tons of extras. There is commentary by the kids who got to go inside the factory. You'll also learn that Gene Wilder wouldn't play Willy Wonka unless he was able to do that somersault that he does before letting the kids through the gate. There is an interview with Gene Wilder from 2001, The Making of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, four sing along songs, a 1971 behind the scenes featurette, and a photo gallery."
Widescreen is not what everyone will want for Wonka because:
R. Miller | North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly, despite what one reviewer says, the widescreen edition is NOT simply the deceptively named 'full screen' version with the top and bottom chopped off (no, it's not a 'faked' widescreen) it was originally filmed 'open-matte' in a 1.33:1 ratio (same as a 4:3 television), a process which involves covering up (matting out) the top and bottom of the image for presentation in theatres to create a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I do not like this method of filming as it gives widescreen movies an underserved bad name. The widescreen shape is what the director intended to be seen but ,alas, it does offer less visible image than the open matte version so can make one feel ripped off! However, that said, keep in mind that when movies filmed this way are seen 'full frame' the artistic composition of the shot is often lost and sometimes things that shouldn't be visible such as microphones are seen. Widescreen is easily the way to go if you want to see the most image on the vast majority of releases as 'open-matte' is really not all that common a format.I would not say 'buyer beware' just 'buyer be aware' that there are a myriad of formats. I would encourage anyone who isn't familiar about the different film formats to do a web search for the letterbox and widescreen advocacy page for an excellent visual description of the various formats and matting techniques used in films.Finally, this movie is a lot of fun and I recommend it to children and adults alike. Yes, the boat ride is kind of bizarre and perhaps could be a bit unsettling for some, but it's no more scary (in my opinion) than a lot of scenes in 'The Wizard Of Oz' such as the witches legs curling up after she gets crushed by Dorothy's house. Children can't be so sheltered from life so as to not see a bit of darkness at times. Also, the worm in the 'Willy Wonka' boat ride scene crawls across a living person's face not a dead person...you can see their eyes follow the movement of the worm. One more comment on the boat ride scene...despite what a reviewer said, the widescreen version DOES have violet picking her nose while saying "spitting is such a dirty habbit" - my copy certainly does anyhow.I would give it 4.5 stars if I could but will have to round it off at 5.p.s. I must mention that Amazon.com incorrectly shows the widescreen ratio of this DVD as being 2.35:1 instead of its actual 1.85:1 ratio."