Blu-Ray Review: Limited Edition Gift Set For ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’

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CHICAGO – Warner Bros. is unmatched when it comes to repackaging their beloved films for holiday season Blu-ray gift sets. Every season brings a handful of new limited edition gift sets with physical collectibles, HD transfers, and fan-centric packaging. Past releases include “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and “Elf.” One of this year’s most beloved gifts under the Christmas tree will surely be the Limited Edition (100,000 numbered copies) release of “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a film already available on Blu-ray but in a more bare-bones edition. This is the one for true fans. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Two years ago, I complained about the Blu-ray release for “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” that didn’t play well enough to fans, merely transferring previously available special features and not being an exciting enough edition for the hardcore followers of this beloved film. Warner Bros. must have been reading since this edition features the new special features missing from that one, including a recently discovered interview with the great Roald Dahl. Serious fans will love the packaging alone (pictured below) and the neat collectibles like replicas of correspondence about the making of the film and a pencil/eraser set so your kid can be the dorkiest one at school. In all seriousness, some of the collectibles here seem a bit odd (no candy?) but I’ve never been a big fan of physical bonus material.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack will be available October 18!  Also available digitally via On Demand and For Download.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack will be available October 18! Also available digitally via On Demand and For Download.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

It’s all about the actual film, which has held up remarkably, revealing itself to a new generation every few years and getting them hooked on “Pure Imagination.” This is one of those timeless works that sucks you in every time you watch it. You may intend to only watch a bit and suddenly find yourself near the end. A sign of a great film is one that can make you lose track of time and “Willy Wonka” does that easily. It’s a delightful film that basically started life as an elongated commercial (see here for more fun facts about the history of the film) but became a timeless family classic. Very few films made in the last fifty years support releases like this Limited Edition but “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” is surely one. Put it on your Christmas wish list.

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.

Special Features:
o Documentary Pure Imagination: The Story Of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
o Commentary with the Wonka Kids
o 4 Sing-Along Songs
o Vintage 1971 Featurette
o Theatrical Trailer
o Mel Stuart’s Wonkavision: New Interview with the Movie’s Director
o A World Of Pure Imagination: Recently Rediscovered Archival Featurette Including an Interview with Original Author Roald Dahl
o Retro Tin with Scratch-N-Sniff Pencils and Scented Eraser
o 14 Pieces of Wonka Production Correspondence
o Pure Imagination, 144-Page Behind-the-Scenes Book from the Film’s Director

‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray Combo Pack’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum. It was written by Roald Dahl and directed by Mel Stuart. The gift set was released on October 18th, 2011. It is not rated. content director Brian Tallerico

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