Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a film with many fans. Somehow, I’m not one of them, as I was never able to warm up to it. Possibly too homogenized for my taste, which probably has little to do with Quaker Oats.
Warner’s new 4k UHD Blu-ray, of the (originally a Paramount release) film photographed by Arthur Ibbetson, who spent many years as a camera operator (The Blue Lagoon, Moby Dick) before taking the helm behind the camera (The Horse’s Mouth, Tunes of Glory, The Chalk Garden, Anne of a Thousand Days, The Railway Children, The Bounty) appears nicely produced for 4k, although it may appear to be a bit overly cleaned, it seems that isn’t the case. It’s extremely fine grained. I sampled on two systems, and it seemed very smooth.
Color is wonderful and well, candy-like, with all of the young performers scrubbed clean and presumably smelling wonderfully. Possibly I would have preferred a bit more noir version. The film reeks of a G rating.
Audio, presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 is beautifully reproduced. I don’t believe it includes the original monaural, but that’s SO last century.
For those who collect outer sleeves, this one has a myriad of sparkles.
I did run into two problems which are the source of my thinking that it might have been cleansed.
In projection, the disc runs a full 1 1/2 to 2 frames out of sync, which took me away from properly examining reproduced grain structure.
I was unable to correct this anomaly, even removing the disc and re-starting.
On a panel with a different player, the sync problem all but disappeared, but with it went the grain. Possibly OLED panels don’t care for clean films.
Last oddity for this release. On the first four attempts to run on a Panasonic 9000, the first four seconds of the Paramount logo projected as black, leaving only about 18 frames of it, along with the fade out.
On the fifth attempt, it did the same thing, however using the reverse chapter skip button took it back and finally played correctly.
I did not re-check sync as I’d not turned on audio.
It’s possible that this release (not the individual disc) may have start-up / sync problems with the 9000 units. I’ll now have to check for recent downloadable upgrades.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Plays nicely with projectors – Yes
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