DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - Two Disc Deluxe Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Nov 6, 2005.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
    Two-Disc Deluxe Edition





    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2005
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 115 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced Widescreen
    Audio: DD 5.1 EX
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English, French & Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $30.97
    Package: Two discs/Hinged Keepcase





    The Feature:
    Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is the second film adaptation of the children's book, the first being 1971's Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket. Unlike its predecessor, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is named more appropriately as the film is mostly about -- Charlie. Young Charlie Bucket is so plucky and likable, and comes from such an eccentric and marvelous household, that the wonders inside the chocolate factory are no more amusing than everyday life at the Bucket residence.

    Charlie Bucket (played by Freddie Highmore) is a poor boy living with his parents and four grandparents in a tiny, rickety shack in the city. He spends most of his time dreaming about the chocolate that comes from the nearby chocolate factory, owned by the greatest candy maker in the world, Mr. Willy Wonka (played by Johnny Depp). Charlie's family is struggling to make ends meet when his father (played by Noah Taylor) loses his job at the local toothpaste factory. Things begin to look up when Willy Wonka announces that he has placed "golden tickets" into five of his candy bars. The finders of these special items will be given a full tour of Wonka’s famous candy factory (the inner workings of which are a tightly kept secret) and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

    It happens to be Charlie's birthday next week, the one day each year that he receives a Wonka Bar. Despite nearly impossible odds of winning, he is still disappointed when he finds no golden ticket inside. One by one, news reports from all over the world reveal the children who find the first four tickets, all characterized by a major personality flaw. Grandpa Joe (played by David Kelly), who used to work at Wonka's factory, gives Charlie a coin to buy another bar. It comes up empty once again, but, on the last day of the contest, Charlie finds money with which he buys the last winning chocolate bar.

    The next morning Charlie and Grandpa Joe arrive for the tour, led by the strange and eccentric candy man, Willy Wonka. During the tour, the first four ticket-winning children, other than Charlie, are tempted by something extraordinary. One by one, each child exhibits a major flaw, causing them and their accompanying parent to be escorted off the tour. Augustus Gloop (played by Philip Wiegratz), a gluttonous overeater, falls into a river of chocolate in The Chocolate Room and is sucked away by a pipe. Competitive gum-chewer Violet Beauregarde (played by Annasophia Robb) hastily chews a defective piece of gum that turns her into a giant blueberry. Spoiled Veruca Salt (played by Julia Winter) demands to steal a squirrel for herself in the Nut Room, where she is attacked by the squirrels and thrown down a chute, deemed a "bad nut".

    The last little charmer is Mike Teavee (played by Jordan Fry), who is obsessed with TV and video games, demands to be the first human transported over television waves, causing him to be shrunken to miniature size. Each of the "accidents" occur after the children refuse instructions against doing something, and each is followed by a song of morality by the Oompa Loompas (played entirely by Deep Roy), Wonka's little factory workers from Loompaland. By the end of the day, each of the children leave the factory, altered in some way by their wrongdoings.

    During the tour, Willy Wonka has flashbacks to his childhood (a back-story not in the original book). These give background on his non-existent relationship with his dentist father, Dr. Wilbur Wonka, (played by Christopher Lee). As a child, Wonka was denied chocolate and candy by his father because of the potential risk to his teeth. After finally sneaking in a piece of chocolate, he became obsessed, dreaming of being a chocolatier. Despite his father's wishes, Wonka ran away from home to follow his dreams.

    After Mike Teavee's departure, Willy Wonka notices that Charlie is the only remaining child. He reveals his desire to hand over the chocolate factory to Charlie, as he is the least rotten of the group. The only catch is that Charlie must abandon his family in order to accept the arrangement, because “family members only tell you what to do, and a chocolatier needs complete creative freedom”. However, Charlie's family is the most important thing in his life, even more important than chocolate, and Charlie is soon faced with the biggest decision of his life...

    The film is also available in a single disc format (which includes two of the special features) in both fullscreen and widescreen formats and lists for $28.98.

    The Feature: 3/5
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    Video:
    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is the latest in a long list of new Warner Home Video releases with a near flawless presentation. Presented in a 1.85:1 enhanced widescreen transfer, this surreal looking film looks more real than you might expect. The transfer is gorgeous, and does a superb job at reproducing the theatrical experience - at least my theatrical experience. What stood out for this reviewer was the remarkable crispness and level of detail displayed in this transfer. Beyond the obvious facial detail, the eclectic sets and other bizarre looking visuals exhibited a terrific amount of detail. Very impressive indeed. Color reproduction was excellent, and this does a fine job at highlighting the drab outside world that Charlie occupies, contrasted nicely by the candy-like colored world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory - looking lush and vibrant. Blacks were deep and rich and whites are crisp. Contrast was excellent.

    The level of dimensionality and texture was both, outstanding and impressive, although there was virtually no film grain to speak of. As we would expect from such a recent release, the print is free of any dust and dirt or other distracting blemishes. The authoring seems to have been handled perfectly as there was no evidence of compression errors or edge enhancement etc.

    Excellent!

    Video: 4.5/5
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    Audio:
    The film is represented with a very nice Dolby Digital 5.1 EX encoded soundtrack. While the disc is not quite on par with, say, the recent Batman Begins track, it does a fine job and has a fair amount of heft to it. Dialogue was always clear, bold and intelligible. There is a satisfactorily wide and pleasing soundstage with a dynamic range that is equally impressive.

    The track is immaculate and free of any noise or hiss. There is a healthy deployment of surround usage with various directional effects as well as music ambiance. Speaking of which, the music is robust and full of life. The score was written and performed by Danny Elfman, whose collaborations with director Tim Burton include nearly a dozen films. The lyrics to the Oompa Loompa songs are straight from the original book, and are thus, credited to Roald Dahl. Elfman performed the vocals for the songs. You'll notice some LFE sporadically however, it doesn't dominate the track.

    Audio: 4/5
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    Special Features:
    The Deluxe Edition is comprised of two discs and the second disc has been reserved for the majority of the special features. The disc commences with a trailer for Tim Burton's, Corpse Bride. Meanwhile, the set looks like this:


    Disc One:
    [*] The lone feature on the first disc is the Theatrical Trailer which is in perfect shape. Duration: 2:26 minutes.


    Disc Two:

    Disc two is divided into two sections; "Features" and "Activities". The "Features" section contains the following supplements:
    [*] Attack Of The Squirrels is a featurette which contains a number of clips and behind the scenes footage and interviews. Tim Burton also appears as well as a number of other cast & crew members including animal trainer Michael Alexander, supervising prop modeler Oliver Hodge, visual effects supervisor Nick Davis, animatronics and prosthetics creative supervisor Neal Scanlan, and actor Julia Winter as they discuss the obstacles and the training necessary for the squirrel sequence. Duration: 9:48 minutes.
    [*] Fantastic Mr. Dahl is the set's most substantive feature which includes comments from Valerie Eaton-Griffith and Amanda Conquy, friend Brough Girling, literary agent Murray Pollinger, granddaughter Sophie Dahl, widow Felicity Dahl, illustrator Quentin Blake, publishers Liz Attenborough and Stephen Roxburgh, grandson Luke Kelly, daughters Ophelia and Tessa Dahl, doctor Sir David Wetherall, and son Theo Dahl. Also included are archival notes from Roald Dahl. The feature is pretty adept at offering a look into the life of the author offering some insights and various experiences which influenced his book. Duration: 17:41 minutes.
    [*] Becoming Oompa-Loompa contains comments from Tim Burton and actor Deep Roy and chronicles the various characters portrayed entirely by Roy. Duration: 7:17 minutes.
    [*] Making The Mix contains five separate featurettes. They are:

    - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams which takes a look at Burton’s adaptation of the story including the various differences of his version. (6:56)

    - Different Faces, Different Flavors is a short featurette which deals with the casting of the film. (10:38)

    - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds as we might expect, features the movie’s Oompa-Loompa songs and includes Danny Elfman who discusses his work on the project. (7:16)

    - Designer Chocolate is a feature which takes a close look at the visuals, particularly the set design for the film. (9:36)

    - And finally, Under the Wrapper is the last supplement under this banner and deals with the various special effects that were employed throughout the film. (6:57)

    The "Activities" section looks like this:
    [*] Oompa-Loompa Dance is a rather fluffy piece offering instruction should one desire to partake in an Oompa-Loompa dance... if you do, there are two options; Learn & Play.
    [*] Tha Bad Nut is a game which runs through three rounds that progressively increase in speed and difficulty. The kids may enjoy this one.
    [*] The Inventing Machine is an odd feature requiring you to mix two ingredients which then shows an Oompa-Loompa’s reaction to the taste test. Very fluffy - but fun fluff, I suppose.
    [*] Search For The Golden Ticket is the second of two games to appear on the disc. Again, I can't imagine anyone other than kids appreciating such an inclusion.
    [*] And finally you'll find a DVD-ROM feature which I didn't get into.

    I've long typed my explanation below describing my quality vs. quantity concept. This set is a perfect example. While there are some informative tidbits to be gleaned in the first half of the supplements, they are far too brief to sink your teeth into. One can't help but feel they're present because they need to be. The second half? Forget it, unless your kids are so inclined.

    Special Features: 2.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    While a number of movie critics, criticized Burton's Freudian back-story for Wonka as being both unnecessary and out of the spirit of Roald's Dahl's original novel from 1964, the film still seemed to strike a cord with moviegoers earlier in the year. Interestingly, many film reviews have noted the resemblance of Depp's creepy performance to pop star Michael Jackson - a connection that no doubt, would be an unwelcomed one - in any way, shape or form. How do I feel about the film? Well, the jury is still out. I have mixed feelings about it and to be fair, I have mixed feelings about the original version as well. There's no doubt that Burton's version offers an interesting spin on what we've become familiar with compared to the 1971 version.

    The story will be familiar to much of the audience, either from the book or from the earlier film adaptation, and this familiarity has perhaps allowed Burton to concentrate on the differential of visual fantasy; the very quality that sets its apart from that of its predecessor.

    While there's no shortage of supplements, there's not much here in terms of substance. You’ll find very little to sink your teeth into. More importantly though, the presentation is outstanding on both fronts. That said, if you are a fan of the film or of Tim Burton, there's no reason to skip this new release, however, you might want to save yourself a few bucks and stick with the single disc version.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]




    Release Date: November 8th, 2005
     
  2. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Nice review, however there are a TON of spoilers in your review.

    You may want to revise it.[​IMG]
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Tino,

    I don't share your concern about the
    spoilers. The original Willy Wonka
    is such a classic that I think everyone is
    well aware of the film's storyline.

    Herb,

    Thank you for the review. This is a DVD
    I have been salvating over since I saw this
    film theatrically. Why? For the very reasons
    you state -- this is one film that is going
    to look eye-popping gorgeous on DVD.

    I am a huge fan of the original Wilder version.
    Quite frankly, when I heard Burton was attempting
    a remake, I was somewhat concerned. Remaking
    one of the all-time classic childrens films is
    not an easy task.....

    ....but Burton managed to pull it off to the
    point where Charlie and The Chocalate Factory
    becomes a satisfying, yet not entirely perfect
    remake.

    The two biggest problems I found with this
    film is the fact (as brought out in just about
    every review) that Depp's portrayal of the
    eccentric candy man comes across as too much
    Michael Jackson. Had it been played darker,
    in the same way portayed by Wilder, I think
    audiences would have been more accepting of the
    role.

    Secondly, the film goes off-track at several
    points exploring Wonka's relationship with
    his father (Christopher Lee). These segments
    not only don't work, but makes the film drag
    on further than it should have.

    On the plus side, this should be one amazing
    DVD. The fact you have a man like Burton at
    the wheel ensures eye-popping sets that will
    make for a highly visual home viewing experience.
    I would imagine that the "Oompa Loompa" songs
    (particularly the very first) are going to sound
    quite good.

    Though I have yet to view my copy, I would
    not hesitate to recommend this DVD based on my
    personal taste and Herb's review.
     
  4. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review. With DVD-basen site down I haven't found another review for this title yet.

    Looks like I'll get the single disc release.[​IMG]
     
  5. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    Can't wait to pick this up. Much better than the original version, IMO.
     
  6. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    DVD-Basen seems to be working for me.

    DVD Talk, DVD Town, DVD Movie Guide and DVD Verdict are listed as having reviews of the R1 set.
     
  7. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    So there's no teaser trailer? [​IMG]
     
  8. Sev Bragg

    Sev Bragg Stunt Coordinator

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    I have not really gotten the M.J. comparison, Wonka never seemed to love kids as M.J. supposedly does(All too well).
    Actually, why didn't they make Depp shorter as described in Dahl's book(ala Elijah Wood in LOTR)? Also given him the goatee that he had in the book. That would have gotten it away from the M.J. stuff, surely.
     
  9. Sev Bragg

    Sev Bragg Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought the was a Burton commentary track?
     
  10. Kain_C

    Kain_C Screenwriter

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    I agree with Tino. I think it's always the safe and better method not to assume everyone is familiar with a storyline when dealing with spoilers. I am sure there are many people who are in fact NOT familiar with it. I saw the old version long ago and have since forgotten most of it. This is a pretty good review but I wish I hadn't read it; a little too much detail for me.

    Having said that, I'll still Netflix this.
     
  11. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I am watching this at this moment as I am reading this review. Teriffic PQ and use of colour. Thanks for the review.
     
  12. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Nice review. I am one (of the few?) who has never seen any film version of this story, nor read the story, nor had it read to me... But with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp involved, and a nice-sounding disc to boot, I'm in now.

    Oddly, from what I can see from checking local (Canadian retailers) prices, the diff between the 1 and 2 disc versions is pennies. For now. Otherwise I think I'd go for the 1-disc, the bonus features sound a little too Disney-like for my taste.
     
  13. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I had assumed there'd be one, but there isn't. I even cycled through the audio options to be sure - nope!
     
  14. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I think the MJ comparison connects to the character's pasty look, his fashion sense, and his slightly high voice. I agree that it's a stretch, as Depp's Wonka ACTS nothing like Michael Jackson - there are some superficial similarities but no more than that...
     
  15. Ryan Wong

    Ryan Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    Why people want another Gene Wilder's performance in this production when you already have one? I prefer Depp's performance over Wilder's because it is psychologically more accurate for a chocolate factory owner, single and lonely, with a bad childhood.

    I also enjoyed the backstory, even though it actually stopped the story moving. But you can't have all the excitement without a bit of resting right?

    The Oompa Loompa songs are absolutely the highlight of the movie. They are much better than the Wilder's version, which only have one tune. I hope they will be nominated for Oscar or something.

    Is it just the code 3 version or my problem, did you guys see color banding on the opening fade in of the cloud?
     
  16. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Did anyone else get nasty light-rings in their viewing? On my player and television there were big, nasty, obviously-digital rings of too-contrasty light around all of the fade-ins and outs and in low-light shots where digital spot-lighting is used. I'm thinking that it's just a case of my DVD player somehow decoding it funny (it does this with discs like Hellboy and Matrix Reloaded that other people say is fine).
     
  17. Mike<> C

    Mike<> C Stunt Coordinator

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    is the one disc the same transfer?
     
  18. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Mike, it should be identical.
     
  19. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I agree that many people are familiar with the '71 version of Willy Wonka, however I felt that the new film deviates enough from the older version in certain areas and scenes that some potential spoiler information is revealed in Herb's review.

    If I had not seen Burton's version and read the review, I would have been disappointed to read about some of those key
    developments.

    Anyway, just trying to help.[​IMG]
     
  20. Doug Schiller

    Doug Schiller Supporting Actor

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    Well, I don't have the discs to compare but I would think Warner used a higher bit rate on the 2 disc set since they moved one of the extras from the single disc set to the 2nd disc.

    Either that or they were ashamed at the lack of extras and moved it to stack it up the 2nd disc as much as possible.

    I'm really depressed at WB latest marketing ploy of releasing dual inventory. One, 2 disc set would have been sufficient.

    Impulse buyers get a great deal and movie collector's get left with higher prices.
     

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