Charlie and the Chocolate Factory appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Very few issues materialized in this appealing transfer.
No real issues with sharpness materialized. A few shots seemed a smidgen soft, but those were insubstantial, and most appeared to result from visual choices; the movie opted for a somewhat loose, glossy look at times. Despite those elements, the majority of the flick looked crisp and detailed. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent. The movie also failed to display any print flaws; it always remained clean.
Once we got past the dank, dismal world of Charlie’s family and headed into Wonka’s factory, the film provided a wild, vivid palette. The disc replicated those tones with wonderful definition and life. All the different hues popped off the screen and looked terrific. Blacks were dense and tight, while low-light shots demonstrated good clarity and smoothness. Overall, this ended up as a fine image.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack that was quite good. With all the movie’s nutty situations, it featured more than a few opportunities for a wide soundfield, and it took advantage of them. The music offered nice involvement and imaging, while effects broadened across the spectrum well.
Elements were placed accurately and blended smoothly. The surrounds added a good sense of place as well as plenty of unique components to create a fine soundscape. This was an active, involving piece.
Across the board, the mix offered good quality too. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no signs of edginess or issues with intelligibility. Music was bright and vibrant, while effects came across as lively and accurate. The package included nice bass response to create a warm sound. Overall, I liked this soundtrack and thought it worked well for the movie.
How did this 2015 “10th Anniversary” Blu-Ray compare with the original Blu-ray from 2011? Both were identical – literally. The 2015 release simply repackages the prior Blu-ray.
Obviously that means the disc itself includes the same extras as the 2011 Blu-ray, and we open with an audio commentary from director Tim Burton. He offers a running, screen-specific look at what drew him to the project, the source novel and its adaptation, additional story and character topics, cast and performances, music and effects, sets and production design, costumes and choreography, and a few more notes.
The only negative here comes from dead air, as we get more than a few short gaps. That issue aside, Burton delivers a good chat. He’s always been inconsistent as a commentator, so this comes as no surprise. Nonetheless, Burton fills his active moments with a lot of interesting info about the film, so this track is well worth a listen.
For an additional auditory component, we find a music-only track. This delivers Danny Elfman’s score in all its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 glory. While I don’t care to listen to isolated scores, I know many others like them, so I appreciate the inclusion of Elfman’s work here.
Next we get an In-Movie Experience. This mixes text trivia facts, shots from the set, storyboards, and interviews. We hear from Burton, Elfman, head animal trainer Michael Alexander, and actors Jordan Fry, Julia Winter, James Fox, AnnaSophia Robb, Missi Pyle, Johnny Depp, Adam Gooley and Freddie Highmore. We learn about sets and music, cast, characters and performances, and a few other areas.
Often, these picture-in-picture features offer a lot of good material and insights. Unfortunately, this one is a dud. Virtually all of the movie-related information appears elsewhere, so the only unique elements revolve around the text blurbs. Those deliver zany notes most of the time; they’re cute but not especially valuable. In addition, long patches of the film pass without any components. You can safely skip the “In-Movie Experience” and not miss anything.
From there we focus on a whole bunch of featurettes. These start with the six-minute and 57-second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams. It features notes from Burton, executive producer Felicity Dahl, producers Brad Grey and Richard D. Zanuck, screenwriter John August, and actors Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. The program looks at Burton’s adaptation of the story and various character, plot and tone concerns. We find a few decent details about these areas, but this piece feels a little too promotional and generic for my liking; don’t expect much depth from it.
Next comes the 10-minute, 39-second Different Faces, Different Flavors. In it, we find remarks from Roy, Felicity Dahl, Grey, Depp, Zanuck, Burton, Winter, Carter, actors AnnaSophia Robb, David Kelly, Christopher Lee, Adam Godley, Liz Smith, Noah Taylor, Eileen Essell, David Morris, Philip Wiegratz, Jordan Fry, Missi Pyle, James Fox, and Freddie Highmore. “Faces” covers casting and the work done by the actors. Occasional insights pop up here, particularly in regard to Depp’s interpretation of Wonka. Unfortunately, much of the show just praises the performers.
After this we find Designer Chocolate. It goes for nine minutes, 36 seconds and offers notes from Burton, Zanuck, Grey, Dahl, Smith, Depp, Robb, Carter, Fry, Winter, Highmore, production designer Alex McDowell, model unit supervisor Jose Granell, supervising art director Leslie Tomkins, director of photography Philippe Rousselot, set decorator Peter Young, costume supervisor Lindsay Pugh, and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci. “Designer” looks at the movie’s visuals, with an emphasis on its sets. We also get notes about costumes and other visual elements, but the show digs into the sets most firmly. As with some of the prior programs, it zips by too quickly and lacks the detail I’d like given the complexity of the subject. Still, it hits on the highlights and offers an entertaining view of the subject.
Next we get Under the Wrapper. This six-minute and 58-second piece presents statements from Burton, Davis, Tomkins, McDowell, Depp, Scanlan, Robb, Penny, special effects supervisor Joss Williams, and visual effects supervisor Chas Jarrett. As you can guess from that list of participants, this one covers various effects issues. We learn about practical and visual elements used in the film. I continue with the same complaints: this show gives us a decent taste of information but needs to be longer and more detailed. It’s fine for what it is, however.
When we go to the seven-minute and 17-second Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds, we discover information from Burton, composer Danny Elfman, actor Deep Roy, and choreographer Francesca Jaynes. This one focuses on the movie’s Oompa-Loompa songs and offers one of the disc’s better programs. Elfman eloquently discusses all of his challenges and gives us a nice look at his song-writing processes.
For more filmmaking magic, we head to Becoming Oompa-Loompa. The seven-minute, 16-second featurette presents comments from Burton, Winter, Davis, Scanlan, lip-synch and vocal coach Jane Karen, Elfman, Jaynes, visual effects producer Nikki Penny, and Deep Roy. As the title implies, the program shows all the work put into making Roy show up as skillions of different characters. I like the material presented here but think it’s too brief given all the complications involved. This was an ambitious process that deserved more documentation.
From there we shift to the nine-minute and 49-second Attack of the Squirrels. We hear from Burton, head animal trainer Michael Alexander, supervising prop modeller Oliver Hodge, visual effects supervisor Nick Davis, animatronics and prosthetics creative supervisor Neal Scanlan, and actor Julia Winter. They chat about the challenges involved with training squirrels and how they accomplished those scenes. This includes both real and artificial animals. We see how they were taught to deal with the nuts and issues related to the attack on Veruca. The featurette maintains a light tone but digs into the subjects well. It turns into a fun and informative piece.
Finally, Fantastic Mr. Dahl runs 17 minutes and 42 seconds. It includes remarks from neighbors 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. We also get archival notes from Roald Dahl himself. We get good notes about Dahl’s life and his work, but much of the program also focuses on others’ impressions of him. We hear about how he interacted with his kids, grandkids and others along with details about some elements of Dahl’s writings. We get some insights into Dahl’s experiences with chocolate and how those influenced his material. The show ends up as somewhat disjointed, for it doesn’t follow a logical path. Nonetheless, it includes solid information and acts as a candid look at the author.
Two pre-vis sequences appear. We get one for “Mike Teavee Dance” (1:32) and another for “Augustus Gloop Dance” (2:06). “Teavee”mixes crude CG and footage of Deep Roy, while “Gloop” focuses entirely on rough computer animation. Both are fun to see.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a Club Reel. This two-minute, 54-second clip offers a music video of sorts, as we mostly see the Oompas dance to a beat-heavy tune. It’s a snoozer.
With that we move to materials exclusive to the 2015 “10th Anniversary Edition”. A Personal Message from Tim Burton offers a simple note about the movie. Don’t expect much.
The “10th Anniversary” package also includes a photo book. The softbound 32-page item shows a glossy mix of shots from the movie, promotional pics and behind the scenes images. The book lacks any informative text. While not bad, it seems pretty mediocre.
Long on visual razzle-dazzle but short in most other areas, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offers a flawed adaptation of a classic work. The movie has its moments but doesn’t compare favorably with its cinematic predecessor. The Blu-ray presents very positive picture and audio along with a nice collection of supplements.
Should fans “upgrade” to the “10th Anniversary Edition”? No. If you already own the 2011 Blu-ray, you’ll get almost nothing new here; the added paper materials add little value and certainly don’t prompt a new purchase.
If you don’t already own Charlie on Blu-ray, I’d still recommend the 2011 version. As I write this in February 2015, the original release retails for a mere $9.98, or $15 less than this “10th Anniversary Edition”. I wouldn’t spend an extra $2 for the materials added to the 2015 release, much less $15, so unless you can get the “10th Anniversary” version for the same price as the original Blu-ray, skip it.
To rate this film visit the original review of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY