PictureWith a movie of two halves, one being colourless and the other being colourful, this would need a very good transfer and that's exactly what we have here. From the opening moments, we have a superbly sharp transfer, which isn't devoid of colour - it's just muted deliberately and the image has no haloing or artefacts, but when we enter the Wonka factory, we get a visual treat with vivid colours, from the green grass, red fruit and chocolate brown river and yet again, no artefacts, haloing or colour bleed. Detail is superb, witness a close up of Depp where you can see the skin texture ever through his makeup and each blade of grass is easily noticed. Definitely no complaints here.
SoundWith a Dolby Digital EX soundtrack, the first thing that struck me was how much louder this sounded compared to other Dolby soundtracks in general. With the musical numbers in particular, this is quite a busy soundtrack with some nice steering, such as the glass elevator (again) or the boat ride down the river. While the LFE is the speaker that seems to suffer the most in terms of workout, when it is utilised it is noticeable but then, this isn't a movie that truly requires it. Dialogue is always clear and never gets drowned out at all, which proves that if the Dolby mix is handled well, DTS isn't missed and this is one such soundtrack in my eyes. Not as dynamic as say, War of the Worlds, but certainly engaging enough.
ExtrasOn loading disk 2, we have options for “Features” and “Activities”, so diving straight into the features, we have Attack of the Squirrels a 10 minute featurette revolving around the sequence of the Squirrels, the nut testing and the demise of Veruca Salt. It's really interesting to hear how they trained several squirrels for key parts of this scene, as well as the CGI elements - well worth a look.
Fantastic Mr. Dahl is a 17:40 minute feature relating to the author of this story, Roald Dahl. It isn't tied in anyway to the movie per se, instead it focuses on his life and has nice little anecdotal stories from his wife to this granddaughter, Sophie Dahl. Actually again, this is very interesting stuff and the granddaughter isn't bad on the eye either!
Becoming Oompa-Loompa is a 7:17 minute featurette revolving around Deep Roy and his hard work becoming all of the little blighters and their song 'n' dance routines, as well as the visual effects needed to implement this. Certainly interesting, particularly the animatronics and you have to feel sorry for the guy going through all of it!
Making the Mix splits into 5 separate sub-sections which are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Dreams (6:57), Different Faces, Different Flavours (10:39), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Sweet Sounds (7:17), Designer Chocolate (9;35) and Under the Wrapper (6:58). These encompass the entire making of the movie, from casting, sound design, costume and set design and visual effects. It seems to be done in this way to make it more easily manageable and watchable sections. There's a lot of praise heaped on the fellow actors and it comes across a little warm and fuzzy, but it's not too sickly.
Now, we have the activities section, kicking off with Oompa-Loompa Dance which is a typical Benami type game, albeit somewhat simple in its execution, but I'm sure the youngsters won't mind.
The Bad Nut is a game where you have to help the squirrels sort out the nuts (no, not the ones in the Houses of Parliament), but the idea is to select if the nut that dropped was a good or a bad nut, with the rate of nuts falling at an increased rate.
The Inventing Machine is a “mix two ingredients together” type game and an Oompa-Loompa will taste your concoction. You then get an animation as to the reaction of this mix.
Search for the Golden Ticket which is a game where you have to find each of the 5 children's Golden Tickets. I have to admit I'm not a fan of these DVD games but I'm sure someone is - I've just yet to find them.
VerdictCertainly a movie that has is a slight let down to how I imagined it would end up, but it's not a bad movie at all. In fact I'd say that it's Burton firing on 3 out of 4 cylinders, which is why I feel slightly let down, but again I reiterate, Burton on ¾ steam is still better than a lot of others out there. Excellent casting and some striking visuals help compensate, but I feel it should have been a tad darker - indeed the trailer for Corpse Bride at the beginning of the disk certainly gives me something to look forward to - Burton at 100% and I can't wait for that DVD. For now, this is a good family movie and is certainly a very competent DVD, I just feel slightly robbed, but kids I'm sure will warm to it - probably a good bet for most popular kids DVD this Christmas.
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