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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Wonka (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Sound
The Supplements


A young and penniless Willy Wonka dreams of opening a chocolate shop but encounters the powerful Chocolate Cartel that wants him stopped.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Wonka, the musical fantasy based on the character from the Roald Dahl novel, acts as a prequel to the classic 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. The film traces the life of Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) from his time as a young penniless adult with a passion for creating chocolate inherited from his late mother.

Director Paul King (Paddington) gives us a world of pure fantasy and imagination as Willy arrives at the elite Galeries Gourmet hoping to make his fortune selling his delicious chocolate, but things do not go smoothly. He is seen as a threat by the Chocolate Cartel of Slugworth (Paterson Joseph), Prodnose (Matt Lucas), and Fickelgruber (Mathew Baynton), who bribe the local police chief (Keegan-Michael Key), to ensure Wonka is shut down. He finds himself penniless again and ensnared by con artists Mrs. Scrubitt (Olivia Colman) and Bleacher (Tom Davis) who trap him in their workhouse with a massive debt he has to repay. Still, with the help of friends he makes there, friends Noodle (Calah Lane), Abacus Crunch (Jim Carter), Lottie Bell (Rakhee Thakrar), Piper Benz (Natasha Rothwell), and Larry Chucklesworth (Rich Fulcher), Wonka launches a counteroffensive to launch his chocolate empire under everyone’s noses anyway.

Anyone looking for the same level of mayhem and wry humor of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may be disappointed. The devilish Willy Wonka is not here – yet. This is a very timid Wonka, perhaps with filmmakers too worried about offending anyone or finding themselves on the canceling block. Still, the world from King is magical, if sometimes uneven, and the musical numbers are fun. The performances from the supporting cast, especially Keegan-Michael Key and Paterson Joseph manage to outshine Chalamet but help insert a lot of charm into the film. This film may not be the instant family comedy classic of its 1971 predecessor, but it is still a charming and enjoyable film.

Purchase Wonka 4K Ultra HD+Digital on Amazon.com

  • Timothée Chalamet and Hugh Grant in Wonka (2023)
  • Wonka (2023)
  • Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Keegan-Michael Key, and Mathew Baynton in Wonka (2023)
  • Hugh Grant in Wonka (2023)
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Timothée Chalamet in Wonka (2023)
  • Calah Lane in Wonka (2023)
  • Timothée Chalamet in Wonka (2023)
  • Wonka 4K Ultra HD+Digital (Warner Bros.)
  • Wonka 4K Ultra HD+Digital (Warner Bros.)

The Video

Wonka was shot on different Arri Alexa cameras with anamorphic lenses in ARRIRAW 4.5K. a 4K digital intermediate was used. The film is presented in a 2.40:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. Detail is strong throughout and there are no issues with noise or aliasing. The color palette ‘pops’ nicely, although not in a Crayola-type of candy color way, ironically. I would have liked a more filmic appearance, but instead we get something that really looks a bit more digital, but still satisfying.

The Audio

Wonka comes with a lossless English Dolby Atmos audio mix. This mix is fine for the material at hand, but just a little bit weak in the lower end of the audio spectrum. There are not too many moments in the film that call for big, bombastic lows, but I would have liked to have heard a little more beefy lows in the musical performances. What we do get is still a well-rounded mix with clean audio and a spacious sound, but the overheads are quite stagnant, filled with mostly ambience.

The Supplements

Warner Bros. provides Wonka with a few featurettes with interviews on the various elements of the film as well as direct access to the musical moments and a digital code.

Bonus Features:

  • Movies Anywhere Digital Code
  • Unwrapping Wonka: Paul King’s Vision (1080p; 00:12:28)
  • The Whimsical Music of Wonka (1080p; 00:06:01)
  • Welcome to Wonka Land (1080p; 00:10:51)
  • Hats off to Wonka (1080p; 00:06:47)
  • Wonka’s Chocolatier
  • Musical Moments

The Final Assessment

A charming if a little uneven musical fantasy with a solid 4K transfer from Warner Bros. that provides an origin story for the classic Roald Dahl character. Recommended for families.

Wonka is out on 4K Ultra HD + Digital February 27, 2024 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Purchase Wonka 4K Ultra HD + Digital on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: PG (for some violence, mild language and thematic elements.)
  • Studios & Distributors: Warner Bros. | Village Roadshow Pictures | The Roald Dahl Story Company | Heyday Films | Domain Entertainment | Québec Production Services Tax Credit | Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
  • Director: Paul King
  • Written By: Roald Dahl | Paul King | Simon Farnaby
  • Run Time: 116 Mins.
  • Street Date: 27 February 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
    • MaxLL: 446 nits
    • MaxFALL: 106 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)
  • Secondary Audio: English Descriptive Audio | French DD 5.1 | Spanish DD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH | French | Spanish

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A young and penniless Willy Wonka dreams of opening a chocolate shop but encounters the powerful Chocolate Cartel that wants him stopped.Wonka (4K UHD Review)