Bring home the little bitty pretty “Matilda” in a 4K UHD restoration with limited-edition steelbook packaging.

Adapting stories from one medium to another is difficult, a task made exorbitantly more difficult when based on a book by a beloved children’s author (notwithstanding controversies). Yet, here stands director Danny DeVito’s 1996 fantastical dramedy Matilda, a film which is enjoyed by so many and continues to be cherished by new generations of audiences. Neither for an anniversary nor some other special occasion (like the appearance of two boat salesmen trying to convince you to take a weekend away), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a limited-edition steelbook of Matilda that includes not just the usual legacy features, but a brand-new audio commentary track from DeVito *and* the feature film presented in 4K UHD with Dolby Vision and a new audio track remastered for Dolby Atmos.

Young Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) was not welcomed into a loving home upon her birth, but was viewed as an expensive inconvenience. So much so that she was left on her own to the point that she learned how to fend for herself from an extraordinarily young age. That’s not the only thing that’s extraordinary about Matilda, as she possesses an innate sense of justice (and a little bit of telekinesis) powered by her cleverness embolden her to ensure that bullies get a small taste of their medicine. However, when she starts school and meets the indomitable Ms. Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), whose penchant for tossing or locking up children makes her something to be feared, Matilda finds herself in a situation far outside what she’s used to. As only Matilda can, she will rise to the challenge.

Perspective has a way of changing things for audiences, which is why it’s important to be open to revisiting films that you haven’t seen in some time. It may surprise you! In this case, despite believing myself having seen this entire DeVito-directed project as a fan of his The War of the Roses (1989), I came to realize quickly that I’d never seen the film in full before. Who knew that Matilda had an older sibling?! Who knew that she could write before she could walk and that, when she learned how, not only cooked her own meals (a demonstration of both self-sufficiency and parental abandonment), but would walk herself to the library?! What was once a delightful film about an empowered, brilliant young lady seeking freedom from parents who didn’t encourage her turns into a dour tale of a brilliant mind discouraged from learning and primarily ignored by her family. It’s a story of reclamation, found family, and magic that only Dahl has the silliness and perspective to create which still manages to make one feel whole by the end. Even the scary parts of Matilda are executed by DeVito so that there’s a specific unrealistic absurdity that whether Trunchbull is shot putting a child by their pigtails, using them as a javelin, or throwing them in the chokey, no one in the young audience has a reason to be afraid. Not truly, not terribly. As such, DeVito has managed to create a film that delighted audiences in ‘96 that will do the same for another generation in ‘23.

According to the press notes provided with the home release announcement, the 4K UHD edition was created using a scan from the original camera negative. It does not specify how or by whom, as is often the custom of physical media boutiques like Arrow, Criterion, 88 Films, and Radiance, but one can assume that, if they used the original negative, that both the video and audio components were remastered this way. Given the clarity of picture, the vibrancy of the colors, and the balance of tones present throughout, however Sony accomplished this 4K UHD edition, it was completed well. The film is nearly 30 years old, but it possesses little-to-no visible grain, no appearance of dirt or artifacting. In particular, the sequence between Trunchbull and Matilda’s abilities at night demonstrates balance executed well as the scene looks more natural in its dim light, with Trunchbull cloaked in appropriate darkness when trying to hide from the objects flying about her, half of her face entirely missing from view when unlit from the fireplace in her living room. My home viewing system isn’t Atmos capable, but the sound is equally as balanced as the video, the dialogue coming through cleanly, the score and ambient noises filling the space well. It all comes together in an immersive cinematic experience.

What of the packaging?

The primary color that runs throughout the outside is purple, with the front cover featuring a purple ombré amid a character collage that has the Wormwood family on Matilda’s right shoulder and Trunchbull and Ms. Honey (Embeth Davidtz) on her left shoulder. Some of the objects and creatures that Matilda uses her abilities on in the film are depicted flying around her. On the back is a purple-tinted film still of all the students standing outside of the schoolhouse being addressed by Trunchbull. The inside of the case has a clear two-disc holder on the right side for the included Blu-ray and the 4K UHD Blu-ray and 18 small pieces of art in sets of nine on each side, each smaller image taken from the larger one on the front of the case. And, yes, there is a digital code sheet inside, as well.

When it comes down to it, the question is always whether the purchase is worth it. So let’s break that down. For the cost, you get three formats (4K UHD, Blu-ray, and digital), a steelbook decorated with an actually lovely design, a presentation that impresses compared to prior versions, and a story that remains just as charming and poignant as its original release. If you are satisfied with the version you have, you’re likely fine to wait and see if this edition drops in price around the holidays. However, if you don’t have this or are a major fan of seeing a film in the best version possible, there’s little doubt in my mind that you’ll have no regrets picking this up.

Matilda Special Features:


  • Feature scanned from the original camera negative and presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision and all-new Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1
  • NEW: Audio Commentary with Director Danny DeVito
  • Theatrical Trailer


  • Feature presented in high definition
  • 5.1 audio
  • Afternoon Tea: A Very Magical Matilda Reunion
  • Matilda’s Movie Magic!
  • A Children’s Guide to Good Manners
  • Escape to the Library
  • My Movie About Making Matilda by Mara Wilson

Available on 4K UHD Blu-ray steelbook September 5th, 2023.

For more information, head to the official Sony Pictures Matilda webpage.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Matilda 4K UHD SteelBook Packshot with Hook Card

Categories: Home Release, Home Video, Recommendation, Reviews, streaming

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: