HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Edition
HTS Overall Score:88
“Labyrinth” marks the final feature film of the late great filmmaker, Jim Henson. Filmed just 4 years before his death, it marks the end of a generation of puppet created wizardry that is incredibly loved to this very day. While not as deep or introspective as “The Dark Crystal”, or as intrinsically childlike and goofy as “The Muppets”, “Labyrinth” is still one of his most famous movies. My wife has seen the stinking thing so many times that this is now the 5th edition of the movie that has graced my humble shelves. Her love is so much so that her 30th birthday party was a “Labyrinth” themed costume party, wherein she played a gender bending version of the Goblin King herself. My love is not AS strong as my lovely bride’s is, but I still have to say that the movie holds a special place in my heart, as I grew up as a young child watching it over and over on VHS and TV.
Young Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) finds that her life is not exactly what she wanted it to be. 17 years old and living with her father and stepmother, she selfishly longs for the days when she was the center of attention. Loathing the focus that her baby brother Toby (Toby Froud) gets, Sarah, in all her overly dramatic ways, wishes that the Goblins (characters in a fantasy she’s obsessed with) would come and take him away. Low and behold, her wish is granted. Only she finds out that maybe, just maybe, she really didn’t want him gone. Now the only thing she can do is follow the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) back to his world and make her way through the giant Labyrinth surrounding his castle in order to bring Toby back to her world before he’s turned into a goblin himself.
But getting through the Labyrinth isn’t as easy as it looks from the outside. The maze is gigantic and fully of traps, not to mention the fact that it changes its patterns seemingly at whim. The only way through the maze happens to be Sarah letting go of her arrogance and pride, and actually trusting a few friends along the way. Meeting up with a grump dwarf named Hoggle (Brian Henson), a “thing” called Ludo, and a posh British sounding fox named Didymus, she just might make it to the Goblin King himself before its too late.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80370[/img]“Labyrinth” is a delightful fantasy romp that follows the usual Jim Henson pattern of intertwining something more adult with the obviously child audience of the outer trappings of the film. On the surface “Labyrinth” is nothing but a children’s fantasy, much like “Wizard of Oz” and the like (well, that and an excuse to have the then incredibly popular David Bowie singing his heart out). However, under the surface we have a coming of age story where Sarah learns about actually growing up. At the beginning Sarah is wildly selfish. Putting her needs above Toby’s and self-pitying, she causes this whole mess by summoning the Goblin King. However, as she progresses throughout the movie she has to learn humility, kindness and realizing that the childish things that she put so much love into at the beginning were just junk in reality. HOWEVER, in true Henson flair, “Labyrinth” does not condemn everything in our childhood. No matter how much we grow up, there is always a place in our hearts for fantasy, and adventure. Something that is driven home with the final scene of the movie.
While the love for “Labyrinth” is strong, it also is the least polished of all of Henson’s work. Although that is not in any way diminishing the fantastic work that it is. The movie has a decidedly dated feeling to it, especially for those of who grew up in the 80s and looking back can acknowledge the fact that many of the elements that made the film so great to us were relevant mainly IN the 80s. The constant use of David Bowie as a walking music video was something that was very popular back then, and seems kind of cheesy nowadays, not to mention the coming of age story was also something that thrived in that past decade as well. The movie is simple and sweet, but simple nonetheless. Still, despite the obvious 80s tropes and dating, it is a fun movie that still is a blast to watch some 30 years later, and I love introducing new people to the film and watch them fall in love with it the same way I did as a kid.
Rated PG. Parental Guidance Suggested
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80378[/img]This 30th edition from Sony has been given a brand new 4K remastering, with both a new Blu-ray and 4K UltraHD Blu-ray struck from the mint. I luckily still my 2009 Blu-ray (and the superbit DVD I might add) of the film so I could do an A/B of the older print vs. this one, and I have to say the results are amazing. “Labyrinth” has always look good on Blu-ray, but this new 4K edition is a cut above. Colors are richer and more vibrant, and the scratches and visual specks on the print have all but been eliminated. Sometimes there is still some softness to the image, but that’s just because of trying to blend animatronics and special effects wizardry into the real world (or more like blending a bit of the real world into IT). Black levels are sickeningly deep, and the fine detail is exquisite. I looked for digital artifacting in the transfer, and have to say that this is one nice looking disc. Sharper, clearer, and more vivid, it brings a classic film into the 21st century with a transfer that easily outclasses the earlier releases, both on Blu-ray and the slightly superior 4K edition.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=80386[/img]It goes without saying that “Labyrinth” was never mixed with Atmos in mind. The 2009 disc was given a very very nice 5.1 Dolby TrueHD encode (actually it had TrueHD on several languages, something that is only given to the English track in this instance), but one that enhanced by the remixing into an Atmos track (or 7.1 TrueHD if you don’t have the appropriate Atmos gear). Dialog is always crisp and clear, while the surrounds get a HEFTY workout from the maze and the associated traps, characters and settings within. The bog of eternal stench is alive with the sounds of little farts, or the clattering of rocks that Ludo calls down upon the goblin army at the end. Sadly we don’t get a lot of height action, but there is some use with David Bowie music strewn throughout. LFE is tight and punchy, adding mild weight when needed, but then expanding into a powerhouse during certain scenes. The bog of eternal stench where the rock falls from underneath Hoggle, or the crashing of the giant Gollum near the end spring to mind as some of the most powerful. This isn’t the BEST Atmos track known to man, but it is a solid improvement over the old 5.1 track, and a worth addition for anyone looking to collect the film. Thankfully the Atmos experience is preserved on both the 4K disc as well as the 1080p Blu-ray as well, so neither choice is a bad idea.
• Disc 1: Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Ultra HD Blu-ray
• Disc 2: Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Blu-ray (Plus Bonus Features)
• * NEW The Henson Legacy – Jennifer Connelly and the Henson family talk about the art of puppetry and the magic of Jim Henson, along with a visit to the “Center for Puppetry Arts” featuring The Jim Henson • • • • Collection and over 100 puppets from Labyrinth
• * NEW 25th Anniversary Labyrinth Q&A – Hosted by Mythbuster’s Adam Savage with participants Brian Henson, David Goelz and Karen Prell, and surprise guest Sheri Weiser
• * New Remembering the Goblin King – Remembering David Bowie with co-star Jennifer Connelly, and Jim Henson’s children Brian Henson and Cheryl Henson
• Commentary with Brian Froud
• The Storyteller’s Picture in Picture Track – Bonusview interactive feature
• Inside the Labyrinth: Making of documentary
• Journey through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of characters featurette
• Journey through the Labyrinth: The quest for Goblin City featurette
“Labyrinth” is a product of the 80s, but it is a welcome product for those of us who grew up in that era. Filled with wonderful glitz and glamour from the king of style himself, Jim Henson created a cult film that has an ENORMOUS following, even to this day. The question I always have to ask when double dipping is, “Is it worth it”? In this case I really think it does. The extras are fantastic, and the addition of a new 4K remaster along with a remixed Atmos audio track make this a no brainer. If you’re even a slight fan of the movie, this is easily the best version to date by a very nice margin. It doesn’t matter if you choose the 4K or the Blu-ray release, both are equally excellent, with the natural nod towards the higher resolution of this 4K UltraHD version. Definite Buy.
Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud
Directed by: Jim Henson
Written by: Jim Henson, Dennis Lee, Terry Jones
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 Core), Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Italian DD 5.1
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Sept 20th, 2016
Buy Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Gift Set On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Must Own
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