The last film directed by Jim Henson, Labyrinth, considered by some to be his most disappointing work. In reality that’s far from being true, Labyrinth is a wonderful film done in the mid 80s just a few years after another of Henson’s films, The Dark Crystal. Jim Henson was able to convince George Lucas to produce before singer David Bowie jumped into the project and year later the film was nominated a for Best Special Visual Effects Award by BAFTA.
The film revolves around a young, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), who in a moment without thinking wishes that her little bother be taken away by the Goblin King. Little did she know her wish would come true, Sarah realizes that her brother is missing and suddenly Jareth the Goblin King appears in front of her eyes. Jareth tells Sarah that her brother is in his castle in the center of the labyrinth beyond the goblin city. Sarah looks outside her window and see the castle in the horizon. And the adventure begins.
Sarah encounters numerous creatures and oddities throughout the labyrinth. She meets Hoggle who at first refuses to provide much help to a desperate Sarah who needs too get to her brother in less than a day. Sarah enters the labyrinth and meets new allies who aid her in the journey to reach the castle of the Goblin King. Her adventures are one of a kind, the movie itself is one of a kind, and the creatures populating the maze are fascinating. These characters at times appear to be part of the maze itself, the overall design of the film is great and fitting for the intention of the filmmaker, the entire film is filled with certain oddities that a viewer would not find in today’s films. The visual effects seen well done obviously the effects used back in the 80s are nowhere near to the same standards as today.
The film is not perfect by all accounts, you find the Goblin King, Jareth, who appears to be all powerful and frightening turns out to be the opposite in his own turf? This isn’t the only inconsistency with the story, but at the end the film turns out to be entertaining.
The film sports a 1080p video with an MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The video seems very clean as the film moves forward, there is a good amount film grain that adds to the natural warmth of the movie. The level of detail is superb; one very good example of it is the fine textures of the puppets. The blacks are very inky and they truly excel in the subterranean scenes of the film. The colors are dull but this actually fits with the film’s gritty look. There a small problem with having this film transferred to 1080p if you have a sharp eye and/or pay close attention there are several scenes which you can see the puppets’ strings. This may not be eye popping quality, given that it is a 1980s film, but it’s a very good transfer. Sony has done a quality work on this film.
Labyrinth sports a nice Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Lossless audio track. The dialogue is very crisp and clean; rears are very strong at all times throughout the film. The rears output ambient sounds effectively and creates a more than decent soundfield. This is a very good audio transfer it may not be the best out there but delivers.
Let’s see what the studio has in store for us on this release.
- Audio Commentary with Bryan Froud: The feature allows Bryan Froud to talk about the film’s design, CGI work, characters, etc. Excellent audio commentary with enough information pertaining to the film.
- Making of Documentary: Inside the Labyrinth: This is a very long featurette, it’s approximately 57 minutes long. The featurette covers the amount of work put on the film among other subjects.
- Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters: This featurette allows the crew to talk about the characters, concept designs, ideas behind the characters, and the difficulties experienced during filming.
- Journey Through the Labyrinth: “The Quest for Goblin City”: The filmmakers discuss how the story of Labyrinth came to be.
- The Storytellers: A group of people including Cheryl Hanson talk about the inspiration behind Jim Hanson to make Labyrinth.
Fans of the film will be delighted with this disc as it is a step up from the DVD and most likely this is as good as it will ever look. Sony did a grand job with this transfer, delivery very nice video, audio quality, and including a good amount of supplements. Highly recommended.
Labyrinth will be available for the first time in high definition Blu-ray!
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