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Labyrinth 35th Anniversary Edition - 4K ULTRA HD + BLU-RAY + DIGITAL (1986) - Review

Labyrinth 35th Anniversary Edition - 4K

“Things are not always what they seem in this place.”

Upon its original theatrical release in 1986, Jim Henson’s final directorial feature, Labyrinth, was not able to find its audience as it flopped in the U.S Box office and received mixed reviews among critics of the time. But fortunately thanks to home video, 35 years after its initial release, Labyrinth has accumulated an adoring audience, earning its title as a cult classic. Of course, Henson’s legacy will always lie with the shenanigans of his classic Muppet characters and stories, but Labyrinth is arguably his most deeply beloved project, and it is not hard to see why.

"This mystical coming-of-age story is truly one-of-a-kind with its creatures, catchy 80’s pop songs, rock star king, and much more"


A girl obsessed with fairytales lands in one all her own. One night, when 16-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is forced to babysit her baby half-brother Toby, she recites a wish so that goblins would come take him away. When she shockingly notices that her wish has come true, the flamboyant, mysterious, rockstar Goblin King (David Bowie) appears and young Sarah immediately pleas for the return of her young brother. However, things are not so simple. Only given 13 hours, Sarah must make it through The Goblin King’s labyrinth the leads to his castle, where baby Toby is being kept.

At face value, the story can come off a bit silly. Goblins, fairies, talking animals wearing clothes, and something called “The Bog of Eternal Stink.” Something as far-fetched as this might be thought of as something that would fare better among the library of animated features…BUT with Henson’s unique vision, the audience is guided through a fun and heartfelt ride accompanied by a giant cast of puppet characters that each have distinct personalities that successfully serve the comedic relief for the rather dark story. With its elaborate sets, intricate animatronic puppets, and passionate performances from everyone involved, Henson’s final film succeeds in truly feeling otherworldly while simultaneously having a sort of grounded feel thanks to its practical effects and story.

Behind the musical fantasy veil, the element that audiences have uncovered and connected with after all of these years is Sarah’s coming-of-age story that makes up the heart of the film. Through every twist, turn, riddle, and set-back that she experiences in the labyrinth, the story wonderfully represents the confusing, in-between period that Sarah is experiencing in the real world as she progresses into maturity of adulthood. The Goblin King and others in the labyrinth tempt and misguide her constantly, but through the end, we see Sarah evolve as her quest gets harder and harder all the while making a few friends along the way. Perhaps there are moments that make the audience uncomfortable (like Bowie’s infatuation with the girl and his noticeably tight pants), but given the time period it was made in and the intentional choices of those sorts of things, the audience can easily forgive that now-outdated tropes.Labyrinth 35th Anniversary Edition - 4K

Frankly, the star quality of the film is the puppets and practical effects. One cannot help but be in complete awe of the complex craft and care that went into making and performing of the puppets. It is a shame to see that this kind of artisanship is largely absent from the mainstream, CGI-dominated world that we now all live in. However, those who care to venture into the special features will probably see why puppeteering is not more commonly used. Nevertheless, it is still impressive to this day!

Overall, the film is not perfect, and you can see why it is probably not for everyone. But what one can see upon watching…and rewatching… the film is the enormous amount of blood, sweat, tears, and love that went into making it. This mystical coming-of-age story is truly one-of-a-kind with its creatures, catchy 80’s pop songs, rock star king, and much more. It is something that should at least be watched once in your life, and thanks to Sony Pictures, you can be fully immersed in the Labyrinth world right from the comfort of your couch.

4/5 stars

 

Labyrinth

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- August 17, 2021
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; German: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Korean: Dolby Digital 5.1; Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: two disc set; 4K Ultra HD;  Blu-ray Disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

From visionary filmmaker Jim Henson comes the unforgettable fantasy favorite LABYRINTH, now celebrating its 35th anniversary. A 16-year-old girl (Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly, Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind, 2001) is given 13 hours to solve a dangerous and wonderful labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King, played by the iconic David Bowie.

Video:

Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Sony Pictures’ 4K restoration is fantastic in giving the film a clean look without sacrificing too much of the grain. The contrast and colors are restored to extenuate the muted color palette of the film, and the sparkles and other mystical elements really seem to pop out wonderfully. Overall, this is probably a perfect transfer and the best version of the film we will ever see.

Audio:

The dynamic range of the epic Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) track adds another layer of magic to the musical fairytale. From the raw and crisp performances of the creatures to the glory of the 80’s synth-pop-Bowie-composed songs, this soundtrack throws you straight in the middle of the Labyrinth with Sarah herself.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Included on the Blu-ray disc, Conceptual Designer, Brian Froud, offers insightful commentary about his special contribution and thoughts on the film, how it was working with Jim Henson, and other wonderful in-depth details on the story, themes, and effects that went into making Labyrinth.

Special Features:

Encased in a wonderful book-like packaging is excerpts from Henson’s directing script with his own handwritten notes, story board shots, concept art, and much more courtesy of The Jim Henson Company’s archives. This release is filled to the brim with wonderful behind-the-scenes looks and interviews for the cult classic.

  • 4K Ultra HD Disc
  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes – over 25 minutes of never-before-seen footage with all-new commentary from Brian Henson
    Sarah’s Screen Tests – a collection of rare, original screen tests for the role of Sarah
  • Blu-Ray Disc
  • Reordering Time: Looking Back at Labyrinth The Henson Legacy
  • Remembering the Goblin King
  • Labyrinth Anniversary Q&A
  • The Storytellers: Picture-in-Picture Track
  • Making-Of Documentary “Inside the Labyrinth”
  • Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters & The Quest for the Goblin City
  • Theatrical Trailers

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars


Film Details

Labyrinth 35th Anniversary Edition - 4K

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
1001 mins
Director
: Jim Henson
Writer:
Terry Jones
Cast:
David Bowie; Jennifer Connelly; Toby Froud
Genre
: Adventure | Fantasy
Tagline:
The Imagination of Jim Henson.
Memorable Movie Quote: "So, the Labyrinth is a piece of cake, is it? Well, let's see how you deal with this little slice..."
Theatrical Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 27, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 17, 2021.
Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Jim Henson comes the unforgettable fantasy favorite LABYRINTH, now celebrating its 35th anniversary. A 16-year-old girl (Academy Award® winner Jennifer Connelly, Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind, 2001) is given 13 hours to solve a dangerous and wonderful labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King, played by the iconic David Bowie.

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Labyrinth 35th Anniversary Edition - 4K

 

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