Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Edition
Directed by Jim Henson
Starring Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie and Toby Froud.
Labyrinth arrives on Blu-ray again in a new 30th Anniversary Edition that ports over the materials from the 2009 release and adds some new supplements. The package resembles a hardback book, with a small booklet bound into it. A code for a digital copy of the film is included too.
I’ve often wondered what else Jim Henson would have accomplished had he lived longer. His family has admirably carried on in his absence, but I’m sure we lost some wonderful movies that would have furthered the legacy he established with not just the Muppets films but also The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. (And, yes, he would have done more on TV too.)
I won’t rehash the plot of Labyrinth, since I assume you’re familiar with it and want to know more about this new 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. If you haven’t seen the movie, though, you should rent it or see if it’s available through your favorite streaming service, especially if you’ve ever enjoyed the Muppets. While The Dark Crystal was a bit dark and brooding, Labyrinth is a lighter romp through a lively fantasy world ruled by David Bowie as the Goblin King, who has kidnapped the baby brother of Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) after she became frustrated while watching him. Songs are, of course, a big part of the story.
If you have the Blu-ray that was released in 2009, everything that was on that disc was ported to this one, along with a healthy complement of new bonus features and a code for a digital copy of the movie. We’ll start with the legacy materials:
Inside the Labyrinth is a 57-minute making-of documentary that was created during the film’s production. It features plenty of interview materials with not only Henson, Bowie, and Connelly, but also the puppeteers, who certainly count as actors too. Designer Brian Froud, who worked on The Dark Crystal too, appears too, along with screenwriter Terry Jones, whose family recently released some sad news about his health. (My thoughts are with him and his friends and loved ones.)
Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters runs 28 minutes and dives much deeper into the puppeteering. George Lucas, who served as the producer, also offers his thoughts. You’ll find plenty of test footage in this one, along with archival behind-the-scenes footage. This piece was created for the 2009 Blu-ray.
Journey Through the Labyrinth: The Quest for the Goblin City (30 minutes) is another documentary created for the 2009 Blu-ray. It’s a look back at the movie’s development, starting with Froud’s vision of a baby surrounded by goblins, which kickstarted the project. Lucas, Brian Henson, choreographer Gates McFadden (yes, of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame), and others appear in this one too.
The Storytellers: Picture-in-Picture is a feature that includes a small window in the corner of the screen where various participants, such as members of the Henson family, give their thoughts on the film.
The final legacy bonus feature is a commentary track with Froud, whose focus is of course on the effects and other visual elements. He has some interesting bits of trivia to impart, such as his observation that the owl shown during the opening credits is the first instance of a digital creature in a movie.
So how about the new bonus features? They’re a bit light, except for a 41-minute anniversary Q&A with Brian Henson and fellow puppeteers Karen Prell and Dave Goelz. Henson has to depart early, but a surprise guest appears: Shari Weiser, who inhabited the costume of Hoggle, a character who plays a primary role in the film. MythBusters co-host Adam Savage moderates the proceedings.
The other new materials include:
Reordering Time: Looking Back at Labyrinth, which runs 9.5 minutes and features Henson family members and Connelly joined by vintage clips of Jim Henson from the 80s making-of documentary. The Henson Legacy is 10.5 minutes and has the same participants; its focus is self-explanatory.
The final piece, Remembering the Goblin King, runs nearly five minutes and features a look back at Bowie’s participation in the film. Bowie is another artistic genius who’s now gone, but at least he was able to reach his senior years.
This Blu-ray comes in a DigiBook package made to look like a small hardback book. Bound into the cover is a booklet that contains written materials, along with plenty of photos. The movie was also released in a 4K UHD + Blu-ray edition that unfortunately doesn’t have the booklet, so plan accordingly. The film was remastered for this release.
Labyrinth is a movie that fans have probably purchased a few times on home video, so if you’re one of them, the question is how much the new materials, the booklet, and the remastered film are worth to you.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★★
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