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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Adventure > Mystery > Fables > Magic > Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Edition (1986/Henson/LucasFilm/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + Blu-ray DigiPak Versions)

Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Edition (1986/Henson/LucasFilm/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + Blu-ray DigiPak Versions)

4K Picture: A- Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B Film: B

Jim Henson will always be remembered as not only one a force in the world of puppetry but as a remarkable filmmaker that was ahead of his time. This is proven in his two narrative live action films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, outside his fantastic work with his own The Muppets going back to Sesame Street, earlier TV variety show and TV commercial appearances. Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, Labyrinth utilizes fantastic production design, puppetry, costumes, and live action to create a fantasy world that today would be done with digital creatures and digital matte paintings but here in done the right way - practically. A childhood favorite for almost anyone who was a kid in the 1980s (and fortunately, later), the film lands on Blu-ray looking better than ever and packed with fantastic bonus features.

Taking a cue from classic children's stories such as Where The Wild Things Are and The Wizard of Oz, Jim Henson's 1986 film Labyrinth (yes, he directed it himself!) tells the story of Sara (Connelly) who lives in her own imaginary world and is frustrated the burden of babysitting her small baby brother. While her parents are away one night, she wishes that her brother would be kidnapped by Goblins - only to find that in fact he is - when the Goblin King (Bowie) shows up and transports her to a faraway world where anything is possible. Once in his fantastical new reality, Sara must solve a complicated Labyrinth, home to many different creatures that seek to betray her, and has 13 hours to find her way to the Goblin King's castle to rescue her baby brother.

Also in the cast (even if you don't recognize them in their make-up or outfits depending) are Frank Oz, Kenny Baker, Warwick Davis, Jack Purvis and various members of the Henson family.

Shot on 35mm film with real anamorphic, underrated J-D-C Scope lenses Lucas was happy with on Return Of The Jedi, the film was lensed by the incredible Director of Photography Alex Thompson, B.S.C. (Alien 3, Year Of The Dragon, Ridley Scott's Legend, Excalibur, Roeg's Eureka, Branagh's 70mm Hamlet, The Krays). Sony has gone out of their way to deliver a new Ultra HD master and, WOW does it look fine. With a great color range and meant for 70mm blow-up, the 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image is an excellent demo for the new format and makes this easily one of the best-looking back catalog titles around in ANY format. You have never seen it looking so good and both fans and novices alive will see exactly what the makers intended to the extent that this will cause revisionist thinking of the film in its favor. For Bowie fans, it is a match for all the great Blu-rays of The Man Who Fell To Earth (including the stunning, but out of print Criterion edition, though the Lionsgate Blu-ray issued a bit later (reviewed elsewhere on this site) has issues) and exclusive Blu-ray of Absolute Beginners (Twilight Time) and The Hunger (Warner Archive, all reviewed elsewhere on this site) that continues the stunning streak of Bowie's feature films in HD.

The 4K set and separately sold Blu-ray-only DigiPak with built-in booklet editions offer that standard Blu-ray in 1080p digital high definition with the same widescreen aspect ratio that is nothing to dismiss easily. Though not as stunning as the 4K version, it more than holds its own in the common HD format and will still surprise those use to lesser transfers of the film.

Originally issued sonically at its best in 6-track magnetic stereo (possibly with Dolby noise reduction, information on this mixed on this at this time), Sony has gone our of their way and created a new, great sounding Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless track that recreates the sonic 70mm experience and then some, available on all versions released here. One DVD version had poor sound with poor surrounds years ago, but that is just a bad, distant memory here as the sonics fuse with the amazing image quality to deliver the fantasy-genre classic like few have ever experienced it before. The music score by Trevor Jones (Dark Crystal, Excalibur, Angel Heart, Dark City, Desperate Measures, From Hell) also benefits greatly sounding amazing and is now arguably one of the highest fidelity ways to hear his work in any format, anywhere. Also included is a lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track and several other 5.1 tracks in various languages.

Special Features include...

Reordering Time: Looking Back at Labyrinth

The Henson Legacy

Remembering The Goblin King

Labyrinth anniversary Q and A

Theatrical Trailer

The Storytellers: Picture in Picture Track

Commentary by Conceptual Designer Brain Froud

Making Of documentary Inside the Labyrinth

Journey Through The Kingdom: Kingdom of Characters and The Quest For Goblin City

Digital Copy

plus booklet in the DigiPak version only

This release is a great treat for fans of the film and a great way to show it to the new generation. Hope more back catalog releases get this time of high grade treatment.

- James Lockhart & Nicholas Sheffo



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