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review added: 3/28/00



Labyrinth
1986 (1999) - Lucasfilm/Henson Associates (Columbia TriStar)

review by Brad Pilcher of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Labyrinth Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/B+

Specs and Features

122 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, dual-layered (second layer for supplements), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailers for Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The Storyteller, Inside the Labyrinth "making-of" documentary, talent files, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned


"I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave."

Any person who grew up in the 1980s remembers certain films. The Goonies is one of them. Princess Bride is another. But neither is out on DVD yet, and that's a shame. Labyrinth, however is on DVD, and that's great!

The film itself is better remembered, because having just watched it with my "adult" eyes, I see that it's just OK. The acting is passable, but nothing spectacular. The script is hokey. The effects are downright silly at times. So why is this movie lovingly remembered? Well, because the effects, while silly, are incredibly fun and endearing. The situations themselves are so far-fetched as to be the stuff of childhood fantasy. So if you grew up with the film, you can remember loving the misadventures of Jennifer Connelly, as David Bowie tried to thwart her travels through the labyrinth. The music is good, and the goblins are fun. Really, the characters who aren't real add so much to this film, and this was years ahead of The Phantom Menace, where the "fake" characters were so badly realized.

The plot synopsis goes like this. Connelly is Sarah. She's in love with a fantasy world, and when she gets frustrated baby-sitting her little stepbrother, she wishes the goblins would take him away. Oops! She gets her wish, and now she must travel through the labyrinth to the Goblin King's castle in order to get her stepbrother back. Along the way, nothing is as it seems, and a charming group of goblins and creatures help (and foil) Sarah at every turn.

This is one of the few discs to have the Lucasfilm logo on it, so it was surprising to see a quality disc on the technical side of things. This movie has never looked this good, benefiting greatly from an anamorphic transfer. Film grain, while still present, is simply unnoticeable. Artifacting is not an issue. The colors are perfect, bringing the world of the labyrinth to life. The sound is also impressive, bringing the music out with a rich and encompassing sound field. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is just great, continually showing what can be done even without a 5.1 mix.

The extras are slim, but of superb caliber. Aside from trailers for Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The Storyteller, we get a fabulous "making-of" documentary. Running at about one hour, this shows much insight into the production of the film. We are treated to cast and crew interviews, along with behind-the-scenes shots and interesting tidbits about how some special effects were pulled off. It's very well done and wholly informational. This is what a documentary is supposed to be people!

As a piece of pop culture, this film is great. Kids will love it, whether they are kids now or were kids in the 80s. Add in the great quality and a documentary that's worth a purchase as a stand-alone, and you've got the makings of a quality disc that's easily worth buying. You don't even have to go through the labyrinth to get it, so definitely pick it up.

Brad Pilcher
bradpilcher@thedigitalbits.com




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