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Labyrinth - A Jim Henson sci-fi fantasy classic! Unfortunately, something is missing to make this great! David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly are pretty good in this if you like them!
A beautiful grown up faerytale!!
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 01/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favourite movies, because it truly understands the hearts of grown up girls, their love of fantasy and lure the dark & dangerous lad that leads us down the garden path. It's a wonderful tale, with marvellous tunes that linger on and on. From "It's Only Forever", "Underground" and "Chilly Down" but most especially "As the World Falls Down". Sigh, such a beautiful and deftly filmed Cinderella Ball for Adults. I don't know a woman that loves this film who does not say "I want that dress!".Sarah is an easy to relate to teen. She is part child - part woman, one foot in each world and truly not belonging to either. Added to this, her father has remarried and has little time to spend on his growing daughter. We are not told, but it's clear her mother is dead. Mom was an actress and lover of the magic and she passed this on to her lovely daughter. It's very hard to believe Jennifer Connelly is only 12 years old here!!! She is the perfect Sarah, the beautiful woman-child that has no sense of her place in the world. Too grown for childish things, too young for boys and dating. Her cherished childhood toys are giving carelessly to her new baby stepbrother, again emphasizing her feelings of alienation. Her new mother has little patience, and even when she tries, she meets with a hostile resentful woman-child. Sarah pain at feeling as if she is not wanted anywhere is so heartbreaking.Left with the crying baby, and feeling that her world is slowly crumbling around her (reflected in Bowie's "As the World Falls Down"), the child side takes control and spitefully wishes the baby to be taken away from the Goblins. In true Muppet fashion, they promptly and cheerful comply. Sarah faces the Goblin King Jareth - perfectly brought to life by Bowie - and demands he return her brother. When Jareth says he will only return her brother if she finds her way to the Goblin City, Sarah sucks in her courage and goes after him.Along the way she meets wonderful friends such as Hoggle and Sir Didymous, and finds out her own inner value and worth. Something we all have to do in growing up.A true faerytale for the little girl in us, wonderfully realized through the magic of the Muppets, Connelly and Bowie. This set is laced with all the wonderful goodies that will thrill all the many lovers of the film.Kudos for the super repackage."
Fairy tale fun at its finest
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 07/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the early 80's Jim Henson created one of the most ambitious fantasy films ever: The Dark Crystal. It was a movie that had a completely realized world with its own creatures and flora... and it was performed entirely by puppets. Not the Muppet kind that Henson is famous for, mind you. These were serious creations that involved serious innovations in animatronics. While many loved the movie and it was critically acclaimed many others didn't "get it". There was no human interaction in the movie whatsoever and that put off people. Also the movie was serious with none of that Muppet mayhem Henson fans are so used to. That put off a few more people.
The next evolutionary step in Jim's grand scheme of fantasy puppetry was Labyrinth, and they filled in the gaps that The Dark Crystal left for those who couldn't (or wouldn't) "get" the concept of a fully realized fantasy setting that is outside of our own. How does he do it? Let me tell you...
Step One - Human actors. Labyrinth included the young, yet already talented Jennifer Connelly as their heroine and well-established musician and actor David Bowie as her nemesis. Now you get the fun of a complete puppet world while at the same time you have human characters that interact in that same environment. Thus giving the viewer a better connection to the puppet characters.
Step Two - Better puppets. The Dark Crystal is a masterpiece in of itself, however the technology used to animate the puppets was in its infancy and if you had to be picky about it you can pick away at the limitations of the puppets in that movie. With Labyrinth you get updated technology, which gives you puppets who can show emotions better. Case in point is the goblin Hoggle, who is the starring puppet. So much attention to detail went into his facial expressions that you can actually see the fear, disgust, anger, and joy in his eyes. Add to that other puppetry innovations and you have a world of cool puppets.
Step Three - Keep it fun. The Dark Crystal was a grandiose and serious film that included some funny moments now and then. Labyrinth is the opposite. Is a fun film where the characters meet up with unexpected and often times crazy situations. Makes this fantasy adventure feel more comical in the same way it would reading a fun bedtime story.
Step Four - Keep the original concept. Jim Henson did The Dark Crystal with the thought that he wanted to create a whole different world inhabited by beings and creatures portrayed entirely by puppets. Labyrinth is essentially the same thing, but done in a different way. Walking through the movie's namesake (the maze that leads to the goblin city) is definitely like being in another world that's both fascinating and fun. Much of what you see is visually impressive and essentially relish in the fact your eyes can play tricks on you. Brian Froud is again signed on as the conceptual designer and his work shines just as well in this iteration as it did with Dark Crystal.
Labyrinth also has the destinction of having songs specially written for the movie by David Bowie. Keep in mind this movie was in the 80's so what you get is 80's Bowie, and there are a couple scenes that flow more like music videos (or musical numbers) than standard scenes.
You might get the impression I am dogging on Dark Crystal in order to lift up Labyrinth. Can't be farther from the truth. However I do know the differences between the two films and how the other was made in response to the first. Labyrinth is the folk tale while Dark Crystal is the fantasy book. I believe both are fantastic movies.
The original DVD for Labyrinth was a good compilation right from the start, and is superceded only now with the Anniversary Edition. Here's what you get:
Documentary Making of the Labyrinth - Has interviews with actors, puppet performers and production staff including Jim Henson, Brian Henson, David Bowie (who gives us some insight on his character) and Jennifer Connelly as well as lots of details on design and production of the movie. This documentary is a gem for those of you want solid behind-the-scenes details and was in the original DVD and is included on the Anniversary edition.
Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters and The Quest for Golden City - These two all new featurettes include updated interviews with the cast and crew and never before seen footage from the Jim Henson archives. Kingdom of Characters focuses on... you guessed it... the main characters in the movie including conceptual design for the puppets (although Hoggle seems to be mostly left out, likely because there is so much of him in the original documentary) and background info on the actors. The Quest for the Golden City is mostly design details on the labyrinth, Goblin City and castle itself. These featurettes do well to fill in the gaps left by the original documentary. The extra footage is test footage of the puppets and such, with some production footage as well. I noticed some of the production footage was a rehash of what's on Making of the Labyrinth, but the crosstalk is few and far between.
Commentary by Brian Froud
You also get DDS 5.1 Surround in English and Japanese along with a Portugese stereo track (how many movies have a Japanese and Portugese dub?), Subtitles (in English, Japanese, Portugese and French), remastered visuals from high definition masters, and it's presented in anomorphic 2.35.1 widescreen. Believe me, the diffence in video quality between this and all of the previous DVD releases is significant. For no other reason this alone is worth getting.
This is what you would call the definitive edition to date, although that's about to change. Labyrinth is slated for release on high definition Blu-Ray in late September! It will have all the same features as this edition and will also include an exclusive picture in picture extra titled The Storytellers. Which one do you get? Well until I hear more about the high definition transfer I won't say for sure, but so far the track record on Blu-Ray editions has been good. My only concern is if the clean up for Blu-Ray took out too much of the original grain from the camera. Will update when I learn more.
Labyrinth is a wonderful movie for all ages. The visuals will impress and the hijinks will entertain. If you are a Muppet fan this movie will be much more accessable than the Dark Crystal, and if you like The Storyteller then you have abolustely no choice but to get this (it's like a full length Storyteller movie sans John Hurt)."
jenn2 | 07/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Labyrinth when I was about ten years old and it has been my dream fairytale ever since. The story was simple -- big sister has to grow up, learn her responsibilities and rescue little brother from becoming a goblin.But what was magical about the whole show was the brilliant M.C Escher sets, marvelously entertaining puppets created by the father of all puppets, Jim Henson, and the beautifully romantic interludes between Jennifer Connelly (Sarah) and David Bowie (Goblin King).Present-day computer animation can make dinosaurs almost real but I preferred the cute and adorable puppets that created my own make-believe of a world of magic, fantasy and adventure. I could almost see myself running around in that maze, dodging the boobie traps and having great companions like Hoggle, Ludo and Ambrocious with me. I admit I was pretty charmed by David Bowie's portrayal of the Goblin King but who wouldn't be? Powerful, mysterious and not bad-looking, he seemed to be in the classic Prince Charming genre, except that he was also a little diabolical compared to those in Cinderella and Snow White etc.Labyrinth is a classic and will always be my dream fairytale, and I am still watching it over and over every now and then. Most of all, like Dark Crystal, it is one of the signature performances by the late Jim Henson and his wonderful family of puppets."
I feel sorry for you S. Stone
jenn2 | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"S. Stone wrote "Anyone who takes this film seriously needs to get out more. Its just that bad". Well Mr. Stone, I would have to respond by saying people like you need to develope a sense of humor, a sense of wonder and perhaps NOT take things so seriously! You'd have to be a pretty sad sack with a chip on your shoulder if you found this film appalingly offensive to your intelligence!
Jim Henson was a true artistic genius. He redefined puppetry by creating living breathing worlds both in his beloved Muppets and in films such as Labrynth and the Dark Crystal. I grew up on Sesame Street and other Muppet shows and was always fascinated how he, like his friend George Lucas, managed to convey an image of traditional folklore and story telling with modern imagination.
The world of Labrynth is astounding. A world of fluttering faeries, furry worms with Cockney accents, dark underground catacombs, putrid swamps, towering warrior robots, and much more. The scope of this film is very rich and detailed with amazing imagination. The characters, both human and otherwise, are easy to likable and suprisingly realistic(Hoggle's arrogance and cowardice, Didymus's brash sense of bravado, Ludo's gentle interior).
Despite his silly poofy 80's wig, David Bowie commands a very powerful and formidable presence as Jareth, King of the Goblins. He, as well, turns out to be a slightly more complex character than your traditional villain.
All in all, this is a highly recommended fantasy adventure.
R.I.P. Jim Henson.
Magical fantasy adventure for all ages!
chick_flick | 10/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Labyrinth", directed by Jim Henson, is one of my all-time favorite children's fantasies. It's about teenage aspiring actress, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), who's sick and tired of being mistreated by her parents (Shelley Thompson and Christopher Malcolm) because she thinks her baby brother gets all the attention. Sarah soon begins to hate her baby brother and wishes that he would be taken away by evil goblins. Miraculously, Sarah's wish comes true...but now she's afraid of what might happen to her brother and wants him back. So to get him back, she must embark on a journey through an enchanted labyrinth maze to get her brother back from the evil king goblin (David Bowie). Along the way, she meets many magical creatures and defeats dangerous tasks as she learns what's really important about family.The film's special effects were done by the Lucasfilm company (yes, George Lucas's effects company). The acting is superb from the entire cast, especially a very young Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. The storyline is wonderful, but the DVD is lacking, with only trailers, production notes, and one documentary on the making of the film. "Labyrinth" might actually not be for all ages, since it can be a little scary...esepcially the goblins might creep some young children out. But it is still a must.I highly recommend "Labyrinth".Score: