Does the magic of Jim Henson ever fade? Nearly 15 years after
his unfortunate passing, his puppet mastery and Muppet tales
continue to captivate millions of children around the world, and
his films maintain a certain nostalgic quality for those of us who
grew up watching them. Made with masterful craftsmanship and
wonderful fantasy that only Henson could conjure, Columbia/TriStar
has finally decided to release a special collector’s edition
DVD of “Labyrinth.”
Under Henson’s direction and starring David Bowie
alongside a young yet still beautiful Jennifer Connelly,
“Labyrinth” is the story of Sarah (Connelly), a girl
who wishes her young stepbrother to be taken away by the Goblin
King (Bowie). When her wish actually comes true, she finds herself
having to travel through the Labyrinth she has only read about, a
place where nothing is what it seems, in order to rescue her
brother from becoming a goblin.
While short on plot, or at least anywhere near a complete first
act, the power of the film comes from the events and settings
within the Labyrinth, which is exactly where the DVD package places
its focus. Before even getting to the DVD, the box itself contains
a keen booklet detailing some of the sets and characters from
concept through filming. Accompanying the booklet are a useless
scene composite and six character sketch cards.
Included as special features on the disc itself are the usual
trailers, talent files and an extensive photo gallery that, while
interesting, pales in comparison to the “Inside the
Labyrinth” featurette. This slick, hour-long
behind-the-scenes look is one of the best and most comprehensive
you’ll find from a film made before the DVD era. It documents
every aspect of the filming and is often narrated by Henson
himself, providing an imaginative commentary that sounds like
it’s from the mouth of Kermit the Frog.
But where is the commentary track from Henson’s son, or
Bowie and Connelly? Where is the tribute to Jim Henson? Though the
neat-looking little package has some wonderful aspects, it is
surely a disappointment compared to what it could have been.
Film: 3 out of 5 stars.
Picture/Sound: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Features: 2 out of 5 stars.