The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1986
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 101 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
Directed by: Jim Henson
Music by: Trevor Jones
Written by: Terry Jones
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 29, 2009
"Where everything seems possible and nothing is was it seems"
David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly invite you into a magical universe where nothing is what it seems! Babysitting infant stepbrother Toby on a weekend night isn't young Sarah's (Connelly) idea of fun. Frustrated by his crying, she secretly imagines the Goblins from her favorite book, LABYRINTH, carrying Toby away. When her fantasy comes true, a distraught Sarah must enter a maze of illusion to bring Toby back from a kingdom inhabited by mystical creatures and governed by the wicked Goblin King (Bowie).
It's funny but Labyrinth is one of those movies that has all eluded me over the years. When it was released back in the mid eighties I was in my early twenties and it looked like a children's movie that wouldn't interest me much. Watching it today I can understand the allure that it would have had on younger viewers back then. Those same viewers are now adults and haven't forgotten the enjoyment they got from it. For me it doesn't have that nostalgic appeal but I found it likeable nonetheless. It isn't a complex story but it tantalizes the audience with likeable characters that come in the form of a strong heroine, fantastical creatures, talking doorknockers, helping hands, perilous bogs (with a severe case of flatulence), and a singing, conniving Goblin King who will stop at nothing to keep her from rescuing her captive baby brother by successfully navigating the deeply winding and ever dangerous maze that is the Labyrinth.
After my recent revisit of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal I felt right at home watching this one as it exudes his touch for creativity and wonderment. Being a Jennifer Connelly fan, I found it very interesting watching her at this early stage of her career. I have to admit that seeing David Bowie running around in that bad wig and those form fitting tights was a little disturbing. Seriously, I think that Labyrinth is a fun, visually stimulating, and entertaining family film that may be a little dated but retains much of the charm that make it a favorite among its fans. I am sure that its release on Blu-ray Disc is an anticipated one and I am happy to have finally made its acquaintance.
The rating is for perilous situations and mild thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Labyrinth comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.3 mbps.
Here is another solid catalog release title from Sony that delivers excellent overall picture quality. Images are resolute with appreciable levels of refinement that bring out discernible detail in the large variety of objects and creatures found in the Labyrinth's world. Blacks are nice and deep, contrast is spot on, and shadow detail especially in the underground catacombs provides an excellent sense of depth. There are instances where the video takes on a slightly smoother quality but this innate to the photography. The earth tones and primary colors featured in the film are beautifully rendered and noticeably delineated. Jennifer Connelly has a rosy complexion that appears just a bit too warm but otherwise fleshtones look fine. The video has a thin veil of grain that gives it a filmic texture that while obvious is never obtrusive. I was impressed with strength of this presentation's lucidity and dimensional perspective. The master isn't in pristine shape but I have to believe that this is the best it has looked since being released on home video.
This film's soundtrack isn't such that it necessitates uproarious surround sound or extended dynamic range but it should be capable of delivering clear, concise audio reproduction, which it does. Dialogue is reproduced with crystal clarity and appreciable tonal variation that separate the differing vocal characteristics among the cast. Both ambient and discrete effects which includes off camera sounds, are mixed to both the front and rear channels. This helps increase the depth of the soundstage and provide a good sense of envelopment. The synthesized 80's music sounds great and is responsible for much of the low frequency detail associated with the mix although there are several sequences where tumbling rocks, or tunnel based machines provide robust bass response that rumbles nicely. I enjoyed the soundtrack and while it may not be the type that constantly drives the system and fills the room it was intelligently used to maximize the elements present in the recording.
- Commentary with Brian Froud
- The Storyteller's Picture in Picture Track - Bonusview interactive feature
- Inside the Labyrinth: Making of documentary - 56 minutes
- Journey through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of characters featurette - 28 minutes
- Journey through the Labyrinth: The quest for Goblin City featurette - 30 minutes
- BD Previews:
- The Water horse: legend of the deep
- Open season 1 & 2
- Monster house
- Surfs up
- Close encounters of the third kind
- BD-Live enabled
Like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth is a wonderfully charming fantasy adventure film from the creative world of the great Jim Henson. It tells a simple yet engaging story that utilizes strong visuals based in an elaborative style that hasn't lost its luster 23 years after its initial release. I am sure that its fans are looking forward to sharing it with their children. This represents another example of Sony's commitment to releasing quality high definition presentations of their catalog titles. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony in a fan friendly package that boasts excellent video quality and a fairly comprehensive set of bonus supplements that include Blu-ray Disc exclusive content that enhances the enjoyment of this classic film. If you're a fan this is a must have addition to your Blu-ray collection.
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