I only remember seeing this movie many years ago, but I saw a Blu ray version in the bargain bin at a local store. I picked it up remembering the late David Bowie was in the movie. Sarah, a petulant 15-year old [future Oscar winner, Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”)], is forced to babysit her baby brother on a Saturday night. When little bro’ refuses to stop crying, she wishes he would just disappear. Sarah, who reads fantasy books, goes so far as to recite some mumbo-jumbo she finds in one of her books…and what do you know, she gets her wish.
Then Bowie appears as Jareth, the Goblin King. She wants her brother back. He says, she has 13 hours to get him but she must traverse an elaborate labyrinth/maze to get to his castle and retrieve her brother. Along the way she gets help from an assortment of characters from the imaginative minds of Brian Froud and director Jim Henson. One of those characters is a grumpy goblin named Hoggle or as Sarah calls him a couple times, Hogwart…hmmm.
In today’s world, all of these characters would either be CGI created or motion capture. Here it’s costumes and puppeteering. Bowie and Connelly do a nice job as essentially the only humans in the film interacting with the cloth and rubber goblins. There is one real sheep dog, who is replaced in some scenes by a puppet and yes, it’s noticeable. While the creativity is wonderful, the film is really a one trick pony. Just Sarah navigating her way through the maze to rescue her brother. She must use her wits to outmaneuver the assortment of goblin who are meant to keep her away. The film has a very ‘80’s feel to it (maybe it’s the big hair), but looks pretty good in Blu ray.
The transfer includes a 1080p video resolution and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The disc begins with the menu, with no ads, promos or trailers to skip through. How refreshing. The first several minutes of the film are a bit noisy in terms of scratches and heavy grain. But like some vinyl records, it cleans itself up as it goes along. Colors are acceptable but never really pop like most modern Blu ray transfers. Detail is very good. Good enough to see a few wires here and there. Black levels and skin-tones are certainly good if not as good as most modern transfers. The soundtrack features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and it is very good. Thunder resonates through the bass and subwoofers. There are some modest action sequences which come across nicely. All-in-all a nice mix. Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Extras are fairly substantial and include:
*Making of Documentary: Inside The Labyrinth
*Commentary with Brian Froud
*Journey through the Labyrinth: "Kingdom of Characters"
*Journey through the Labyrinth: "The Quest for Goblin City"