Jim Henson’s 1986 film “Labyrinth” focuses on 16-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) traveling to the center of a maze in a fantasy world to rescue her brother Toby (Toby Froud) from Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie), whom Sarah wished away to him in a moment of pique when she was unhappy at having to babysit. Along the way, she receives assistance from Hoggle (Brian Henson), Ludo (Ron Mueck), and Sir Didymus (Dave Goelz and David Shaughnessy), who exemplify the role of puppet characters in adding depth and heart to this fantasy world.
The film makes extensive use of Brian Froud’s designs, creating something where each element both entertains and adds to the overall film while also showcasing how practical effects, in-camera effects, and imagination made the fantasy films of the 1980s so memorable. Froud and his wife, Wendy, also worked with Henson on “The Dark Crystal” and helped define a style of fantasy that casts a legacy beyond the 1980s. David Bowie’s music gives “Labyrinth” that extra special touch as his musical numbers elucidate plot elements and are just fun, catchy tunes that you can sing outside of the film. George Lucas served as an executive producer on the film and it’s easy to see how it may have inspired his later fantasy work, 1988’s “Willow,” which was also a family-friendly fantasy film that wasn’t afraid to confront some darkness in order to give it real stakes. The film remains the type of story that everyone can enjoy all these years later and that parents can watch with their children, both finding enjoyment.
Bonus features on this Blu-ray include a picture-in-picture track with interviews from Cheryl Henson, Kevin Clash, Rollin Krewson, Connie Peterson, Warwick Davis, and Nick Dudman. There is also a commentary track from Brian Froud, who designed the creatures and world of “Labyrinth.” Finally, the Blu-ray includes a making-of documentary, “Inside the Labyrinth,” and two specials, “Kingdom of Characters” and “The Quest for Goblin City.” “Inside the Labyrinth” is a wonderful documentary hosted and narrated by Jim Henson that has some phenomenal behind-the-scenes moments and that goes into detail on the film’s extensive pre-production and then how each scene was filmed, including interviews with actors, puppeteers, and more. “Kingdom of Characters” and “The Quest for Goblin City” feature later interviews that add more detail and behind-the-scenes footage that did not appear earlier, including some test footage, as well as reminiscences from Brian Henson and George Lucas discussing the mythological archetypes of the story.