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Labyrinth Anniversary Edition

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 19, 2007 07:08pm | Post a Comment
It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the original release of "Labyrinth." This movie was one of my favorites at the time. It came out a couple of years after Time Bandits, The Neverending Story, and Dark Crystal. The same year as Legend. A year after Goonies, Back to the Future, and Teen Wolf. The year before Willow and The Princess Bride.  Like many of us, I was a big fan of the fantasy film as a child and teenager. To be honest, I guess I still am.  Many of these films, like Labyrinth, had a story within a story. It allowed the story to be believable as a dream or "fantasy" world. But also never really that scary since we knew it was just a story. It wasn't until I was a bit older when my love of fantasy films turned into my love of horror films.  I was also obsessed with Jim Henson and the Muppets. Jim Henson directed both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Labyrinth also starred David Bowie. This movie really had everything going for it. It was sort of impossible for it not to be as successful as it was. The movie made its way deep into our hearts and still remains there to this day. This week we get the release of the Anniversary editions of both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Muppets Season 2 also comes out. It is a big week for Jim Henson fans.

I have been in the process of replacing all my VHS with new DVDs. But I always have to wait until the deluxe versions of the movies come out. I want all the special stuff that they add on to the DVDs. And while there is always something missing, these versions often convince me to buy them. The Anniversary Edition of Labyrinth is 2 discs. I guess they meant to put this out last year as the 20th anniversary. But 21 years is close enough. Last year was also the 70th anniversary of Jim Henson's birth.  The movie starred Jennifer Connelly as a young girl bored with babysitting. She imagines herself into the world of goblins and creatures and the evil leader "David Bowie." The film is brilliant. And with the work of Jim Henson the film was ahead of its time. The creature effects still hold up and end up looking better than any modern film such as The Lord of the Rings. And with David Bowie we get an amazing original soundtrack. The soundtrack included 5 original David Bowie songs. The songs were sort of cheesy at the time, so I don;t really think they have gotten any worse.  And they are an integral part of the movie. I still know all the words to "Magic Dance" and "Underground." I always try to imagine this movie with Michael Jackson in the Bowie role. I don't know if it could have been better, but it for sure would have been amazing.

This deluxe version includes the original movie with a commentary by conceptual designer Brian Froud. Disc 2 includes the old documentary that you may have already seen on earlier versions. It is even on the end of the VHS copy that I have. But it also has some new documentaries with new interviews and never before seen footage. The film still looks beautiful. The great thing about this movie was how fun and imaginative it was. Jim Henson was simply a genius. The 80's were really a good time for kids films. The PG films of the 80's were so much more exciting and intriguing than the film of today. I am sure some kids of today would not agree. But it is really hard to compare High School Musical to Labyrinth.  I really do feel sad for the kids of today. Although I am sure many adults who grew up with films like Labyrinth are also making their kids watch these movies on DVD today.

As a kid or young teen in 1986 we had Labyrinth, Legend, Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Karate Kid II, Short Circuit, Lucas, Flight of the Navigator, Space Camp, and Pretty in Pink. In 2007 we get High School Musical 2, Harry Potter, Super Bad, Nancy Drew, The Last Mimzy, Bridge to Terabithia, Ratatouoille and Surf's Up. There are still a bunch of movies aimed at the tween market. But the quality has gone down and the stories have become so predictable. High School Musical became the most popular kids film and soundtrack of all time. While I am all for kids choosing drama over sports, the storyline is so simple and predictable. No imagination went into its creation and it doesn't help kids improve their imagination. I really can't imagine that when the fans of High School Musical grow up they will still look back fondly on these movies. Will they flock to midnight screenings of High School Musical or buy the deluxe versions that come out on DVD in 2027? I really don't think so. There will never be another Labyrinth again. Although I am sure that they will remake it some day. They are making a new version of The Dark Crystal and Goonies...

Here is the original trailer for Labyrinth...


And here is a brilliant clip from the movie with the song "Magic Dance"...

And here is the MadTV sketch of High School Musical...

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High School Musical (1), Jim Henson (4), David Bowie (47), Labyrinth (2)