While The Muppets are primarily thought of as children's entertainment, I have to strongly disagree. Sure, on the surface they're just puppets, but look a little deeper and you'll see a myriad of adult themes lurking beneath their colorful nylon and foam facades. From homelessness (Oscar the Grouch), to inter-species relations (Mrs. Piggy and Kermit the Frog), to same-sex marriage (Ernie and Burt), The Muppets have long served a dual purpose: Educate children and enlighten adults.
Oh, shut up. You know I'm kidding.
However, Muppets mastermind, Jim Henson, did manage to slip in healthy doses of thinly veiled adult humor and situations into his series and films, thus making his creations a touch more palatable to the hapless parents who were all but forced to endure them. With 1986's Labyrinth, Henson set out to create a film for the child in all of us.
Sarah (Connelly) is a bratty young teen whose imposed with the task of babysitting for her infant half-brother (whom she resents almost as much as her father's new wife). While preparing for the role of a fairy princess in a school play, she wishes her brother away; a wish that is merrily granted by the evil Goblin King, Jareth (Bowie). Stricken with guilt, Sarah enters the labyrinth of the king in hopes to rescue her brother from the Goblins, and encounters all manner of mystical creatures who not only help her in her quest; they also help her to come to terms with herself in the real world.
Labrynth is a remarkable achievement in both style and substance. Upon its release I remember Henson taking a lot of flak for making such a dark film for children, but the reality is Labyrinth isn't meant to be a kid's film. Henson made a movie that actually adhered to the label of "family entertainment", in that it was entertaining to the entire family, as opposed to a brainless kid's film in which adults are simply obliged to be present. Sure, there are some moments that may spook the little ones, but no more so than the classic fairy tales of old, which this film does an excellent job of emulating.
Presented in a lovely Collector's Edition Boxed Set, Columbia/Tri-Star offers up Labyrinth with a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen transfer remastered in High Definition, a 5.1 Dolby sound mix, and features a host of extras both visual and tangible. There are some carry-overs from the first DVD release, including a behind-the-scenes featurette, theatrical trailers, and talent bios, as well new features like an immense stills gallery, story boards, and ephemera. The set is packaged in an embossed "book" style case, and comes with a Limited Edition Animation Cel, a full-color booklet, and six different conceptual character sketch cards by artist Brian Froud. This is really one of the nicest sets I've seen.
Labyrinth is truly family entertainment, but one needn't a family to enjoy watching. It's a timeless tale that anyone can relate to.