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The Jim Henson Collection
DVD disk
Nov 10, 2006 By: Scott Weinberg
The Jim Henson Collection order
Director:
Multiple directors

Actors:
Jennifer Connelly
David Bowie
Stephanie Leonidas

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A variety of young heroes go on a wide array of adventures, meeting up with dozens of crazy creatures while learning tons of valuable life lessons along the way.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Actually, yeah. All three of these ones are pretty damn good. Let's start out with the most recent:

MIRRORMASK is a collaboration between mad artist Dave McKean and mad writer Neil Gaiman -- and it's all sorts of eye-jazzingly neat-o. The standard "dark quest" semi-plot is in full effect, and if MIRRORMASK isn't excatly your average A to B to C adventure quest, well, it sure does offer a lot of eye candy that you've never seen before. Plus it has a strange sweetness and a playful darkness to it.

THE DARK CRYSTAL is a title that many of my generational brethren have a huge soft spot for, and while I think it's a quaint little adventure tale (that's especially impressive for being done entirely with puppets), it's not a flick I get all nostalgic for. Still, it's got all the standard points of a quality quest flick, plus the added bizarreness of being cast, y'know, entirely with puppets. Points to the Henson team for trying to broaden the scope of their creatures -- and there's little denying that this particular flick still seems to hold up pretty darn well.

Now, LABYRINTH on the other hand, this flick was a big influence on yours truly when I was just a young little movie freak. This is the film in which I first fell in love with Ms. Jennifer Connelly -- plus it's a long and colorful quest filled with crazy critters and creative set design. Toss in a tights-wearing David Bowie and a bunch of enjoyably terrible pop tunes, and you've got a movie that's half-good, half-bad, but the Gods of Nostalgia say this is a pretty fun time.

All in all, a fine trio of "older kid" adventure movies, with LABYRINTH the kiddiest, CRYSTAL a bit more mature, and MIRROR the one for the pre-teens. It's just a box set full of three previously-released platters, but if you don't already own the flicks, I say it's a solid investment.

THE EXTRAS
On MIRRORMASK you'll get a very solid audio commentary with McKean & Gaiman and a really thorough 52-minute Making of MIRRORMASK piece that's broken up into the following chapters: Neil Talks, Dave Talks About Film, Beginnings, Cast & Crew, Day 16, Flight of the Monkeybirds, Giants Development, Questions & Answers. Solid stuff here. Rounding out the disc are some poster & cover art and some previews.

On THE DARK CRYSTAL you'll get a great old "making of" piece that runs just under an hour. This isn't a new-fangled piece of fluff, but an early-80's "nuts & bolts" featurette that offers a lot of behind-the-scenes goodies. Also included are some deleted "funeral" scenes, a few old-school workprint scenes, several pieces of character artwork, and a few theatrical trailers.

On LABYRINTH the goodies are ... kinda slim. There's a pretty solid 58-minute behind-the-scenes documentary just like the one for CRYSTAL: Old-school promotional stuff that actually shows you the interesting backstage stuff. There's also a theatrical trailer, and that's pretty much it.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
And you thought Muppets were just frogs and pigs and whatever the hell Gonzo is.
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