My Favorite Movies #82 – Labyrinth

Labyrinth - PosterLabyrinth

1986

Directed by Jim Henson

Netflix says… In this Jim Henson-directed fantasy, teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) embarks on a life-altering quest when she attempts to rescue her little brother, Toby (Toby Froud), from the clutches of treacherous Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie), who lives in a castle surrounded by a giant labyrinth. With just 13 hours to plot a course through the dangerous maze, Sarah must grow up fast, learn her responsibilities and muster supreme courage.

  • While, yes, I do love this movie, I kind of have a mixed emotional memory of it.
  • Stay with me…
  • In some ways, the visuals are incredibly child-friendly and humorous.
  • But, in other ways, this movie could be terrifying for a kid.
  • I mean, not as scary as The Dark Crystal. But it has its moments.
  • Still… I think it’s kind of brilliant.
  • I think the mistake that a lot of parents make is in not showing this movie to their kids and instilling a healthy fear that if they misbehave too much, the Goblin King will come and take them away.
  • As talented as the late David Bowie was, who wants to be abducted by a guy in leggings with a microphone scepter?
  • Did you know that Bowie’s role could have been given to Sting, Prince, Mick Jagger, or Michael Jackson?
  • But can you picture anyone other than David Bowie in that part?
  • I can’t be the only kid who had a crush on Jennifer Connelly, right?
  • That said, Sarah starts this thing out as a real brat.
  • I like how her dad says, “I’ll talk to her” when she storms off, but then he really doesn’t put much effort into it.
  • Knock knock… “I want to talk to you…”
  • “There’s nothing to talk about!” *shrug* *walks away*
  • Throughout the movie, I can’t tell if Sarah is overly optimistic or just kind of stupid.
  • She says things like, “It doesn’t look that hard…” and “It’s a piece of cake…” Things that only invite the seemingly all-powerful David Bowie to make the Labyrinth more challenging.
  • Sarah also says things aren’t fair a lot. Life’s not fair. Deal with it.
  • During the “Magic Dance” segment when the Goblin King is laughing and none of the goblins are laughing with him, he stops, looks at them, and says, “Well?” Then they all start laughing.
  • Sometimes, I feel like that when I say something that’s hilarious. I mean, I laugh. Why doesn’t anyone else laugh?
  • The most terrifying part for the kid version of me is definitely the part with the creatures that can remove parts of their bodies at will. It’s creepy.
  • Also, their song is annoying. And catchy…
  • It’s like the writers sat around and said, “All right. About halfway through the picture we’ve got room for another musical number. But we’ve heard enough from Bowie. Let’s do an all puppet thing. Any ideas?” After a few minutes of silence, one of the other writers suggests doing acid before going forward. And that’s how they came up with that whole segment.
  • In the Bog of Eternal Stench, Sir Didymus is apparently nose blind to the foul odor that everyone else smells.
  • The Escher inspired set at the end is pretty trippy.

Overall, Labyrinth has a bit of a Wizard of Oz quality to it. A girl is lost in a strange world and she relies on the help of a handful of rag tag friends to complete her quest before she can return home… Maybe that’s why I like it so much, since The Wizard of Oz is a movie that ranks pretty high on my top 100 list and the book is my favorite book of all time.

Come back next week for a classic that’s also on the AFI list, 12 Angry Men.

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