Review of 'Labyrinth'

labyrinth.jpg With the recent death of David Bowie I decided to have a look once again at this classic film.

Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a teenage girl left by her parents to take care of her infant brother, Toby. When Toby refuses to stop crying she makes a wish that the Goblin King (David Bowie) would come and take Toby away. Much to her surprise, Jareth, the Goblin King, does take Toby with Sarah having to navigate through a Labyrinth leading to the Goblin King's castle before the king is able to keep Toby forever. The Labyrinth has surprises of it's own with characters determined to delay or stop Sarah from reaching the castle. Sarah ends up befriending the reluctant and bitter dwarf Hoggle (Shari Weiser) then later Ludo (Ron Mueck/Rob Mills), a giant furry, but friendly, beast to help her in her quest.

A great, fun, fantasy romp from the master of the Muppets, Jim Henson. The many outlandish characters in Labyrinth are unusual, warm, funny and believable. The sets are incredibly detailed and interesting to look at. Sure, it now looks a bit dated and clunky, but it still shows a great deal of imagination in the design. It seems to me that a lot of love went into the making of this movie.

At times the film feels like a Bowie music video. One scene in particular that stands out is where Jareth sings “Magic Dance” to Toby in the castle. Not only does it look like an MTV spot it is also a scene that, were it to be filmed today, would cause modern day child protection groups a great deal of anguish…

Both Bowie and Connelly play their roles very straight here while all around them is mayhem. Their performances are adequate but it is really the scenery and characters around them that steal the show. The story, while it is second fiddle here, touches on responsibility and growing up, but it is a very light touch.

A lot of fun.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-01-16

Directed by: Henson Jim

Studio: Henson Associates (HA)

Year: 1986

Length: 101 minutes

Genre: Fantasy