I never grew up with Labyrinth. It was not for any particular reason. It just wasn’t popular in my area so it wasn’t brought up. I have had it on my Netflix queue for a while and last weekend decided: Might as well. Oh dear sweet Henson, what did I get myself into?
First off, this is not a comprehensive review, just a few thoughts that I had on it.
It is a very 80’s film. The music, the style, the mixture of childhood and adulthood that make it ever so slightly uncomfortable to watch AT ANY AGE… In other words, it is the perfect atmosphere of a fairy tale. The tone is a lovely fairy tale. Children entering adulthood, not understanding everything necessarily, but good always wins in the end.
I am still in shock that it is Jennifer Connelly. No, her acting wasn’t great in this film, but it felt like she improved as the film went on. David Bowie was a fantastic Goblin King, evil, but with just enough appeal to make you not want to beat him up with a tank. Charisma, my friends. That Goblin King has charisma. Devious little brat, isn’t he?
Of course, being a Jim Henson film, the puppetry is amazing. Yes, some of the 3-D effects could use some help, but dang it! It was the first of its kind! Give it some slack. But seriously, fantastic puppetry. It makes me happy.
I will not go into length on David Bowie’s legendary costuming in this film. My two comments are: 1. It is about equal to what I see in a ballet. 2. Why dear Henson, why? Who thought, “You know what’s villainous? TIGHTS!”
I like the interpretation of this film being about the differences between healthy and unhealthy fantasy. Jareth is unhealthy and makes one selfish. Sarah’s friends, however, make her a better person. Seriously, it’s Henson. Do you really think he is going to promote throwing away fantasy after a certain age? No, fantasy reminds us of the “dangers untold” and the virtues we are to supposed to be and the vices we are to shun.
Outside of the movie, you have to give a massive amount of credit to the fans. Seriously, the fandom is still going strong nigh on thirty years later. As in, it is among the more popular films to write fanfiction for, going strong. I say to these fans, bravo.
Also, David Bowie has to be an android. Seriously, the man hasn’t aged a day! (He actually still has kids come up to him asking if he is the Goblin King.)
Overall, it was an enjoyable 80’s film and I understand the appeal. It is very much a fairy tale and I would recommend it to anyone over the age of seven.
Until Our Next Meeting,
The Lost Writer of Rohan
P. S. My knee jerk reaction to seeing David Bowie was “Tesla/underwear-judge-from-Zoolander/guy-who-sang–“Life on Mars” what are you doing here?” Alas, my parents did not raise me to know who David Bowie was. I feel great shame in this.