I have to say, I hold a special spot in my heart for today’s movie magic pick.
My mother first introduced me to the sheer brilliance of the movie Labyrinth when I was about four years old. I can’t tell you why I loved it at first sight, but I did. Maybe it was the music (it is pretty catchy) or maybe it was the overall experience.
Labyrinth is one of those movies that has the ability to suck you in and immerse you in the world it creates. Granted, having been filmed in 1986, it’s victim to ancient effects and puppetry, but in the brilliant hands of Jim Henson and George Lucas, it still manages to work!
The Goblins are an ugly bunch, but they’re full of tons of personality. Hoggle, though a supporting character, manages to have an impressive and thorough character arc. And Ludo, who is really nothing more than a giant, hairy beast who grunts, still manages to exude a kind of compassion through perfectly puppeteered eyes.
Many of you will recognize the heroine, Sarah, played by a very young Jennifer Connelly. She isn’t quite up to par (if you’re thinking A Beautiful Mind and such) but she plays a belligerent and whiny teenager convincingly. It isn’t however until she petitions the Goblin King to steal her crying baby brother Toby, that the story REALLY gets going. Because let’s be honest, David Bowie makes Labyrinth what it is. He’s brilliant in the role.
As a child I enjoyed the glass balls he manages to make float and turn into bubbles. As an adult, I appreciate the subtle sensual nuances of his relationship with Sarah. In fact, I believe it’s their chemistry that makes the movie work on so many levels. For instance, his tenderness and patience with Sarah seems nurturing, though he desires (and expects) her to fail. At the same time, he’s the man who can make all of her dreams come true, at a very heavy price. Something about that mixture of authority, mystery, conniving, and sensuality make their relationship thrilling to watch, although the only romantic implication is made when they dance at the Goblin Ball.
Overall, this movie is exactly what a good fantasy should be. It takes you to a world so far from our own, yet full of all the things we recognize: friendship, love, dreams, heartbreak, difficult choices and personal discovery. It has a great soundtrack – not just the songs sung in the movie, but the instrumentals as well!
I give it an: A+
(I even want to pop it into the DVD player right now, after talking about it).