Labyrinth

Synopsis: Where Everything Seems Possible and Nothing Is What It Seems.

Journey into the fantastical world of Labyrinth, starring David Bowie and a cast of incredible creatures created by Jim Henson. Frustrated with baby-sitting on yet another weekend night, Sara – a teenager with an active imagination – summons the Goblins from her favorite book, “Labyrinth,” to take her baby step-brother away. When little Toby actually disappears, Sarah must follow him into the world of the fairy tale to rescue him from the wicked Goblin King (Bowie)! Guarding his castle is The Labyrinth itself – a twisted maze of deception, populated with outrageous characters and unknown dangers. To get through it in time to save Toby, Sarah will have to outwit the King by befriending the very Goblins who protect him, in hopes that their loyalty isn’t just another illusion in a place where nothing is as easy as it seems!
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Labyrinth 7.5

I’ve long had a small aversion to ‘Labyrinth’. Admittedly, the first real problem is that I only saw it for the first time 10-12 years ago; if only I had seen it as a kid, a lot of fond childhood memories would overcome the things that simply don’t jive as an adult. (Having said that, I also first saw ‘The Princess Bride’ at about the same time, and it has become one of my all-time favourites, so… I’m not convinced it’s just an age thing winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking)

Going into this particular viewing, I was a tad wary, half-expecting to twitch in agony to the musical’s time-stopping David Bowie tunes – stillborn circa 1986, in the desolation of Bowie’s music career (before its resuscitation in the early-’90s). mad0071 Free Emoticons   Anger Before anyone tosses me for disrespecting Bowie, I need to point out that I am a bigger Bowie fan than most people I’ve met, and am an avid collector of his music and film works. However, his mid-’80s output truly makes me cringe. sad0133 Free Sad Emoticons

And, as expected, the tunes hurt; they pain me like very little else does. sick0002 Free Sick Emoticons This would be enough to put me off of music, if I didn’t know any better: the songs are so lifeless, flavourless and soul-sucking. mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger

Here’s an example of what he subjects us to in ‘Labyrinth’:

You remind me of the baby
What baby? the baby with the power
What power? power of voodoo
Who do? you do
Do what? remind me of the baby

I saw my baby, crying hard as babe could cry
What could I do?
My baby’s love had gone
And left my baby blue
Nobody knew:

CHORUS
What kind of magic spell to use?
Slime and snails
Or puppy dogs’ tails
Thunder or lightning
Then baby said
Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)
Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)
Put that baby spell on me
Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)
Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)
Put that magic jump on me
Slap that baby, make him free

I saw my baby, trying hard as babe could try
What could I do?
My baby’s fun had gone
And left my baby blue
Nobody knew

CHORUS

Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance) (x4)
Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump) (x2)

Put that baby spell on me (ooh)

Take the above and then just repeat incessantly!!! mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger

It’s as though making Bowie the Goblin King (gobble, gobble…) was an idea everyone agreed on, but then they all half-heartedly thought: “Well, why not have him pen the tunes too?”, for lack of any better ideas. mad0071 Free Emoticons   Anger Even Bowie seems completely unconvinced in each musical number, performing seemingly out of contractual commitment moreso than in the spirit of the moment. rolleye0015 Free Emoticons   Rolling Eyes

To watch him dance limply in his nightmarish costume, the one with the loose grey leggings that show off more of his goblinhood than I ever cared to imagine (let alone see!), makes me want to claw my eyes out with a blunt instrument. sad0133 Free Sad Emoticons I just sat there aghast at the sight of his Peter Johnson, wondering if he even bothered to put underwear on before going on set. tongue0024 Free Emoticons   Sticking Out Tongue I also wondered if maybe he was silently mortified, debating whether or not he should sack his costume designer before he traumatized millions of children forever. happy0018 Free Emoticons   Happy

Well, despite this, I actually enjoyed watching ‘Labyrinth’ this time – more so than ever before, to be frank. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

I think that what makes the movie as enjoyable as it is, is the fact that Terry Jones’ inventive and whimsical script is, above and beyond, a lot of fun. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy I would venture to say that this is essentially Jones’ alternate version of ‘Alice In Wonderland’, being similar on many levels with Lewis Carroll’s tale. With everything that he’s throw into the mix, I think that there is quite a bit to sink your teeth into for everyone – even adults. In fact, I can easily imagine watching this with kids and having a hoot along with them. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy

Almost everything about ‘Labyrinth’ is infused with a very special creative spark: the story, the characters, the sets, the puppetry, …etc. Just not Bowie’s songs winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking. A lot of imagination and playfulness went into this and it flows through the piece much of the time. Just looking at the splendid set and character designs should be enough to convince just about anyone of how much fun the filmmakers must have had making it. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

One can’t tell if the cast had as much fun, because most of the work is done behind creature costumes and puppets. But the puppetry is rather good here – even better than in ‘The Dark Crystal’ (perhaps because it’s not as ambitious). The actors are also pretty good: Bowie, for all my complaints about his music, steals all his scenes with ease – he makes the Goblin King completely three-dimensional, and makes of him a truly memorable villain. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy

My only real gripe is with Jennifer Connelly (playing our protagonist, Sarah), who, on top of sporting a sprouting unibrow, starts off with a particularly unrealistic performance. I suspect that this due to her character’s play-acting, as she must have been incapable of separating the two voices. However, she then manages a neophyte but watchable turn for the remainder of the film. There are also some minor editing issues that I caught along the way (which may be due to Henson’s direction, but everything else is so well done that it’s difficult to say).

Dance magic, dance (dance magic, dance)
Jump magic, jump (jump magic, jump)

But… ahem… that’s about it. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

Surprisingly, I ended up relishing most of Sarah’s journey to and through the ‘Labyrinth’; it was a quirky, witty and truly fantastical trip that I’m now looking forward to revisiting more than ever before. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy Oh, sure, I’ll no doubt take pee breaks, or put fingers in my ears and scream “la la la la la!!!” ceaselessly, during the musical numbers, but otherwise I’m pleased to say that I’m starting to understand fan appreciation for what is considered one of Jim Henson’s finest moments. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

‘Labyrinth’ has finally put that baby spell on me!

(oh, for the love of… please make it stop… sad0133 Free Sad Emoticons)

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