Sunday, July 02, 2006
Labyrinth rocks. It rocks in an 80’s kind of dated-music and interesting-hairstyles kind of way, but it still rocks. My fondness for David Bowie in big hair and stylish eye make-up could have something to do with it. Oh, and there are puppets, lots of puppets. It sounds like a good time to me.
Sarah is a girl/child with her head in the clouds and her dreams in the world of fantasy. She suffers from a self-centered nature (as all teens, and many adults do) and whines when she is forced to baby-sit her little brother. His crying irritates her and she wishes out loud that the Goblin king would take him away. She doesn't really mean it but didn't understand the levity of her words and the power she had over her imagination. She thinks the world of the goblins only exits in her books and her imagination. Then Jareth, the Goblin king shows up and informs her that he’s taken her baby brother just as she requested. Sarah realizes she screwed up, so Jareth gives her 13 hours to get through he labyrinth and to the castle to rescue her brother. If she doesn’t make it, he will turn into a goblin forever. Through her journey to the Goblin city she meets amazing characters like the gentle but gigantic Bludo, the cowardly Hoggle and Sir Didymus (who rides a sheepdog…trust me, it’s funny). The journey throughout the Labyrinth takes Sarah and her friends through the Bog of Eternal Stench, the Goblin City, and the forest where the Fireys dance. They make it to Jareth’s castle where he and Sarah face off in his strange castle that looks like an MC Escher etching (there is one on her bedroom wall). Sarah bests Jareth and returns back home with her still-human brother. A happy ending for all.
The two things that struck me about the movie, even years later, was the music and the organic nature of the characters. Brian Froud, a well-known fantasy artists, designed most of the characters (his son also played Sarah’s brother - Toby) and worked with Jim Henson’s creature shop to bring them to life. Bludo was massive and had such an evocative face. The most amazing character was Hoggle, whose face revealed his confusion, cowardice, happiness and love. David Bowie seemed like an unusual choice for the musical Goblin King, but his music worked really and gave the movie a sense of levity. The song “Magic Dance” still makes me bop in my seat. So the marriage of puppets, Bowie and a very young Jennifer Connlley works well….and on that note I think I will pop it back in the player and watch it again!