Beyond the goblin city – Labyrinth


Jim Henson’s classic film, following the popular Dark Crystal, brings his amazing puppetry team together with human co-stars to create something really special. So let me paint you a picture, there’s Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), a 15-year-old girl on the cusp of adulthood. She’s fed up with the responsibilities of babysitting that her father and step-mother (mainly her step-mother) place on her and has a bit of teenage attitude which, having never really gone through the phase myself, really annoys me, yet still retains her childish fantasies. So after being put upon once again and being stuck with her crying baby brother, she accidentally wishes for him to be taken away by goblins and the goblins are only too happy to oblige. Realising her mistake, she tries to negotiate with Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie) and he gives her 13 hours to navigate through his Labyrinth and make it to his castle to save her brother, Toby. Along the way, Sarah picks up a few friends in the forms of a dwarf named Hoggle (there’s a running joke that no one can get his name right), a hairy thing named Ludo and a fox and his steed (a dog) named Sir Didymus and Ambrosia.
The puppetry is fantastic and the special effects aren’t horrendous considering the magic we’re used to nowadays. Jennifer Connelly wasn’t, I would say, at the peak of her acting skills in 1986 and I find her character to be annoying, running around and complaining that things are ‘unfair’ (though I do like her blouse and waistcoat), however there is a moment when Jareth says ‘You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?’ which shuts her right up. It’s really all about growing up and becoming an adult and it’s full of hidden meanings – watch the part with the junk people closely and you may spot a hidden truth, something about the baggage of life perhaps?
I have to admit that Jareth is probably my favourite (then Didymus because he’s hilarious) because he’s a bit dishy (it’s actually his eyes that do it for me) and he can do tricks with crystals. To be honest I never had any interest in David Bowie as a musician or otherwise until I watched this film, I’d only ever listened to Life on Mars, and now I like him. I downloaded the four songs from the film on Play.com after watching it the first time and since then I’ve got a few more from his albums like Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes. The only problem with Bowie in the film is his trousers. Well, I say trousers, they are, at best, leggings, very tight leggings. It leaves nothing to the imagination and once you notice it becomes very distracting, like when someone had a mole and you can’t stop looking.

Okay, scoring time now. It’s going to have to get a 9/10 because there’s a weird bit with some creepy furry things called Fierys who sing a song that I think I have just understood the meaning to (and it might not be wholesome) and dismember themselves and it creeps me out (usually I skip it but in the interest of a review I had to soldier on through). It’s definitely worth the watch, unless you’re afraid of puppets that it.

~ by Jess Wiles on April 29, 2011.

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