Labyrinth (1986)

Labyrinth is a movie where David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly fell in love, got married, and spawned hundreds of ugly Muppets in the process.

Actually it’s a dark fantasy meant for kids, kids at heart, those who have the ability to excuse some bad acting for a good story, and everyone who wishes to see David Bowie with 80’s rock star hair and in tights.

The plot is fairly simple. Jennifer Connelly plays Sarah, a teenager who owns far too many stuff toys and kiddie books for her age it would be fair to say she is fixated at being an eight-year old.

One night her parents went out for dinner leaving her to baby sit for her baby brother,Toby, whom she hates. The baby, as was his nature, cried because of something – maybe his diaper was wet or he spotted Michael Jackson peeking over his crib.  Whatever it was she went to silence him, furious because he won’t shut up no matter what she does (which in my opinion was not really trying hard enough). Fed up, and being the spoiled brat that she was, she started to wish for awful things.  After two or three tries, she wished for him to be taken by the Goblin King. Voila! The baby’s gone when she turned her back. Easy stuff.

From thereon, you’ll regularly see the Muppets, the ugliest and scariest version of them.

And David Bowie, of course.

Bowie played the Goblin King Jareth. He’s taken the baby in his castle in the center of a labyrinth – excuse me – the labyrinth. I’d watch the show again and again just to see the glorious sight of him, such a wonderful, beautiful creature. (Although in all fairness, I really hate the sight of any man in tights. Even Bowie. Their centerpieces, tightly molded into its characteristically strange shape, are almost too funny to ignore. Reminds me of an elephant’s trunk. Only funnier.)

Just take a deep breath and  look at that Man Bulge.

Right. So Sarah demanded the Goblin King return her brother when he and his goblin horde made an appearance in the baby’s room.

Which is outright stupid.

If you are to kidnap a child (which is already flimsy since they did it for the whims of a girl, making them not unlike Fairy Godmother) why would you appear to his nearest accessible kin to proclaim your evil deed? They made it too easy. The Goblin King even gave her a chance to take the baby back and she has thirteen hours to do the rescue. Ever heard of Rumperlstiltskin, anyone? Also a fool, that ugly elf. I mean if I’m kidnapping a child, hell, I wouldn’t give anyone a chance to take it away from me without getting something as valuable, which means I would make a really good kidnapper.

But perhaps the Goblin King did not really want another Muppet surrounding him (for that is what the baby would turn to be at the thirteenth hour). Unless he has some deep-rooted inferiority complex and he needed to be surrounded by less visually-appealing creatures to stand out. They made a pretty good job with that, too. I’ve seen only about four and a half humans the entire film, excluding the masquerade ball scene (I wouldn’t consider them humans because they are masked and not showing their faces. And not having a human face makes you non-human). The rest of the characters were really excellently animated creatures.

Seriously though, I really liked the movie. Not only because of Bowie, although I loove his being in it, but because of its entirety – the sets were a visual treat, so sincere; the characters very endearing you can’t help but not hate them; and the ugly puppet creatures so adorable, however contradicting that is, and the so brilliantly concealed elements of darkness/horror behind a light-hearted tone

Well, I think you’ll just have to see the movie to know if Sarah’s struggle inside the labyrinth, with all its puzzles, betrayals, and horrible puppets, will be successful and if she could rescue her baby brother (although them big bosses meant for this to be a film for kids, so you could probably guess the ending…)

It is a dark fantasy which did not scare me (I loved it even!) until I saw this siteThe following is an excerpt:

Jareth and Sarah find each other and begin waltzing together, with Jareth giving suggestive looks … to a 15-year-old girl. The scene symbolically portrays the forced Satanic union between the slave (who is said to be the princess of her world) and her handler. The lyrics of David Bowie’s song playing during the ball can be interpretative as a “love song” from a handler to a mind control slave.

“As the pain sweeps through
Makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone
Wasn’t too much fun at all
But I’ll be there for you
As the world falls down …

… It’s falling down”

The ball then quickly turns into a nightmare, where all of the masked guests start running after her (is she “bad-tripping”?). Sarah starts running, shatters a mirror and runs through it, another classic symbol of mind control.

Amazing how some people just can’t let you enjoy your fantasies, huh? 😉

(That, my friends, is the very reason why this would be my first and last review. I’ve got only 23% of objectivity in me. The rest are a mixture of sawdust and fungus actually.)

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10 thoughts on “Labyrinth (1986)

  1. I like your review far better than that strange one. People see the strangest things or maybe I’m too innocent. I love Labyrinth and David Bowie – agreement on the tights. It’s a true gem of the great fantasy films which we enjoyed in the 80’s!

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    1. I’m starting to get the feeling that being exposed to conspiracy theories and the like will never be healthy, or rather it will never contribute to anyone being happy. I try my best to get away from them as much as possible but they’re absolutely everywhere these days it’s hilarious! I’d rather be a half-wit and be fooled by the media.than live a paranoid life.

      I could never see enough of these dark fantasies, you know. 😉 If only movies now could have the simpler, older fairytale feel of the past decades. I blame 3D (or too much of it).

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      1. I do miss some of the old movies. I was hoping with the the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit being so popular we would get more movies like Willow, Legend and the like.
        I think it’s good to be informed cause the world is not a safe place, but I think some people tend to read evil into everything!

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    1. I honestly don’t know. I’ve never seen Pan’s. But I’ve seen the poster. Basing on looks alone, I’d say Bowie’s movie is better because at least I see a little human resemblance. Pan is as nonhuman-looking as it goes. And I’m a racist, so yes, this is better.

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      1. Haha I was probably 8. At first I was very scared and then I was very intrigued. And I’ve seen it wayyy too many times now.

        Haha you were one of the fortunate ones.

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