Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the movies I own. This is another situation where I feel I have to remind you that I write these several months in advance. For it was back in January of this year that we heard of the tragic death of David Bowie, and that's what inspired me to pick up Labyrinth. This is in my notes at January 31, 2016.
For a while now, I've seen Labyrinth in the discount bins and pondered picking it up, but with the recent death of David Bowie once again shining a spotlight on the film, I decided that this time, I should pick it up. I do remember watching it quite a few times when I was a kid...it seemed to be one of those VHS mainstays of sleepovers and birthday parties for a stretch. Probably first saw it while hanging it out with my friend Rob Burton...he was the big fantasy guy in our gang, and the latest fantasy movie was always on VHS over at his place.
And the director is Jim Henson. The man who gave us the Muppets. Despite his many accolades he has for being such a creative person and influencing so many great films and TV shows, I'm surprised that there are so few films that boast him as the director. You look at his filmography, and there's only three films he directed: The Great Muppet Caper, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. If I read the Wikipedia entry correctly, when Labyrinth flopped at the box office, it soured Henson on directing, but I always wonder what Henson would have given the world had he lived passed 1990. Surely he would have gotten back in the saddle. That being said, the failure of The Dark Crystal at the box office meant it was tough going to find backing for Labyrinth. It was only when his good friend George Lucas signed on as a producer that the film finally got going. Indeed, the finished product is listed as a co-production between Jim Henson Productions and Lucasfilm.
And Jennifer Connelly is in it! She's our heroine, Sara. Man, was Jennifer Connelly always ridiculously hot? I mean, go google her. Even today, at 45, she's still ridiculously hot. I'm developing this theory than you can tell a person's age by which Jennifer Connelly movie sparked their sexual awakening. For me, it was The Rocketeer.
So Connelly is Sara. Even though she's a teenager, she still shows no interest in boys or socializing, instead preferring to still dress up as a princess and play pretend. It's her parents' date night, and she's pretty pissed at being stuck at home babysitting her baby brother Toby. Remembering something from one of her fairy tales, Sara wishes for Jareth the Goblin King to come and take her baby brother away. Surprise! Turns out Jareth and the goblins are real, and they do just that. Instantly regretful of what she has done, Jareth issues a challenge: if she can make it through his labyrinth in 13 hours, Toby will be returned to her and they can go home. If not, Toby will be turned into a goblin and Sara will be trapped in the labyrinth forever.
And thus, Sara embarks on her odyssey. She's eventually joined by the dwarf Hoggle, the beast with mastery of rocks Ludo, and the fox knight Sir Didimus. Hoggle has to have one of the more memorable entrances in kids film history...he's taking a whiz in a pond, and then goes to work exterminating fairies. That got a big laugh from me when I was a kid.
And of course, being older and wiser now and more versed in the music of David Bowie, can't help but appreciate his contributions. His music is wonderful. And gotta love that Trevor Jones score...a classic 1980s synthesizer score.
Labyrinth is still as much as I remember it as I was a kid. It was great coming back to it after all these years.