Labyrinth (1986)

DailyView: Day 137, Movie 211

I have always been a huge fan of Jim Henson and the Muppets. The Muppets take me back to my childhood, watching the Muppet Show. It was wonderful and I love all of the Muppet movies. However, the Jim Henson movies that do not include the actual Muppets, such as the Dark Crystal, have never been my favorites. Labyrinth was one of those. I had never seen it. It did not have my favorite characters.

I remember I had almost gone to a special Fandom screening of Labyrinth once, but I chose to head home instead. It just did not appeal to me.

This morning I pulled up Labyrinth on Netflix for the DailyView. It started out with me thinking that I was correct in skipping this for so long. When Sara (Jennifer Connolly) showed up, she was such a brat that I wasn’t sure if I would want to watch her for a whole hour and a half. She was cruel to her step-mother and treated her baby brother Toby as if he was just an imposition. She went as far as to wish that the Goblin King would come and take Toby away.

Of course, you need to be careful what you wish for, because David Bowie showed up and told her that he would have Toby and he would become one of them. Sara regretted her selfishness and wanted the baby back, but Bowie said no. The only way she would be able to retrieve Toby was to come to the Goblin Castle at the center of the Labyrinth by midnight.

BY this point, I was not sure what I had gotten myself into. It was feeling like a chore to watch the film and I was not excited about continuing. However, Labyrinth began to grow on me as it continued and, it got to the point where I was seeing why this had become such a cult classic.

Sara began showing more positive character traits, traits that allowed me to root for her in her quest to reclaim her brother. She seemingly cast aside those annoying traits that made me immediately dislike her in the beginning and she became a much more interesting heroine.

David Bowie, who played Jareth the Goblin King, performed some songs and, though they may not be among his biggest hits, they were all engaging and entertaining, The Magic Dance my personal favorite. I did not know Labyrinth was a musical, but it made sense and fit every time a song was used.

The absolute strength of the movie is in the puppetry created by Jim Henson and his crew of puppeteers. The characters found in the Labyrinth are so magical, so artistically beautiful that it totally envelops you into the world of the Labyrinth and every level displayed the artistry and imagination of Jim Henson. I never once wished for a CGI creature as these masterfully designed and realized puppets filled whatever need I had for fantasy.

Of ocurse, all of the classic Muppet performers were here, including Frank Oz, Steve Whitmire, Brian Henson, Dave Goelz, Kevin Clash among others.

Labyrinth has a tone much like The Wizard of Oz, with Sara leading her crew of outcasts through the magical labyrinth in an attempt to face off with the man behind the curtain, in this case, the Goblin King. There is even a little dog, too.

This movie won me over as the fantasy grew. It is a master class in set design, puppetry and creating a world that feels real and has its own real texture. Jennifer Connolly, whose first few scenes nearly turned me off completely, came back strong and had me rooting for her to succeed. David Bowie is a wonderful antagonist and is still quite mysterious when dealing with the young girl. Labyrinth is a perfect example of creativity meeting imagination. This was sadly the final film before the untimely passing of Jim Henson and it truly deserves its cult classic designation.

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