Movie Review: Labyrinth

Labyrinth (1986)  Directed by Jim Henson Shown: David Bowie

Director: Jim Henson

Writers: Dennis LeeJim HensonTerry Jones

Stars: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly

Verdict: Watch it with beer/children, although not both preferably 

So do you want one of the most surreal family films since Dougal and the Blue Cat, with actual subversive, adult, themes about sexual awakening, learning to take the responsibilities of life, and appreciating those close to you, inspired by works like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland? Well clearly producer George Lucas of Star WarsAmerican Graffiti, and Howard The Duck fame is the man for you, then again this was when he gave a shit so. 

To be honest we shouldn’t be surprised at the unabashed weirdness of this cult classic. Given the involvement of writer/director late, great, puppeteer legend Jim Henson, (The Dark CrystalThe Muppets), ex-python and co-writer Terry Jones, and, well, David Bowie. This weird quality shouldn’t be seen as a flaw, more one of it’s most endearing qualities, the fact is nothing is quite like Labyrinth, children will marvel at the immaculately realised Goblins and fantasy world, parents will get the, not quite subtle enough to be safe sexual themes, and be enchanted as they’re whisked away to this absolute bonkers world that’s so mad it makes a room based off an Escher painting seem normal and just something that would exist in this world. 

I could talk about the performances, Jennifer Connolly, (A Beautiful MindRequiem for a DreamBlood Diamond) is stilted but young and will become a much heavier hitting and much more talented actress in her time and there are hints of her future stardom here but it’s buried under a collection of wooden furniture sitting on top of her performance. David Bowie, is, well, David Bowie do with that what you will! However in Labyrinth the real joy are the fabulous puppets and animators that, with the wonderful production design, constitute the fabulous world of the goblins, it’s really good fun.

Yes it’s flawed, I mean it’s camp as anything but it’s self aware in a way that makes it go with a real swing, but it’s really good family fun, and if you have no kids watch it late on Netflix with some beer and friends like I did, it’s really great for that too. 

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