When you mix a screenplay written by ex-Python Terry Jones, a plethora of characters by visionary Jim Henson, the music and screen presence of David Bowie, and the production values of George Lucas, you expect nothing short of brilliance, and Labyrinth is a movie that delivers. While Labyrinth is a children's movie at its heart, any adult with an ounce of imagination can appreciate it.
The movie starts with Sarah (a very young Jennifer Connelly) baby-sitting her little stepbrother. Not particularly enamoured with this task, she recites verses from a book 'the labyrinth' summoning the goblins to come and take her brother away. When little Toby actually does disappear, Sarah is invited to try and win him back by the Goblin king Jareth (David Bowie), by finding her way to the center of his twisted Labyrinth in less than 13 hours. And so begins her journey.
They just dont make fantasy kids movies like this any more. Think Dark Crystal meets The Neverending Story meets Mirrormask and you might have some idea of the feeling of the film, but for me, as a child of the 80s, Labyrinth was the king of the genre.
For starters the characters are rich and unique. A Fox with a Napoleon complex who rides an Old English Sheepdog. A 1o foot tall horned behemoth who is friends with rocks. A scarf-wearing worm. Firey creatures who love to sing and swap limbs. All animated exquisitely with Henson's unique puppetry style.
The music is also great, with all songs for the movie written by David Bowie. Highlights include the goblin king's "magic dance" and the Firey's song "chilly down". These songs will be stuck in your head for days after watching the film.
The film's final act is incredible. Set in a palace of impossible stairways and doors (see Escher's work "Relativity"), the effects still look impressive today and is a very satisfying end to the journey.
Other than its undeniable 80s campness, if I had to pick one single flaw with the film, it would be the sequence between the 2nd and 3rd acts in which Sarah eats an cursed apple and falls into a deep sleep. The dream sequence, while relevant and necessary to develop the relationship between Sarah and her tormentor / admirer Jareth, spoilt the pacing of the movie and felt a little out of place. A minor point though.
All in all, Labyrinth is a fantastical, magical film that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Highly recommended.(read on) (show less)