Directed by Jim Henson. US. 1986. Ages 10+. 101 minutes. Sony. Digital.
Sponsored by Roots by Niki
Sat., November 14, 2015
“Jennifer Connelly stars as a self-absorbed teenager immersed in her own Renaissance Faire-esque fantasy world, until goblins accept her angry invitation to come kidnap her wailing toddler brother. As she tries to get him back, the Goblin King—David Bowie, strutting around in criminally tight pants and a fright wig, apparently having the time of his life—tempts and taunts her. While Labyrinth is another Brian Froud-designed puppet proving ground [like The Dark Crystal], full of charmingly weird critters and colorful, child-friendly adventures, it’s also a surprisingly frank exploration of the war between Connelly’s sexuality and her innocent childhood daydreams. While the off-kilter rock songs Bowie wrote and performed for the film are far from his best work, his character performance is gloriously iconic, a perfect blend of predatory, leering rock star and hurt, rejected emo lover.
Still, the best part about Henson’s films is the craft that went into them—25 years later, the fledgling video effects look awful, but the puppetry is still impeccably convincing, and the worlds retain their homemade, handcrafted, meticulously realized charm. Either from a technical perspective or from a storytelling angle, Henson had an unequalled talent for crafting worlds too perfectly realized to be disbelieved.” (Tasha Robinson, The A.V. Club)