Release Date: 28th November 1986
Date of First Viewing: 12th May 2017
The work of Jim Henson throughout his career cannot in any way be understated. The way in which he revolutionized the way in which puppets are portrayed and perceived in modern cinema will undoubtedly remain pertinent for many years to come. Movies such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Muppet Movie changed perceptions on how characters could act on screen, incorporating endless amounts time and effort into creating these creatures instantly recognizable and ultimately unforgettable.
Labyrinth was one of those films I had heard so many positive things about over the years but had never been one I’d personally wanted to watch. What a foolish sentiment that was! Although the opening 15 minutes makes completely no sense at all, David Bowie’s Goblin King is an eerie combination of sexual deviant and mad uncle without straying too far into either camp. A combination I believe holds Labyrinth together by everything it has.
Certain films rely heavily on the nostalgia of those that had watched it on release. Films such as Gremlins and ET do not necessarily translate across to someone watching for the first time at the age of 26. Sure the technical ability is enjoyable but the stories are shoddy at best. Labyrinth tows this line moderately, but not too heavily.
Obviously the demographic on release was not a 26-year-old man tired from working nights, it’s target was that of those under the age of 17, struggling to find their way in the world while coming to terms with the Goblins and other strange creatures lurking in the recess of their mind. However in lies Labyrinth’s most enviable charm. Much like Peter Pan, it can transport those of an older generation to a time where they would wish away the troubles of their life to a far away world where none of needs to be seen again. It is this inherent desire to relive the follies of our youth that drive us to make such fanciful requests, one in which we do not entirely understand if truth be told.
So Labyrinth as whole postulates and it gyrates, it makes looking at David Bowie feel both necessary and salacious without ever feeling sordid. It gives Jennifer Connelly the chance to test the waters of her acting range before really committing to any real performance. And finally, it gives the irreplaceable Jin Henson the opportunity to tell you story with characters we as viewers could only dream of imagining.