Labyrinth (movie review)
Labyrinth is a 1986 live action children’s fantasy movie that’s sort of a musical, too, but mostly features awkward shots of David Bowie’s package poorly concealed by tights.
It seems to me that the combined efforts of Jim Henson, George Lucas, Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie should yield a much better product, and the movie isn’t terrible, but it could be a lot better. Wikipedia explains that “At least twenty-five treatments and scripts were drafted for Labyrinth between 1983-85, and the film’s shooting script was only ready shortly before filming began.” That’s what it feels like: important folks like Henson, Lucas and Bowie poured a bunch of ideas on the floor and made someone assemble as best they could in short amount of time.
And really, the movie’s not that bad. There’s tons of memorable characters, ideas and images.
Let’s talk about the images, first. From an image
Sometimes, it’s a kid’s movie:
Sometimes, it just trips balls:
Other times, it seems like someone would just throw ideas out there, like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a scene that looked like that painting Relativity by M. C. Escher?” So that got lumped in there… although I do really like this scene and its accompanying song. It’s really the only song from the flick that I like.
There’s lots of cool ideas in this flick – I particularly like that the entire movie is about a teenager realizing her problems are petty and her treasured possessions are just a collection of junk when compared with her love for her little brother.
And then, there’s scenes like this, which, as far as I can tell, aren’t about anything at all. Somebody (cough, George Lucas, couch!) just thought it would look cool.
The movie is really about the characters – we can relate to the protagonist’s coming of age journey, Hoggle realizes he’s not just a coward, Sir Didymus and Ambrosius are just awesome and Ludo, who reminds us not to judge a book by its cover. (I particularly like Ludo’s relationship with rocks… that’s awesome. Just wanted to point that out.)
Labyrinth isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it certainly has a cult status with people in and around my age group. If you want to see a mix of practical special effects with some first generation blue screen mixed in along with David Bowie’s junk, a super young Jennifer Connelly and a whole bunch of other crazy crap, you’ll probably like Labyrinth. It’s never boring, but it’s not the greatest of film making achievements. I give it a 7 out of 10.