Movie Report: Labyrinth (1986)

Book coverOn Friday, I took both my children to the bowling alley. We took the back-up truck, which I generally treat as a pickup most of the time, with both of the seats folded down. So to transport the two boys, one of them unfolds the back seat, which leaves one up and one down. As we reached the end of the driveway, I told the oldest son that I was going to play the Labyrinth game with the bowling ball in the back, trying to take turns and accelerate so that the ball rolled up over the other seat, still folded down, and into his lap.

So when it came time for a movie in the evening, of course I picked this film out.

A couple years ago, probably when the Dark Crystal sequel same out, I realized that I had missed a lot of the puppet fantasy movies from the early 1980s: this movie and Dark Crystal especially, so I ordered DVDs of those two and Legend with Tom Cruise. I had seen the latter a couple of times because it was on Showtime in the day, but I did not have a hard copy.

This film is PG, which from the 80s means kind of a scary G. It’s basically a David Bowie musical with a young Jennifer Connelly as a teenager stuck watching her younger brother when she’d rather be–I dunno, living in her fantasy world of princesses and goblins. When the baby won’t stop crying, she recites a curse from one of her favorite fantasy books, Labyrinth, the goblins appear and do take the baby away. The Goblin King, played by David Bowie, appears and offers to trade the girl all her dreams for the boy. She resists, so he offers her the chance to find and take the boy from the castle beyond the goblin city past the Labyrinth. So she does and goes through a series of set pieces with Jim Henson Muppets puppets. I call it a David Bowie musical because he has a number of songs that he performs in toto in the film. And, to my delight, he revisits a bit from the Cary Grant film The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer in the song “Magic Dance”:

I also used to do that bit with my much younger boys.

At any rate, it’s the kind of thing that I would worry might give my children nightmares in their younger days, as they were susceptible to some fears you might find in the film, but now that they’re teenagers, the “cringe” as they call it outweighed the nightmare fodder. Well, for the first night anyway.

So it’s a bit on the child side for teenagers; in the 1980s, certainly by this time, I was watching R rated movies on Showtime for the plot and adventure. But I am still likely to subject my boys to The Dark Crystal and Legend soon to complete my retro viewing. And then perhaps onto Excalibur which I have on VHS unwatched.


At any rate, did someone say Jennifer Connelly?

You know, this is the first film of Ms. Connelly (a.k.a, Mrs. My Doppleganger Paul Bettany) that I have seen. She’s had a steady career in films and has the dark hair and blue eyes combination that I find alluring.

Looking at her body of work, it was not the first film of hers I’d seen–that would be Dark City. As to the next I will see with her in it, the odds are on Winter’s Tale, a movie based on a Mark Helperin book that I have on Blu-Ray (and had in my hands before settling on Labyrinth) or Spider-Man: Homecoming when I get around to it.

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