L is for Labyrinth

For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “Labyrinth.”

“Labyrinth” was a 1986 British-American fantasy film, directed by Jim Henson, produced by George Lucas, and starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. The movie was a dark, semi-musical, glam-rock children’s movie that seems to combine The Wizard of Oz and a Maurice Sendak story and starred David Bowie plus a cavalcade of puppets.

At the time of its release, “Labyrinth” was a technical marvel. Henson relied almost entirely on practical effects, building the creatures and sets and including almost no computer animation. The Hoggle puppet alone involved 18 motors and a four-person team. That reliance on physical materials rather than computers means that, while some aspects of “Labyrinth” seem dated, the world inside its maze has aged rather well.

The film is about a petulant teenager, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly at 14) with an active imagination. She lives in a fantasy world but is constantly being dragged back down to earth by the dreary realities of her life, including her perpetually wailing baby half-brother, Toby. One night while babysitting, Sarah wishes to the “goblin king” that Toby would disappear — and he does, earning Sarah a visit from the actual Goblin King (David Bowie).

The Goblin King, whose name is Jareth, transports Sarah to his labyrinth and gives her 13 hours to find her way to his castle and rescue her brother. Jareth threatens that if she fails, Toby will become a goblin forever.

Guarding his castle is the labyrinth itself, a twisted maze of deception, populated with outrageous characters and unknown dangers. To get through it in time to save Toby, Sarah must make her way through the maze. She encounters a lot strange residents within the labyrinth and ultimately befriends the Goblins, in hopes that their loyalty isn’t just another illusion in a place where nothing is as it seems. Along the way, Sarah learns important lessons about friendship, independence, and the misfortune of being attracted to an older man in very tight pants.

Though the movie initially flopped, it has become a cult classic. Critics praised Bowie’s performance. The New York Times wrote that Bowie was “perfectly cast as the teasing, tempting seducer whom Sarah must both want and reject in order to learn the labyrinth’s lessons, and his songs add a driving, sensual appeal.”

On a personal note, this was one of my then young daughter’s favorite movies. It still is, actually, and she’s 42 now.

Previous A2Z 2022 posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

39 thoughts on “L is for Labyrinth

  1. newepicauthor April 14, 2022 / 6:09 am

    This is the first time that I have ever heard of this movie, but it looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth April 14, 2022 / 6:12 am

    My kids all loved Labyrinth when they were young, and they’re now 37, 38, and 39… we all agree that David Bowie was absolutely perfect in that role 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marleen April 14, 2022 / 6:59 am

    The Wizard of Oz, Jennifer Connelly, muppets, the lack of computer generation, and a flop of a cult classic all sound appealing together. I still haven’t seen it. I think I ought to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 14, 2022 / 10:02 am

      I think you ought to, too!


      • Marleen April 14, 2022 / 10:10 pm

        I’ll say this for Bowie: he expressed interest in polyrhythmic music in the end.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. Stine Writing and Miniatures April 14, 2022 / 7:00 am

    I loved Jim Henson but never saw this movie. I remember when it came out. For whatever reason I have some aversion to these “mystical” “fantasy” type movies. I do enjoy them when I watch them but I don’t pick them for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. msjadeli April 14, 2022 / 7:58 am

    My younger son loves this movie also and has a movie poster of it on his living room wall. I know I saw it but remember little about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. eschudel April 14, 2022 / 8:24 am

    What a great movie – another one I need to find and watch again!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. writerravenclaw April 14, 2022 / 12:47 pm

    Great film, my daughter and I loved watching it. We will still watch it, even though we know exactly what is happening .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bushboy April 14, 2022 / 3:11 pm

    Another favourite. May not have watched it but my kids wanted to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nope, Not Pam April 14, 2022 / 3:41 pm

    I didn’t see it, but my mum did and she was amazed. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jay April 15, 2022 / 7:31 pm

    This was quite the… awakening movie for the girls in my class when we watched it at about Sarah’s age. And that’s all I’ll say without the presence of my attorney. 🙂 But seriously, though I watched it way after it came out, it holds a special place in my heart, just like Bowie does! (Then again, I’d watch a margarine commercial with David and love it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maria Michaela April 16, 2022 / 4:20 am

    I need to watch this again. I was too young then to remember much of it

    Liked by 1 person

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