I recently read an article relating to the box-office hit The Hunger Games which went something along the lines of: first there were witches and wizards, then came the age of the vampires, and now we have the humans (I paraphrase); what struck me, however, was that the article didn’t once mention the goblins.
Goblins: not only did they appear in a few of the Harry Potter movies but they were the basis of one of the best films to ever grace screens worldwide in the 1986 glam-horror Labyrinth. Not only did Labyrinth tell a haunting story (and I don’t mean haunting in terms of ‘scary, ghosts, ah!’) but the movie featured some big names in movie making – The Muppets’ creator, Jim Henson; Star Wars George Lucas – as well as an incredible cast, music that you never want to stop listening to, and costumes to die for.
Labyrinth tells the story of teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) who inadvertently summons the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) to take away her annoying baby brother Toby (the actor whose real name is Toby… heck, IMDb it). When Sarah learns of her mistake she immediately regrets it and must make her way through the labyrinth to save Toby.
Both Connelly and Bowie are stellar in this movie. As a teenage actress in a children’s movie, the part could have been over exaggerated but Connelly played it extremely well. And as for Bowie: it’s Bowie. I have yet to meet someone who knows him and doesn’t like him. I loved him in The Prestige and I love him as the enigmatic Jareth who, throughout the whole film, leaves you questioning what his motives are.
Three scenes feature prominently in my enjoyment of the film: one, the dance scene. Sarah’s gown is the traditional fairy-tale ball gown; the music and the dancing are beautiful; Bowie is handsome; yet the scene itself is… spooky. It doesn’t quite hit scary but it was unsettling at the least. Partly because of the back-story, partly because of the way it was shot and partly because of the music. I’m watching the scene as I type this and I wonder, how can such a beautiful song make a scene – or be associated with – a scene so haunting?
Two, the beginning: when Toby is taken and Jareth appears out of nowhere. The scene is so tense with the thunder and lightning and with the challenge and the crystal ball, which was pretty cool. The third point is the scene which features ‘Within You’. You really need to watch the movie to see why: Bowie defies gravity; you begin to see his motives; and Sarah becomes more and more desperate to save her baby brother (as a side note: Bowie fans – Magic Dance is my favourite song and dance sequence).
Labyrinth quickly became one of my favourites: as soon as the credits began to roll, it took all the will power I had to not press replay. I was so unsettled that when I went up to my bedroom I had to turn on all the lights as I went and then quickly return to watch something lighter. Check it out. I was really disappointed that I didn’t know about this movie when I was younger and that it wasn’t one of my childhood classics but, surely, a mark of a great film is that you can carry your enjoyment of it through to your adulthood.