This week on Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s ongoing column that looks back at great examples of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres of the past, I want to bring you to a movie that I loved as a child. Surprisingly, no one else knew of this movie until I was much older and found people that got the reference: “You remind me of the babe.”
Do you see where I am going with this yet?
That’s right. I am talking about ‘Labyrinth‘, the wonderful dark fantasy film done by Jim Henson back in 1986. Hard to believe this film is almost 30 years old right? It stars David Bowie (and his extremely tight pants with even higher hair) and Jennifer Connelly (‘Winter’s Tale’, ‘Inkheart’), with help of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop,. This film is a classic.
If you’ve never seen this before, I must urge you to do so. Connelly plays Sarah, a 15 year old girl who wants to become an actress and is fed up with her parents always making her watch her kid brother Toby. She accidentally wishes Toby to the hand of Jareth, the Goblin King, played by Bowie. To get Toby back, Sarah has 13 hours to solve the Labyrinth that surrounds the castle of the Goblin King. She makes friends along the way, Hoggle and Ludo who happen to be a dwarf and a gentle giant, and comes across many fantastical creatures such as The Worm, who helps her find her way into the Labyrinth, and The Firey’s, creatures who can remove their limbs without harm to themselves. If she doesn’t find Toby within the 13 hours, Jareth keeps Toby and turns him into a goblin. Will she make it?
If the plot alone isn’t enough for you, the soundtrack is just as fun. The score was done by Trevor Jones, with Bowie lending his voice to five songs. If you think you might know the sounds of Jones, he provided the score for ‘Excalibur’ and ‘The Last Place on Earth’. Fun trivia fact: If you listen to “Magic Dance”, you’ll hear gurgling baby noises. That is Bowie himself!
Throughout the film there are Easter eggs as well, so if you’re a background watcher you can find new things with each viewing. Try finding these: In the background before Jareth’s apparition, all of the characters you meet are seen. Ccan you find them? This includes the setting of the final showdown between Sarah and Jareth. Also, there are seven faces in the film, hidden throughout the background of the film. If you blink you’ll miss them!
The movie is fun, aimed towards kids but with some adult humor in the mix. There are quests, action, adventure and maybe a little romance? Depends on how you feel towards Jareth’s relationship with Sarah (“I have turned the world upside down and I have done it all for you!” could really be taken as a romantic reference.) I have watched this movie on repeat occasions since I was six years old, so 22 years later I still enjoy it! Even if I can recite it in my sleep!