February 7, 2011

Starlight's Labyrinth [review time]

"Within your eyes, I'll place the sky" 

David Bowie meets Jim Hensen. Incredible. This movie is so weird and so magical, no one should go without seeing it. However, if you made it into your adult life without ever entering the labyrinth, it may just be too late for you. Labyrinth is just too strange watch unless you saw it before you were ten.

Bowie plays the Goblin King, although he does appear distinctly human, particularly when surrounded by muppet-like goblins and they all sing and dance together. The puppets are exactly what make this movie fantastic, but too estranging for the adult sensibilities. Some chase little girls, some can take off their own heads and juggle them, some function as door-knockers and some are British worms that say "'Allo," and not hello.

If you know what I'm talking about, you know how awesome this is. If you don't, then you have probably lost any respect you had for me as a movie reviewer. That's fine - I know I'm appealing to nostalgia here. Which is why I've included a clip of Dance Magic Dance for those of you who love this movie.

After watching this as an adult, I can see why this appealed so much to me as a 6 year old, and later as a teen. Sarah is a strong female hero, determined and unwavering. Jareth, the goblin king, can give Sarah anything she wants, and can sense her every desire (as creepy as that sounds). He takes her baby brother away to fulfill a dark desire among older siblings - to be an only child again, the centre of attention. She immediately recognizes the fault in her desire, and asks for Toby back, but Jareth has hidden him in the centre of his labyrinth in the hopes that along the way he can tempt her into leaving her real life behind.

Sarah is a girl who lives in a fantasy world, and her appeal to Jareth is a reflection of this, but in the end, her duty to her family and her life is stronger than the pull of the magical world. She fights long and hard, struggling through a maze of tricks and traps to get Toby back, and in the end she faces Jareth and everything he can offer her. She rejects the fantasy of being his queen.

If I can tempt anyone into watching this movie, in spite of my warning, I recommend checking out the first 10 minutes in the video below, if only to hear an awesome Bowie song (don't skip the credits) and a cute scene about a teenager with her head in the clouds.

"Everything I've done, I've done for you. I move the stars for no one."

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