a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Labyrinth (1986) starring the late great David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.
Per IMDb: “A selfish 16-year old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King.”
Sarah, a sixteen-year-old girl played by Connelly (who was only 15), trollops about in the park rehearsing lines from a play and becomes distracted, unable to remember a line, when she realizes she’s very late. She is being watched by an owl. What she’s late for is to babysit her infant half-brother Toby (played by the film’s concept designer’s son) and she rushes home, in the pouring rain. She is confronted at the door by her stepmother and they argue and she stomps off. Sarah realizes that her crying brother has her teddy bear. Frustrated by his constant crying, Sarah inadvertently wishes Toby to be taken away by the Goblin King Jareth (Bowie). He refuses to return the baby, basically telling her what’s been wished can’t be undone. However, he gives Sarah 13 hours to solve his Labyrinth, to his castle, to find him before Toby is turned into a goblin. Along the way, goblins (those who aren’t necessarily the followers of Jareth) lead her toward or sometimes away from her destination. Does she find her little brother?
Jeez o’Pete. This is Jennifer Connelly’s lead debut and she is horrible. Fast forward to Requiem for a Dream and she’s awesome, but she’s truly awful here. This is the second attempt at this film, for me. I watched about 15 minutes of the film about eight months ago and between falling asleep a few times and the horrible acting by Connelly made me just turn it off. I watched it because of the recent passing of David Bowie and because it was requested by “Superfan” Damien. Remarkably, Bowie’s acting in the film is actually pretty decent, although he does seem out of place when the musical numbers start. There’s some pretty awful green screen work, too. I do think, however, the technology was fairly new at the time. The Henson company were spot on and it was like teenage Sesame Street; over the top but entertaining. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Jennifer Connelly said this about the film: that it’s about “a young girl growing out of her childhood, who is just now becoming aware of the responsibilities that come with growing up.” That makes sense. Jennifer Connelly is only 3 weeks younger than me so I would have probably thought she was hot back then. I know she is now.
The film also pays homage to Maurice Sendak at the end of the film as much of it is based on the Where the Wild Things Are model. Also, MC Escher is thanked because there’s a scene where it features his 3D stairwell concept.
Rotten Tomatoes has it rated as 66% Fresh with an audience score of 86%. IMDb has it at 7.4 stars out of 10. I rented it from Amazon Prime and rate it 3 stars. The puppetry of the Henson company and visuals were really good and Bowie played a cool bad guy, but overall it was like K-R-A-F-T and not-in-a-good-way cheesy. Yes, I know it’s a fun fantasy story but I really didn’t care much for it. I should have reviewed The Man Who Fell to Earth instead. Have you seen this film? What did you think? Do you think I’m full of it, or did you enjoy it? Let me know and tell me what you’d want to hear or read me review.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Tell me Sarah, what do you think of my labyrinth?” – Jareth