The Labyrinth is a cult classic kids film starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and Jim Henson puppets. It was released in 1986 where it was seen as a commercial failure. However, in the years since it has gained in popularity and has even had prequel and sequel comics created along with a sequel film in the works. It’s popularity in part has been thanks to re-runs on kids TV channels and nostalgia from parents. It is the film that introduced many, including myself, to Bowie’s music. So what is the Labyrinth about?
A brief summary of the Labyrinth
Jennifer Connelly plays Sarah, a 16-year-old girl that loves the theater and has a wild imagination. Her parents split up and her father has since remarried which has given her an ‘evil step-mother’ and baby brother, called Toby. One night her father and step-mother want to go out and leave her to look after Toby.
Sarah becomes annoyed at Toby as he won’t stop crying and says the words ‘I wish the goblins would come and take you away, right now.’ The goblins and their king, Jareth (David Bowie) proceed to take Toby away. Sarah then demands that Jareth gives Toby back to her, but he refuses and instead makes her an offer. If she can solve his Labyrinth in 13 hours then he will give her Toby back, if not then he will be turned into a goblin.
Sarah agrees and begins her journey through the Labyrinth. She is accompanied by and meets many Jim Henson puppets such as; Hoggle a groundskeeper goblin of the Labyrinth, Sir Didymus a fox/terrier knight that rides a sheep-dog, Ludo a giant furry creature and the Worm, who invites her in for a ‘cuppa’.
Throughout the film we are treated to various catchy songs written and performed by David Bowie. Bowie’s scenes are basically music videos scattered throughout the film. They’re also the most memorable parts for most viewers. Mainly because you won’t be able to get ‘Magic Dance’ out of your head for years. Even typing the words I have now got it stuck in my head.
Played by: Jennifer Connelly
Sarah is our 16-year-old protagonist. She has wished her baby brother away and is now going through the Labyrinth to get him back.
Played by: David Bowie
Jareth is the Goblin King and the one that has stolen Sarah’s brother, Toby away at her wish. He has undefined magical powers and can turn into an owl at will. He is often seen playing with crystals which may have something to do with his magic. He also tends to sing a lot and is a bit of a trickster.
The first companion that Sarah meets in the Labyrinth. He is a coward, but tends to do the right thing. He acts as a grounds’ keeper for the Labyrinth.
Another of Sarah’s companions in the Labyrinth. Although he is big and furry he is a gentle giant. He has a power over rocks and can summon them to his aid.
Sarah’s final companion in the Labyrinth. He is a fox/terrier hybrid that acts as a knight and rides a sheep-dog into battle.
If you liked the Labyrinth try:
- The Dark Crystal
- The Neverending Story
- The Princess Bride
- The Muppets
- The Wizard of Oz
- Spirted Away