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Labyrinth (1986)

I don't know. I just don't know what I am supposed to say about Labyrinth. On one hand, it's a wonderful work of art direction. Jim Henson's puppets are great. Some of the ideas clearly influenced the likes of Spirited Away and Hellboy. Even the most fake sets are artistic in their fakeness. On the other hand, it's a nonsensical wreck that manages to turn the most likable of fantasy archetypes (young girl sets foot in bizarroland to face her own fears about her normal life) into a giant muddle with the psychological elements that make these stories so great all but gone. On yet another hand, it's such a wreck that it's often quite funny and entertaining, and given the hand of Python alumnus Terry Jones in writing the script, this entertainment is mostly likely actually intentional (then again, with George Lucas, you can never tell). It's too good to be so bad it's good, too shoddy to really be that good, and too strange and interesting to settle on being mediocre. How am I supposed to look at this movie?

I guess I'll get my questions about this thing out of the way: what is Jennifer Connelly doing at the beginning of the movie? She appears to be acting out a book of the exact story she's about to live through! If she knows what's going to happen to her in the Labyrinth, why does she make the same stupid mistakes? Was this just a big dress rehersal for a play she's going to be in? What is David Bowie doing with a bunch of muppets? I don't know. I like David Bowie and I like muppets, so it works, I guess, but still! It's very strange! Why does the movie suddenly break out of its lightheartedness to enter the world of actually quite effective horror, with the fetuses on sticks and the creepy old lady in the Silent Hill house? What is David Bowie's position in the bedroom, or dungeon? He says he wants to be Connelly's slave, but he also wants her to do everything he tells her to do. I'm confused. And why at the end, when the muppets Connelly "needs" come to her room, why does she "need" those orange greenscreened decapitation guys? We'ren't they an annoyance and just a Big Lipped Alligator Moment (look it up on TVTropes.org if you don't know what that means)?

Overall, cynical old guys should stay away from this movie while preteens and stoners should be in Nirvana. Everyone else? Well, it's not great, but it's got David Bowie! And muppets! B



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