Twenty-nine years have passed since the debut of Labyrinth, and it definitely is on its way, if not there already, to becoming a fantasy classic. This film opened a whole new world to the art of animation and using puppetry in films. Like a few of the movies that we consider classics such as The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz and Pretty in Pink, Labyrinth deals with the topic of coming of age.While it was not a success during its time of release, this movie is considered to have “cult” status due to its fantasy subject matter and timeless soundtrack. Differing from The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s previous masterpiece, Labyrinth was meant to be family-friendly film since The Dark Crystal was criticized for being too dark and scary. The movie is centered around Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly). Williams is a teenager who still acts as a child. She takes everything for granted and is completely self-centered. Throwing a fit because one of her favorite stuffed animals comes up missing, she ends up wishing that the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie), would take her needy baby brother away so she does not have to deal with him anymore. She immediately regrets that wish, and to get him back, Sarah ends up having to solve a difficult and perplexing labyrinth that is completely under Jareth’s control.
During this adventure, she has to give up her childish ways and become more of an adult while still being able to maintain an active imagination. Because Monty Python’s Terry Jones was one of the main screenplay writers, the film is filled with lots of ridiculous humor. Though some of the jokes are absurd, most of the humor is paired with serious themes throughout the film.An example is the “Chilly Down” segment. This scene consists of the Fireys, a group of lanky creatures that have detachable limbs and can produce fires from their hands, singing about their carefree lifestyle. Though the scene might seem to be there simply for comedic relief, one could argue that the actual point of it is to show viewers that though not having a care in the world might seem appealing and easy, you still have to deal with real life and the problems that come along with it. You can tell how much work and originality was put into this film, even by today’s standards. By combining intricate puppetry scenes and fantasy illustrations,Labyrinth is a brilliant example of how “old school” special effects use to work. The production mostly relied on scenery paintings, puppetry and other effects that cameras could do without the use of computers. All of it made the movie visually impressive.I think the best part of this film is David Bowie. It is completely odd, yet perfect. Bowie’s music was not that popular during the time the film came out, so it is surprising that the soudtrack is so great. Songs such as “Magic Dance,” “As the World Falls Down,” “Underground” and “Within You” make the soundtrack memorable and fun to listen to.Fantasy movies such as reflect our culture in a tremendous way. Between work, school and everyday life, sometimes we just want to get away from our problems and exist entirely in a stress-free moment that movies such as this one provide. Because of the people involved with this project, has done a great job of surviving the times. It is inspiring for artists to see that even as you get older, you still can place a certain value on all the simple things from your childhood.