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In my first installment I wanted to bring something back from my childhood. It's usually hard to watch movies from your youth because they don't always (let's face it almost never) hold up to your memory of them. However, there are a few movies from my youth that I found on Instant Queue so I thought I'd see if my memory of them held up. I watched this movie with my wife and I'll give you both of our reactions.
SUMMARY (from Netflix):
In this Jim Henson-directed fantasy, teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) embarks on a life-altering quest when she attempts to rescue her little brother, Toby (Toby Froud), from the clutches of treacherous Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie), who lives in a castle surrounded by a giant labyrinth. With just 13 hours to plot a course through the dangerous maze, Sarah must grow up fast, learn her responsibilities and muster supreme courage.
REVIEWS (From Rotten Tomatoes):
Henson's imagination is boundless. But his movie has no pep. It's a dream in neutral. - Wesley Moore, Boston Globe
An innovative mix of sophisticated puppetry and special effects, Labyrinth has all the components of classic myth. - Steve Rea, Philodelphia Inquirer
Unfortunately, this contemporary (at least, for the era) fairy tale, directed and co-written by Muppets creator Jim Henson, never sets a timely tone beyond the 1980s. It remains disappointingly tethered to yesteryear. -Denson Thomson, Washington Post
A real masterpiece of puppetry and special effects, an absolutely gorgeous children's fantasy movie.- Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
You can see the reviews were mixed. It received a 50% on rotten tomatoes, so it's exactly in the middle. And from my wife and my reactions it was the same split. First, my wife fell asleep about halfway through the movie. It did nothing for her. When she woke up I was told that even when she was awake it basically bored her to tears.
I on the other hand loved the movie. It was everything I remember from both my childhood and one viewing in college. In fact it was better because there weren't 10 people piled onto a little couch. This is my second favorite movie from the good old days, right behind Return to Oz.
I know it's corny and cheesy, but I really think this is Jim Henson at his best. All of the puppets are funny and add charm. My personal favorite is the worm toward the beginning who initially gets Connelly lost. Every moment it's on screen makes me laugh.
The world itself is populated with tons of little oddities that you only really catch if you look closely. On the surface it's a kids movie, but in reality it scared the crap out of me as a kid as much as it made me laugh as an adult.
The one thing I would say is that I wasn't all that impressed with David Bowie's role and the goblins are really irritating. Still, even with them I enjoyed it. I'd never call this a good movie, but it's a great guilty pleasure.
Definitely watch this one if you're like me and saw/loved it as a child. I wish they had more movies like this online like Willow, Return to Oz, etc. I'd enjoy the heck out of them. If you have kids this is a great movie to show the brilliance of Jim Henson. However, also be aware that you might as easily hate it as love it.