Greetings and Salutations, True Believers.

*crickets*

Hmm. I seem to have lost all my True Believers, and I really can’t say I blame ’em.  It’s been what, two months since I wrote anything? So much for that whole “regular reviews” thing I was going for. What can I say? Debate is a harsh mistress. But, I find myself with a bit more time now, so time for movie reviews! I’m going to start with what I have been told is a classic: Labyrinth

This guy? You don't mess with this guy.

Let’s make one thing clear: Until about 17 hours ago, I’d never even HEARD of this movie. Get all the cries of “Communist” “Blasphemer” and “Infidel” out of your system now, please, I’ m aware that it’s apparently a cult classic. Normally, “cult classics” aren’t really what they are cracked up to be, so I ignore them. But since a good friend insisted that I watch this movie, I went ahead with it anyway.

For those of you who, like me, have no idea what this movie is, let me sum it up:  Spoiled girl(Sarah) lives a tortured spoiled existence, and despite having a pretty darn good life from all we can tell, she wishes she lived in a fantasy world. That…doesn’t happen. However, her much more specific wish that goblins would show up and steal her baby brother? That happens pretty quickly. So, after she has a brief chat with the Goblin King Jareth(David Bowie), she gets transported into his magical kingdom, where she has roughly 13 hours to go fetch her baby brother from the inside of his castle. The trick? His castle is in the center of a labyrinth! Betcha didn’t see that coming, eh?

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk shop: Labyrinth is good. There, I said it. It’s good! But not great. It has so much going for it, but there are a few things that ultimately bring it down from being the smash it could be. Let’s get those out of the way right now so I can focus on the good for the rest of the interview:

Poor Character Development: Now, I know what you are thinking. “How can he say that! Look at Hoggle, the coward who becomes brave for his friends! Look at Luddo, look at the numerous other side characters!” This is all well and good, but there is one glaring problem: Sarah. You know, the main character? She starts out throwing temper tantrums and generally being a jerk to EVERY PERSON SHE COMES INTO CONTACT WITH. She wishes away an innocent baby who is so darn cute he even gets the Goblin King on his side. She is a general Ice Queen, right up until she actually is in the fantasy world. She spends the next hour and a half selflessly devoting herself to this quest for a baby she supposedly hates, for parents she supposedly hates, all the while being kind and gentle to a weird little man who repeatedly stabs her in the back. Can you say schizophrenic? How does she justify this? There is no reason given for her frostiness towards her own family, or for the sudden change into utter concern and care for every stray creature that happens across her path. I don’t know, maybe I’m just putting too much thought into this, but it really took me out of the movie trying to justify her personality.

Rip-offs galore: The Wikipedia article states: “The filmmakers acknowledged several influences, including Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the works ofMaurice Sendak (the plot mirrors that of his story “Outside Over There”), and M. C. Escher.” Influences, eh? Right. The entire final scene, with the messed up stair-cases and geography? Meet Escher’s painting, Relativity:

There were influences involved, alright.

Look familiar? We also catch a nice Sleeping Beauty “influence” half-way through, as well as quite a few other “borrowed” ideas.

Now, I know this has been a critical review thus far, but remember what I said before: Labyrinth is good. Let’s talk about that now:

Killer supporting cast:  From Luddo( A big, orangutan style goblin who can SUMMON ROCKS!) to the lowliest comic relief goblin, there is nothing greater in this film than it’s supporting cast, brought to life by Jim Henson himself. Seriously, these folks stole the show to the point of which I was actually bored during the “final confrontation”, only because they weren’t around. But don’t get me wrong, even though he would be nothing without his supporting cast,

Bowie makes a great villain: David Bowie really pulls this role off well. He takes advantage of Jareth’s whimsical nature and uses it to his full extent. I went into this movie prepared for him to be my least favorite character, but really, he did a fantastic job pulling it together.

Excellent special effects: This movie showed you don’t need lens flares and a trillion dollar budget to do good special effects, because it did them where they have always been done best: The people.  The costumes and puppets Henson puts together are more convincing than the best and brightest of CG animators in today’s market. That’s not a knock on CG, but you just can’t compete with Jim Henson.

So, there you have it. Labyrinth scores a solid 7 teacups in my book.

As a hint for whats to come over the weekend, let me put it this way: Don Cheadle is most definitely NOT the Lightning Thief.

Advertisements