Great Digital Film fest today...on tap was Labyrinth.
In the time that has passed between Labyrinth first appearing in cinemas in 1986 to now being digitally remastered, it has become a children’s fantasy classic. Labyrinth is a wildly inventive and imaginative adventure story. While not a success upon release at the time, Labyrinth now has cult status to the extent that it does feel like part of the collective folklore that includes all the fairy tales, fantasy stories and mythology that it references. If you have never seen this movie, you will revel in its original creativity while those lucky enough to grow up in the 80s will both enter and exit the theatre sporting a wide, satisfied grin.
Labyrinth is more traditionally a family film. Its then young star Jennifer Connolly is Sarah Williams, who has to solve a perplexing labyrinth in order to save her baby half-brother Toby from Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie), after she impulsively wished that Jareth would take Toby away. Along the way, Sarah meets a cast of characters one can expect when you combine the magic of puppet-master Jim Henson and executive producer George Lucas. With the exception of Bowie and Connelly, all the significant characters in this film are puppets produced in Henson's infamous creature shop.
Watching Labyrinth again in the cinema for the first time since its original release, the most striking aspect of the film are its visuals. Labyrinth is a gorgeous demonstration of ‘old school’ special effects (i.e. matte paintings, puppetry and other in-camera visual effects) with restrained use of the post production computer-generated effects that we commonly see in today's films.
Bowie is marvellous as Jareth and gives the seductive yet cruel character the same otherworldly intensity that he had used for the various personae he had adopted during his music career.
While Sarah’s experiences in the labyrinth teach her the importance of taking responsibility, caring for family and the harsh life lessons that nothing is fair and things will always change, the film is also careful to not suggest that she should completely ‘grow up’.
It was Henson’s final feature film and a wonderful gift from a person who really did make you believe that even as you got older, everything magical that you treasured from your childhood and all your imaginary friends were never too far away, should you ever need them, for any reason at all.
Excerpts from full film review - http://blog.cinemaautopsy.com/2012/04/05/film-review-labyrinth-1986/