Directed by Jim Henson, USA, 1986, G – Creature action and mild language.
This cult favourite finds Jim Henson and company riffing on Alice in Wonderland with a playful fantasy about a teenage girl who must brave the labyrinthine realm of the Goblin King. On a stormy Saturday night, fifteen-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is miffed at once again having to babysit her brother on the weekend, but when she playfully recants a spell from her favourite fairy tale it turns out the goblins are listening. Her baby brother is whisked away and much to Sarah’s dismay David Bowie’s puckish Goblin King appears. He will only return the child if she can reach the castle at the centre of his labyrinth within thirteen hours. If not he will turn Sarah’s brother into a goblin. Sarah needs all the determination she can muster, along with the help of a few new friends to outsmart the devious scheming of the Goblin King.
The witty script has a touch of Monty Python-esque absurdity courtesy of screenwriter Terry Jones. The eye-popping sets seem like something out of an M.C. Escher print and of course they’re populated by weird and wonderful creatures from the Henson Creature Shop. Memorable characters like the crotchety dwarf gatekeeper Hoggle, the imposing but friendly beast Ludo and the foolishly heroic terrier Sir Didymus (with his cowardly sheep dog mount Ambrosious) bring the fantastical world to wondrous life. But it’s David Bowie who upstages all comers (and breaks a thousand hearts) with his seductive and glamtastic portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King.
“A real masterpiece of puppetry and special effects, an absolutely gorgeous children's fantasy movie.” – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
“An innovative mix of sophisticated puppetry and special effects, Labyrinth has all the components of classic myth.” – Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer