Labyrinth

Being a Muppet fan, I’m no stranger to some of Henson’s post-Muppet show work, notably the movies. I’ve mentioned The Dark Crystal here previously, but I’ve neglected another favorite of mine, Labyrinth.

Labyrinth is a much more accessible piece of fantasy fiction, containing both human and Muppet characters. The film stars a young Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie.

My love for the film, borne out of a viewing in my youth and repeat airings on HBO, hasn’t waned to this day. I own an older version of the DVD, not the Collector’s Edition or the upcoming SuperBit version, and I’ve watched it numerous times.

Turns out I’m not the only one with nostalgia for a young Jennifer Connelly, weird Brian Froud creatures, David Bowie “juggling” crystal balls and Muppet-y humor. Laura Smith of Penn State University wrote an article this week in the Digital Collegian paying homage to one of her favorite films. I’m quoting a large swath, since it’s so good to see others who feel the same way I do:

As you’re watching the film, you really have to appreciate the skill and imagination that Henson employs when he creates this entire world of princesses and goblins. Before Lord of the Rings, it’s hard to imagine films now that so believably have puppets and actors interacting so seamlessly without relying on computer generated graphics.

Minus the fantasy element and silly songs, this film teaches real lessons about friendship and the danger of relying on first impressions. What appear to be monsters and freakish characters end up being Sarah’s friends and helping her save her brother.

With the popularity of Harry Potter films, it’s refreshing to see that fantasy films with a heart like Labyrinth can still be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

It may be a little dark, but I think with Raelyn’s current love of The Muppet Show, it won’t be a hard sell to get her to watch Labyrinth when she gets a bit older. In the meantime, I may have just talked myself into upgrading my current DVD version for something newer and better.

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