"I take orders from the Octoboss."


tn_labyrinthlucasminusstarwarsJennifer Connelly’s first movie was Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (as the young version of Elizabeth McGovern’s character). Her first starring role was Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA, aka CREEPERS. Then she did some normal teen movie, but the one after that was LABYRINTH, directed by Jim Henson, where she’s co-starring with David Bowie and about a hundred different puppets. That’s a crazy career already, years before she got an Oscar.

This one is pretty different from the Argento one. Yes, she still communicates with bugs, because there’s a worm in one scene who gives her a helpful tip and invites her in to meet his wife. But there’s no monkey going nuts with a straight razor, and no Goblin. Just goblins.

She plays Sarah, a teenage girl who one day during a bratty fit about having to babysit says some fantasy nonsense that actually summons goblins to take away her toddler brother Toby. Whoops. To get him back she has to make it through a labyrinth to the Goblin King (Bowie)’s castle in 13 hours. Except for the king, the goblins and the inhabitants of the maze are all puppets and special effects creations. Designed by artist Brian Froud (like Henson’s previous movie, THE DARK CRYSTAL), they still have cartoonish looks and personalities, but with more realistic texture and detail than Muppets. They seem like closer relatives to Yoda than to Cookie Monster.

Sarah’s imagination is influenced by some books we see in her room: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are. (Maurice Sendak gets a full screen acknowledgment in the credits, apparently because Henson heard he was offended by similarities to one of his books.) And it’s that type of story: a kid is transported to a magical land that may be just her imagination, goes on a journey, has many strange encounters, picks up a group of friends along the way. So it’s very episodic, but it works. The level of inventiveness on display is captivating.

THE DARK CRYSTAL had been a dead serious fantasy with all puppets, no people, and was not the hit that Henson had hoped for. That one actually seems even more like it would be a George Lucas production than this does, but it wasn’t (it was Lucas’s own producer Gary Kurtz). Not really connecting with audiences, Henson designed the follow-up to be more upbeat, with a funny script credited to Monty Python’s Terry Jones and more lovable creatures. Even the bastard goblins are ugly in a cute kind of way. They have a GREMLINS-esque scary scene where they’re moving around in her room just out of her eyesight, but they’ve already had humor with the slower goblins saying dumb things, so it’s probly not too scary for the kids. It’s not PHENOMENA.

mp_labyrinthAnd Jareth T. Goblin-King, is played by Bowie with all his androgynous rock star sexuality oozing from a prissy, princely form with his hair teased out and a bulge in his white tights like the ultimate evolutionary form of an ’80s teen girl’s fantasy boyfriend. I was a little perplexed at first why he keeps passionately singing love songs to this young girl he hasn’t even formally met. I thought maybe the songs weren’t written for the movie. But then I remembered that this fantasy world seems to come from her book and the lines she practices while aspiring to be an actress, which include something about a Goblin King being in love with her. So maybe he has no choices, he’s just in love with her, that’s how it is. It really seems to reflect the sort of non-sexual sexual attraction that young girls often have for the effeminate rock stars and teen idols the culture churns out for them. It makes sense.

So Bowie is real good casting for the role, but in my opinion his songs are the weak spot in the movie. I’m not a Bowie follower, so I asked a friend who is, and he confirmed that this is not his good shit. In an interview, Henson mentioned Michael Jackson and Sting as other rock stars who came to mind as being big enough for the movie, though Bowie was their first choice. I don’t know about Sting, but even before I saw that I thought about how much more I would like this movie if it had circa 1986 Michael Jackson songs. And I bet he would’ve turned the M.C. Escher staircase scene into a hell of a dance number. But admittedly his squeaky-voiced manchild persona would’ve not been as threatening as Bowie. They would’ve had to make him more misguided than evil.

What’s great about LABYRINTH is that it’s just brimming with inventiveness. All these different creatures with their goofy personalities: Hoggle is an elf type guy who’s enough of an asshole to keep betraying Sarah to save his ass, but enough of a sweetheart to keep feeling bad about it. Ludo is a big dumb furry beast whose roar controls rocks because, he says, they’re his friends. Sir Didymus is I guess a talking fox but I was hoping he was supposed to be an anthropomorphized dog because that would make it funnier that he rides a regular dog like it’s a horse. He’s by far the most Muppet-like character, but when he opens his mouth the inside looks like a real animal’s mouth, not a flat piece of felt. Also he’s the least threatening character in the movie but the one most convinced he’s a great warrior.

hoggleAnd there are all kinds of other colorful characters on the margins: fairies (which Hoggle sprays like bugs), eyeballs that grow out of the walls, talking door knockers, furry dancing gremlins called Fireys, tiny people who come out from under the tiles and move them whenever she marks arrows on them to keep track of her path. There are lots of clever visual jokes, like the overhead shot of the maze where we first see Sir Didymus, and he keeps almost running into Sarah, but they choose turns at exactly the right times to keep missing each other. Or the way the goblins attack Ludo with biting lizards tied to the end of sticks, like some Flintstones weapon. And there’s a pit full of hands that sort of bodypass Sarah as she falls down it, and form themselves into face shapes to talk to her. Also there’s the ultimate threat of this world, the Bog of Eternal Stench. Basically, if you accidentally step into it your foot will forever smell like farts.

Possibly my favorite encounter Sarah has is with the junk lady. Sarah is sitting on what looks like a mountain of garbage, and this face appears in the pile and chews her out. She reveals herself as a woman walking around with all this old junk stacked up on her back. A cross between a hoarder and a turtle. To comfort Sarah she reaches in and pulls out an old teddy bear that belonged to her. And then another doll. And then a chemistry set or something. She keeps getting out more things from Sarah’s childhood and giving them to her, and they start to pile on top of Sarah like she’s a junk lady too. It starts out just seeming like a goofy thing and suddenly becomes this poetic statement about how we can be burdened by our belongings. And Sarah is being buried under nostalgia for her earlier childhood. At first it’s cool to see these things that remind her of an easier time, but then it starts to be too much.

Maybe if this had been a bigger hit it would be a lesson about not being too attached to all the old LABYRINTH dolls and crap you had when you were a kid. But that didn’t have to happen. It’s beloved now, but it was a box office failure, which was crushing to Henson. He did not direct another feature before he died four years later.

still_labyrinthLABYRINTH seems like one of the more Lucasfilmy of the Lucasfilms, because it takes place in this detailed fantasy world full of imaginative details and colorful creatures made with a variety of envelope-pushing special effects technologies. It even opens with a way-ahead-of-its-time computer animated owl, the first ever living creature to be realistically computer-animated in a movie (a year after ILM’s stained-glass-man in YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES). But Henson, of course, was already doing these sorts of things on his own. Although ILM is in the credits for some of the matte paintings, the owl was done by a company called Digital Productions, who had worked on THE LAST STARFIGHTER, and the many elaborate creatures were done by Henson’s workshop. I think on a technical level the most impressive is Hoggle. A woman named Shari Weiser wears the suit, but the detailed facial expressions and mouth movements are controlled mechanically by Brian Henson (who also does the voice).

But this is not another instance of Lucas just hooking up a greenlight for a friend. The two had already unofficially consulted with each other, most famously when Henson gave Lucas some advice on how to do Yoda and recommended Frank Oz for the role. Lucas also gave Henson feedback on a rough cut of THE DARK CRYSTAL.

Henson wanted Lucas for his story sense. Despite the credit to Jones, many other writers contributed over dozens of drafts, with Lucas giving feedback on each one and even taking a pass at it himself. The final polish was actually done by Elaine May. Lucas also advised Henson during the editing phase.

Though LABYRINTH didn’t have the cultural impact of Star Wars or the Muppets, it was a worthy collaboration for both of these groups of artists who loved to mix storytelling, technology and trickery to transport us to new worlds through popular entertainment. It’s hard to imagine many filmmakers pulling off a movie like this today, even if they wanted to.

Hat tip to this incredibly in-depth look at LABYRINTH where I got some of the details of what Lucas contributed

PROGRAMMING NOTE: About a month later there was another Lucasfilm release, HOWARD THE DUCK. I’m skipping it this time but feel free to re-read my review from a couple years ago.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 at 12:51 pm and is filed under Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

51 Responses to “Labyrinth”

  1. There are off and on again rumors about a Labyrinth or Dark Crystal sequel, and while we’re up to our eyeballs in nostalgic sequels and remakes, I think both could work. Henson developed such detailed worlds that I would love to revisit them. For a while they were developing a Dark Crystal sequel that would be a combination of green screen and puppets. This was when Sin City and 300 were popular, but I actually thought that would be a potentially interesting take on that form of filmmaking.

    In my opinion, Labyrinth is an improvement on The Dark Crystal, which has wonderful characters and visuals but is kind of narratively inert. Labyrinth is pretty close to an ideal children’s film. It’s pretty thematically rich. I mean, you could look at it as a film about the place of fantasy and escapism in our lives. It’s also about that passage in our lives when we awkwardly make our way from children to adults. Jennifer Connolly’s never sexualized, but her sexuality is obviously a central element in the film.

    I’m a pretty big Bowie fan, and it’s true that his 80s output is not great. However, after a few beers, I’ve been known to blast “Dance Magic Dance.” Also, I think “As the World Falls Down” is a solid song. He was a pretty brilliant casting choice, however.

  2. RE: 80’s Bowie the song MODERN LOVE will always have a place in my heart.

    I have seen this movie many times and never knew that Lucas was involved. This is why I love this series not only new insight on movie’s I’ve already seen like BODY HEAT and this one but also exposure to ones I’ve never heard of before like LATINO. Good stuff as always.

  3. True. “Modern Love” is unassailable.

  4. So there was this short-lived Adult Swim show called “Fat Guy Stuck In Internet.” It was a sci-fi comedy and every episode was filled with parody. I guest-starred in the “Labyrinth episode” as one of the doors and that was the most painfully long and arduous makeup and costume experience I’ve ever gone through. Hated every second but it looked great and was a funny tribute to the OG Labyrinth.

    I only saw this for the first time about a year ago and loved everything but the music. The puppetry is just incredible and so creative.

  5. Nice review, Vern. Got the urge to give this one another watch now…

  6. I was always kind of partial to Underground, an 80’s synth song that featured Albert Collins on guitar and gospel backing vocalists that included Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan and Cissy Houston.

    I think this movie did not do that well because the labyrinth itself and the goblins aren’t much of a threat. This movie came after Temple of Doom and Gremlins and after a lot of the young intended audience had probably seen all kinds of stuff they shouldn’t via VHS rental.

  7. The Original Paul

    December 29th, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    It was seriously weird, watching this movie after THE ROCKETEER and seeing my first film crush Jennifer Connolly as a… child? Teenager? Honestly I find it hard to even guess at her age in LABYRINTH. As for Bowie, I have no freaking clue how he found his way into this mess, but I’m kinda glad he did.

    Yeah, this movie is a glorious mess, and a big misfire. It’s also kind of compulsive because the bits that do work – Jen’s fever-dream in the middle, the Escher stairs at the end – work so goddamn well. I have nothing bad to say about the music either. Awkward 80s Bowie is still better than 70% of the other crap out there.

    I can’t be the only person who sees Sir Didymus as the live-action version of Scrappy-Doo, can I?

  8. I prefer the creatures and artistry portrayed in DARK CRYSTAL, though I admit LABYRINTH is a less boring movie.

  9. This is my favorite movie of all time. How is that for badass juxtaposition? I’m glad Vern responded to the same details of supreme creativity I do. Those Helping Hands are such a trip. Imagine the thought process, let’s get a bunch of people’s hands together and make faces. Kevin Clash is a pair of hands btw.

    I love the music so it’s no surprise I was disappointed the rest of Bowie doesn’t sound like this.

    That picture of Hoggle today is heartbreaking, man. But also poignant. Who’s going to maintain that once the movie’s over and there’s no sequel? Any idea when that pic is from?

  10. Didn’t they find that Hoggle head in a shipping package in the dead letter office years later… or something like that…

  11. How movie with this poster didn’t make AAAAAAAAAALL the money is beyond me. Forget the quality of the movie itself. The poster should have put millions of asses in seats…


  12. Ah, CAREER OPPORTUNITIES. The story of one young woman’s valiant struggle against her own tanktop.

  13. I need to watch THE HOT SPOT again. Like, immediately.

  14. I never knew this was a commercial failure. It is hugely popular with my generation, with a sort of hushed reverence attached to it, like a movie that you have to go on a quest with the Goonies to find out about or something.

    And I felt the same way, about both this and Dark Crystal, but both movies fell really short for me as an adult. They are just spilling over with great ideas too. There are plenty of 80’s fantasy movies that succeed better, but I think there’s such a unique character to Henson’s work that they will always beloved, and I’m glad we got them.

  15. @renfield

    “Plenty” of 80s fantasy movies? Besides WILLOW (which is awesome) and KRULL (which isn’t better) what have you got?

  16. It’s strange, I think THE DARK CRYSTAL is one of the best fantasy films of them all.

    I like LABYRINTH, too, though not as much, but I’ve seen it many times, and it’s now considered a pivotal movie for a lot of children of the ’80s. I wasn’t really aware of the movie when it was in theatres, and I paid attention to that stuff from a really young age. I saw that amazing LABYRINTH poster once in a subway terminal in NYC, and asked my mom what it was, and she told me it was a new movie like DARK CRYSTAL and was already playing. The thought of it captured my imagination, but I didn’t see the film until it was on a free preview weekend for one of the movie networks about a year later. I don’t think there was much kid-awareness of LABYRINTH when it was new, even compared to other live-action kid fare like D.A.R.Y.L. and EXPLORERS.

    “Underground” is the best song in the movie. “It’s only forever / Not long at all” – when you’re eight, that’s a mind-blowing lyric.

  17. I really need to rewatch it again, but I remember it being seriously good. Also thanks to a friend who is totally into Bowie, I recently re-discovered the soundtrack again. (Curse you, Spotify, for removing it! One of the reasons why I will never pay for music that I’m not allowed to keep!)

    Random trivia: One of the choreographers* of LABYRINTH was someone named Cheryl McFadden. She is better known under the name Gates McFadden or “Dr Beverly Crusher” from STAR TREK TNG.

    *As far as I know, in this case it means “coordinating the puppet movements” and has nothing to do with dancing

    More random trivia: CAREER OPPORTUNITIES went straight to home video in Germany as KEVIN’S COUSIN ALONE AT THE SUPERMARKET, to obviously piggyback on the success of HOME ALONE.

    I just wanted to say something like “I kinda miss the days when video releases got such piggyback names, like all those ___________ ACADEMY titles from the 80s”, but then I remembered that I saw yesterday a DVD of some c-action movie with the German title FURIOUS ROAD and actually it just makes me angry at this point.

  18. grimgrinningchris

    December 30th, 2015 at 7:15 am

    The Dark Crystal is a beautiful movie. The definition of cinema as art. But god damn is it ever boring. The pacing is positively glacial.

    Labyrinth isn’t really a BETTER movie, per se… But it’s a helluva lot more fun.

    And Majestyk…
    I prefer to think of it as one young woman’s struggle against her own tank top…and a coin operated horse.

  19. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, THE ROCKETEER & DARK CITY are the reasons that no matter how pretentious and shockingly gaunt she has gotten over the years Jennifer Connelly will always have my love.

  20. “As the World Falls Down” is the fucking hit. The rest, okay, but that song is fantastic.
    And, something I never knew as a kid, but its actually David Bowie who sings “Chilly Down.” I always assumed it was some black dude.

    Oh and Trevor Jones’ synth soundtrack slams too. At about 1:20 in, “Into the Labyrinth” goes hard as fuck. Hard like rottweiler.

  21. https://youtu.be/aRRazyspn-o

    Ok there. At 1:21 that shit is crazy. Somebody needs to sample that loop.

  22. Broddie. Aside from just being an awesome movie too, Dark City also introduced us to Melissa George. Brief, but she’s never been more gorgeous or more naked. Okay, I’ll stop dragging my knuckles now.

  23. Best use of Bowie as incidental music is a tie between The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and Horns. Both using “Heroes”. And both starring Harry Potter alum coincidentally.

  24. Broddie, has she gotten pretentious?

    Also, David Bowie’s crotch needed it’s own credit in this movie, for how prominently front and center it was.

  25. Darth Irratible – She has said some pretty self important things over the years but it’s okay though because she still has lovely eyes.

  26. David Bowie’s package may have made me feel inadequate for many years. But, uh, not anymore…

  27. Mark Palermo – ‘Not long at all’ — thank you! I’ve only been trying to understand that line for 29 years. (Got as far as ‘night-long hello,’ which never made sense. Fun fact: If you mishear foreign-language lyrics as a kid/teen, you have a hell of a time ever hearing the correct thing even if you read it.)

    Labyrinth is one of ‘my’ movies that’ll always have a special place in my heart, no matter how much my brain tries to tell me what sucks about it. Partly because it’s so charmingly crazy, and partly because I was 14 when it came out, and since Jennifer Connelly is two years older than me, what I saw on screen was pretty much a girl my age, and I fell in love hard. I kinda wanna hate Paul Bettany, but it’s difficult. (I haven’t seen The Rocketeer to this day; something tells me, like Labyrinth, it’s a movie you can probably only successfully watch for the first time within ten years of it coming out.)

    And Dark City is so awesome. It’s a shame how few people know it. At least here in Germany, it was released after The Matrix, since big-budget films make it across the pond faster, and it was perceived as an also-ran/been-there-done-that thing.

  28. Adam Ant might have been decent in the part as he was acting by that point. He could play the pretty king and/or a large goblin with his build if Henson wanted a creepy ending.

  29. ojhwel – Did you see the first Captain America movie that came out a few years back? If you have, you’ve already seen THE ROCKETEER. Same retro-throwback cornball flagwaving “let’s have fun punching Nazis!” spirit. Marvel hired Joe Johnston to pretty much remake ROCKETEER, just instead of a jet pack the hero has a flying shield. I found both pictures charming. It’s actually fun in retrospect looking at ROCKETEER and thinking if you changed this and that, that could’ve easily been an unofficial prequel to the first Cap movie. (Substitute Howard Hughes for his MCU avatar, Howard Stark for one…)

    Favorite scene: our all-American hero makes fun of baddie Timothy Dalton for being a dandy movie star who needs stuntmen. Dalton kicks his ass and retorts proudly “I do my own stunts!”

    Broddie – Sorry buddy but Connelly was the weak link in ROCKETEER for me. No chemistry with the cast.

  30. Vern – I’m a Bowie fan so to give context to why that movie’s soundtrack was whatever by paraphrasing Bowie: LET’S DANCE the record was a mega hit and made him #1 again, and he’s got a new MTV-era audience of kids. And in retrospect this fucked him creatively because he was trying to chase that too much and cater to that crowd. Doesn’t mean all that post-LD music from that decade was bad, but…looking there for good Bowie shit is like looking for good Steven Seagal shit in SUBMERGED.

  31. Also a clarification above for ojhwel: Joe Johnston directed both ROCKETEER and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.*

    *=Off-topic: rumor going around that the next Spider-Man film (that Marvel is producing) will be titled….get this….”Spider-Man: The New Avenger.” Yeech.

  32. Is it bad that I think Jennifer Connelly was achingly beautiful in ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA despite the fact that she was…ya know, 14 years old?

    I mean she remained beautiful afterward and she still is a beautiful woman, but there’s something about her at that age that is just…wow, you know what I mean?

  33. Of course Jennifer Connelly was at her peak hotness in the early 90’s, the era of THE ROCKETEER, CAREER OPPORTUNITIES and THE HOT SPOT.

  34. Vern, your search function leads me to believe you’ve never reviewed DARK CITY, the lack of references to it might mean you’ve never even seen it. This is something you should remedy at your earliest convenience. It may be director Alex Proyas’s only good film (I, ROBOT and KNOWING, not so much, and I’ve never gotten around to see THE CROW), but it was written by David S. Goyer (no need for credits) and Lem Dobbs (THE LIMEY, HAYWIRE) and perfectly combines the farmer’s sci-fi leanings with the latter’s noir sensibilities. Also, it includes the world’s finest Kiefer-Sutherland-channeling-Peter-Lorre performance, and I think the only ‘I’m Roger Ebert and I approve this movie’ commentary apart from CITITZEN effin KANE.

  35. * ‘the f_o_rmer’s sci-fi leanings’. Serves me right for trying to write more than a text message on Android

  36. The Original Paul

    January 2nd, 2016 at 9:22 am

    ojhwel – I kinda agree with RRA on THE ROCKETEER, but I’d actually go further than him. It’s the same director as CAPTAIN AMERICA, but it (THE ROCKETEER) is way, way better. To me at least THE ROCKETEER had way more likeable characters, a more interesting setting, a great villain (a scenery-chewing Timothy Dalton), and of course Jennifer Connelly, who was to be my youth “film crush” for a good while after seeing it. It has some weird stuff too (some of the villains are DICK TRACY-esque grotesques) but that’s kind of its charm. To me, anyway.

    When I first saw CAPTAIN AMERICA, I didn’t realise it was the same director, and my first thought was: “this kinda rips off THE ROCKETEER… a shame they didn’t get why that film worked so well.”

  37. The Original Paul

    January 2nd, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Griff – young Jennifer Connelly has one of those rare faces that you just can’t “age”. This is why it was so weird to me seeing her in LABYRINTH after years of having a crush on ROCKETEER-era Connelly. Without looking up the information on IMDB, I couldn’t tell if she’s thirteen years old in LABYRINTH or twenty-six. It’s like, you need to see her standing next to another human being to gauge her height, because that’s always going to be the most reliable way of working out her age. In LABYRINTH I think she has one scene with her family right at the start, and then that’s pretty much it… she’s never sharing screentime with another human being (apart from Bowie, who doesn’t count).

    It’s like… she’s clearly a full-fledged and very attractive adult in THE ROCKETEER… but then you see LABYRINTH where she might very well still be a teenager… and it’s genuinely difficult to tell. And seriously awkward to suddenly see your previous “crush” now playing what’s basically a child.

  38. RRA/Paul – Thanks. For some reason, Cap is my favorite of the MCU characters. (I’ll probably be the only one of my friends not to be on Team Tony in May.) So that sounds interesting. I put the Blu-ray in my amazon cart just now, it’s really cheap currently, especially for a Disney movie. I’ll get back to you, but it might be a few weeks — I’d like to be in the right mood for a retro experience like this.

  39. “It has some weird stuff too (some of the villains are DICK TRACY-esque grotesques) ”

    Original Paul – If you’re talking about the henchman, he was pastiche of Rondo Hatton who was a 1940s actor for Universal horror movies, the same way Dalton was playing an Errol Flynn-inspired villain. The same way that in the original Dave Stevens source comic, Connelly’s character was originally a stand-in for Bettie Page (before Disney frowned upon it for obvious reasons and demanded rewrites.)

  40. ojhwel – I’m on Team Cap too. (That scene in the trailer of him and Bucky ganging up on Iron Man gave me life.)

  41. So like, David Bowie just died.

    We’re not even a month into 2016 and already there’s a major celebrity death, what is up with that? I’m almost getting numb to it by this point, it happens way too often nowadays.

  42. I gotta be honest. Celebrity deaths rarely get to me, because I didn’t know them personally. Robin Williams’ came kinda close, but mostly because suicide through depressions hits pretty close to home.

    But yeah, sad to hear that Bowie is gone. (And with “gone” I don’t mean “dead”, but “He has returned to his homeplanet, because life on earth started to bore him”.) I’m not gonna pretend that I’m the biggest Bowie fan. I only own one CD of his (The among his true fans and critics pretty controverse “Earthling” album.), but you can’t deny his talent, charisma and willingness to early adapt new technologies,styles and set trends. Unlike Lady Gaga, MGMT all those other Bowie wannabes, he didn’t seem to dress up weird or make songs that wouldn’t be played on the radio if someone else did them, because he wanted to convince everybody that he was an artist. He did that because he really was one couldn’t give two fucks if the kids liked it or not. I mean, he did songs 40 years ago, that still can be played on alternative radios these days!

    Anyway, sad to see him leave.

  43. My first thought is at how unfortunately we’ll see a lot of this for the next 20 years at the most. Baby boomers are all in their golden years now. Whether it be music, film, television, comedy, theater, literature and most importantly the ones in our own lives. Say what you will about the business they created out of nostalgia, but they truly still stand as the giants we all stand on the shoulders of, for better or worse.

    He’s certainly in the upper echelon of those in music that reset the clock and created new means of expression for people. It was as visual as it was sonic, long before MTV. Whether it was glam, neo-soul, minimalism, etc, etc. he set the pace many still follow. I can’t pretend to be a total Bowie historian myself, but even from the distance I am at the significance of his career cannot be understated. I love a lot of his music, and his recent work counts as some of his best IMO.

    Definitely had a presence in movies too. Whether it was an actor, in something like THE PRESTIGE where he manages to steal the movie away anytime he’s on screen. Or if it’s been the use of his music in films, most notably for me in stuff like SE7EN and LOST HIGHWAY. I think the best use of his music was in THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, especially when the titular character smokes a joint on his boat to the booming sound of “Life on Mars?”.

  44. I’m not one to usually make a big stink out of celebrity deaths either. However as a music junkie it is going to take me sometime to adjust to a world without David Bowie. As someone who still jams around on the regular at home it feels like the part of me that he influenced has had it’s light snuffed out.

    R.I.P. David Bowie and peace be with you in advance Duncan Jones.

  45. Crushinator Jones

    January 11th, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Well guys, sorry but David Bowie being gone just ripped my guts out. Especially because Blackstar was a pretty damn good, weird album that I enjoyed and I looked forward to getting a Bowie surprise every couple of years.

    Bowie was, quite simply, a Real Original – a True Badass who followed his passions for artifice and showmanship wherever it took him. So I’m gonna pour one out for him tonight.

  46. Yeah Blackstar was a nice surprise. He certainly went out on top. His marriage to Iman has also always been my relationship goal. The world really is less brighter without Bowie in it when you remember what an upstanding, humble and graceful humanitarian he really was (ie: declining knighthood, always speaking on entertainment industry racism and unfairness etc.).

  47. The only other celeb deaths to really hit me this hard were Stanley Kubrick’s, Michael Jackson’s and Tupac Shakur’s.

  48. Finally watched this one in honor of Bowie – it’s got some iconic images and an endless imagination, but I think the end was kind of anticlimactic and a little confusing. When she says to Hoggle “I don’t know why, but every now and again I need you” – I was like, “wait didn’t you just meet these people?” Or was that supposed to be a twist, like this isn’t the first adventure she’s had with these characters? I do like how up-front this movie is about its influences, however – most movies would just rip off Wizard of Oz and MC Escher, etc… I like how this movie straight up recognizes them first before incorporating them – it’s proudly meta for a kids’ film, and it thematically makes sense since the whole thing is taking place in her head anyway. (How awesome would it be if we saw a David Bowie poster in her room at the end?)

    Muddled ending aside, I still loved it and it pretty much reinforces the whole “Practical is better! Down with CGI!” complaint everyone has to say now to show what a big film buff they are. This is exhibit A for why it IS better – the puppets and sets are absolutely mind-blowing and if someone was to make this movie (or at least a movie in this style) today, everyone would lose their minds.

    Oh, one more Lucas-ism – the end with the rock army fighting the goblin army plays out exactly like the Ewok battle in Return of the Jedi. The primitive army basically wins by bonking the goblins on the head and guerilla tactics, the bad guys have an ATST-style gun walking on two legs, and the battle goes on a few beats too long and I started to think to myself “This really seems familiar”.

  49. Crushinator Jones

    January 15th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    She was pointing out to Hoggle that even adults occasionally need to indulge in flights of fancy. She needs what they represent – fantastical adventures and excitement.

    I love the fart swamp in this movie so much. It could have been a stupid, puerile gag but the addition of actual swamp buttholes blasting ass makes it sublime.

  50. I dated a girl who looked like a young Jennifer Connelly for about a year. She was dumb as hell, a total failure at everything, an alcoholic, started doing meth, and god knows what else… but I was helpless. She could get drunk and run over a mini fridge on the highway in my car and I would look into her green eyes and make excuses to myself as to why I was letting this gorgeous creature ruin my life.

    LABYRINTH was so dull. It had some interesting parts that are impressive for how they were done before CGI – my favorite is the wall of hands. How many times did they practice that before they got the final cut?? But overall the story is inert. Too bad.

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