Movies-A-Go-Go: Labyrinth

1986 fantasy movie

Rating: 15/20

Plot: A bratty teen gets exactly what she wishes for when goblins steal her little brother. She has to navigate her way through a tricky maze with the help of some puppets in order to retrieve him from an androgynous glam rocker.

I hadn't seen this since I was a kid and didn't figure I would like it as an adult, but I intended to watch it after Bowie's death because I couldn't think of a better way to honor David Bowie than to spend some quality time with his codpiece. I'm always amazed with Muppet movies because of how well the puppets, very obviously puppets, mesh with the reality, and this Jim Henson production does the same thing. The monsters, goblins, trolls, and other critters don't need to look real because this isn't that kind of movie. If this were remade today, the filmmakers would ruin the feel of the thing by trying to make it all realistic with CGI. The story here is thin, our protagonist is difficult to root for, and some of this is really really goofy, but this is a project fueled by imagination, and combined with the wizardry of Henson's crew, that fearless imagination is a force to be reckoned with.

Anyway, I decided to Movie-A-Go-Go this. In case you're new to my blog, the Movie-A-Go-Go format is one of the most popular blog features. With these real-time ramblings typed up as I watch the film and cleaned up slightly afterward, you very nearly get the experiences of sitting down and watching a movie with me--Shane. Or maybe it's more like you get to be in my head while I watch the movie. Maybe that's why I've been getting so many headaches lately.

Here we go!

This might be the worst opening credit animation I’ve ever seen. This crappy-looking animated owl is the kind of thing you have to endure.

Look at this fucking thing! We're off to a bad start, Labyrinth

“Life isn’t always easy.”  You’re right, David Bowie. Sometimes, you have to watch poorly-animated owls. (Note: According to this movie's trivia page at, this was the first attempt at using a CGI animal in a movie. It was a mistake. That last part is from me, not the trivia page.)

I was hoping I’d get to hear this Bowie song again. Maybe not three minutes later though.

“She treats me like a wicked stepmother in a fairy story no matter what I say.” Maybe if you wouldn’t refer to them as “fairy stories,” your dorky immature step-daughter would take you more seriously.

I’ve had four babies and can verify that the best way to quiet an upset baby is to tell a boring, incoherent story about goblins. If there's one thing babies love, it's stories about goblins.

This motley crew of goblins would have been perfect for Nilbog.

David Bowie insisted that some of his friends got speaking parts in this movie which gives me an excuse to make a Troll 2 reference. 

I tried wishing my little sister away after seeing this movie as a kid. The power did actually go out, but my sister was still around unfortunately.

Labyrinth trivia: Nobody did anything with Bowie’s make-up, hair, or wardrobe. This is just how he looked on a normal day. Henson was too impressed that the singer brought his own codpiece that he couldn't hire anybody else for the role of Jareth.

“Come on, feet.” Everything Sarah does or says annoys me a little more. I hate this character.

Peeing goblin! Right there demonstrates the magic of Jim Henson. (Note: I'm on a two-movie "pissing scene" streak.) 

I wish Hoggle would chase her around this thing with an ax. I can't recall, but I really hope there's a "Heeeeerrrrrre's Hoggle!" moment.

When in doubt, just throw a fit and start whining again. Have I mentioned that I hate this character?

This had to be traumatic for this baby. Plop the poor kid down in the middle of a bunch of creepy puppets? (Note: The baby is played by Toby Froud in what, so far, is his only role.)

See? Traumatized Toby ended up like this. 

“I saw my baby crying hard as babe can cry.” I love how David Bowie could sing anything with passion. That lyric makes no sense, David!

Did this “Dance Magic Dance” song win an Academy Award? I’ll have to look that up after I look up the age that this baby playing Toby committed suicide. (Note: I was wrong about Toby. Also, "Magic Dance" did not win an Academy Award. According to Wikipedia, the song is also known as "Dance Magic," which is probably only funny because it's about 1:30 in the morning as I'm working on this.) 

“Your mother is a fragging aardvark!”

Fake baby special effects as Bowie and a goblin play catch with him! Still looks more realistic than the scene in American Sniper.

I’m finding it impossible to root for Sarah in this movie. (Note: I apologize for the redundancy.)

Helping Hands Well, where you get groped all the way down. You have to pay a pretty penny to get this experience these days. I wonder which hands are Donald Trump’s, by the way?

Oubliette? Is that a real word?

Surprised they didn’t have Hoggle taking a dump this second time we meet him. (Note: I like the character fine, but there's no chance at a Billy Curtis award because the woman who is in the suit isn't the person doing the voice. Tough luck, Shari Weiser.)

One of those talking wall faces sounded like Inspector Gadget’s nemesis, Dr. Claw.

If you know me at all, you might suspect that I'm including this only to make a cheap Donald Trump pussy-grabbin' joke. I will not, however, be doing that.

Suspended headfirst in the bog of eternal stench? That's how I feel about teaching middle school.

Hoggle’s face got a little too close to Bowie’s codpiece there.


“The cleaners” reminds me of the giant and completely impractical decapitation device in Caligula.

(Note: These things aren't even close!)

Speaking of eternal stenches, how bad do you think Hoggle smells?

Now Sarah is stealing. This character isn’t likable at all. I guess you'd have to call her an antiheroine.

I wish I had a bird on my head to punctuate everything I saw with a hearty “Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!”

“It’s so stimulating being your hat.” I can't believe that was something that somebody wrote in a screenplay, but I love it.

Seriously, so much imagination. Even if you hate the character, the slight story, David Bowie's songs, the writing, or whatever, you have to appreciate the imaginative powers that went into the creation of this thing. There are just so many ideas thrown into this thing!

“I ain’t never been no one’s friend before.” Maybe that’s because of your propensity to use triple negatives?

Ludo probably has a terrible flea problem and seems a little dense.

Surprised I haven't seen Ludo in memes. Pair that picture with "What? You mean these choices I'm given for this presidential election?"

“What’s this?” It’s a peach, Hoggle. I'd expect Ludo not to know something as simple as this, but I expect more from you, Hoggle.

This bog of stench thing is starting to sound like a made-up thing.

Forget the bog of stench. This hyper bunch of fuzzy red marionettes singing this terrible song and playing basketball with each other’s heads is a much worse punishment. The Bog of Eternal Fuzz Red Marionettes! Although I do have to say that this reminds me of about half of the sex dreams I've ever had.

Imagine a bunch of these!

Her head don’t come off? I wish it would.

The bog of eternal stench actually makes fart sounds. Again, that's the magic of Jim Henson.

Sometimes I wish we all could be as simple-minded as Ludo. “Smell bad!” I bet I know who Ludo would vote for in this presidential election. (Note: I apologize for the politics.) 

Sir Didymus lost his eye. You have to wonder how.

Those teeth are a little too realistic. 

How did they put Didymus on a dog like that? Amazing! I can't even tell if that's a puppet dog or a real dog. It reminds me of watching the monkey ride the dog at the Palestine rodeo I used to go to as a kid.

Uh oh. Sarah thought the bog of eternal stench was bad. Now, she’s just wandered into a PG version of the Eyes Wide Shut orgy.

I once dated somebody who looked a little like the garbage lady.

Junk Lady. I was close. 

The details in this German Expressionism village with all this puppet action is really impressive. There’s just so much to see.

MC Escher apparently designed the goblin castle.

This song Bowie’s singing in the Escher stair place makes no sense in the context of the story or its characters.

“I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me.” I’m going to start using that line with my wife.

Sarah’s going to get in trouble for having her friends over when her parents are gone.

And this really becomes just a story about a girl who is driven mad because of a crying baby. Sarah just wasn't made for babysitting.

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