Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud
Director: Jim Henson
Running Time: 101 mins
Labyrinth is an American film about a young girl who, after wishing for goblins to take her annoying baby brother away, rethinks her actions and is whisked away to a mysterious world where she has thirteen hours to navigate a complex labyrinth to save her brother.
This film is clinically insane. It’s basically just The Wizard Of Oz on drugs, with a weird David Bowie soundtrack behind it to make it all the more bizarre, and it does just get a bit too much at points. Despite that, there’s a good central performance by a young Jennifer Connelly, and some cool costume and set designs as well as puppets that make this a bit more of a light-hearted romp.
The main problem with this film is that it’s just a little tonally confused. You can easily tell that it’s all meant to be a laugh, and not to be taken too seriously, due to the extreme exaggerations of the fantasy elements as well as some insane farce throughout. However, it’s occasionally quite dark, and it’s impossible to really care about those more dramatic parts which effectively make the story, meaning that it’s not the most interesting film to follow.
The weirdness of the atmosphere does also get a bit much at times. Again, the exaggerated insanity is quite funny and entertaining initially, but the fact that it continues it on such a constant basis, whilst you’re not really laughing that much, means that it’s just not as fun to sit through over the course of the whole film, again making it a little boring.
On the other hand, if you can get into the bizarre character of this film, it’s surely by all means a lot of fun, something that is most successfully shown in its visuals. Firstly, the sets look a lot like those in the ill-fated sequel Return To Oz, however this film manages to make the weird brown/grey-ish look work atmospherically, and when that’s combined with some crazy puppets who fit right into that setting, it’s suddenly a much more entertaining fantasy concept than it initially appears.
What’s more about this is that Jennifer Connelly is excellent. She completely overacts, which is quite annoying initially, however her character grows on you throughout the film, due to her very convincing and un-childlike performance at a younger age, something that is a joy to watch in the middle of the whole weird thing.
Overall, this gets a 7.0, because despite being at times too weird and a little dull, this is a good-looking film with a strong central performance and, if you’re into it, an enjoyably crazy atmosphere.