Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Jim Henson

Labyrinth poster  
Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a teenager who loves fantasy, dressing up to recite passages from her favourite book in order to learn it by heart. When her father and stepmother leave her to babysit for yet another weekend, she's fed up. In her frustration with her baby brother's incessant crying she summons the goblins to take young Toby away.

Unfortunately Sarah gets what she wishes for, and immediately regrets it. She has a short time to reach the castle at the centre of the labyrinth and retrieve Toby, before he becomes another goblin and the Goblin King gets to keep him forever.

The Labyrinth is a place full of tricks, wrong turns, and strange creatures. Sarah doesn't know who to trust, and nothing is quite as it seems. She meets and befriends the cowardly Hoggle, a dwarf who loves his collection of jewels. Hoggle seems to be willing to help her, but when the Goblin King threatens him his loyalties are in doubt.

David Bowie plays the Goblin King, Jareth, with appropriately big hair and flamboyant dress. His songs really lift this film up above the average. Although he's supposed to be the villain he's not really nasty enough to be genuinely scary, (unless you count his leggings, which leave too little to the imagination). He's not meant to be, either. None of the scenes in this film are frightening, the emphasis is instead on slapstick, adventure and wholesome family entertainment.

Labyrinth is full of cute and quirky characters and settings. It's a lighthearted children's movie from the creator of The Muppets that avoids being too cute and will keep viewers entertained throughout. It's escapist fun, feelgood, inventive, silly, and it has some great songs. It's as frothy as a shampoo milkshake, but ultimately very likeable.

Film Details

Decade: 1980s

Categories: Films

  Kids     Fantasy

Classification: U

If you like this, try:

Brave cover    

Brave by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
In a fantasy Scotland full of bears, kilts, and haggis, Princess Merida fights for the right to decide her own fate.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader cover    

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader by Michael Apted
In the third film in the Narnia series a sceptical cousin joins the Pevensies on their adventures.

The Secret Of Moonacre cover    

The Secret Of Moonacre by Gabor Csupo
Can Maria Merryweather lift the curse that blights her family and save Moonacre valley?

4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson