Labyrinth

“Turn back, Sarah. Turn back before it’s too late!”

After working on The Dark Crystal together, Jim Henson and Brian Froud wanted to do another project together, but they had a few stipulations. One, they didn’t want to tell a story that was so dark. Two, they didn’t want it to be all puppets – they wanted to include people as well. After locking those in, they came up with a concept that included goblins stealing a baby, and away they went. Steal away with us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we add another Listener’s Choice episode with Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, selected by Melanie from Melbourne! 

We talk to Melanie about why she picked this film for us to discuss. We dig into our own histories with the movie and Andy acknowledges that some of his 13-year-old self may be coloring his view on the film today. We look at the film overall, both at what works and what doesn’t. We chat about Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie and look at what they’re each bringing to the table. We also talk about the slew of puppeteers working hard to make this world come to life through many types of puppetry. We debate the quality of Bowie’s music in the film, regardless of how catchy it may be. We look at some bigger issues going on in the film regarding adolescence and leaving childish ways behind (not to mention the timely lenses of seeing the film as a story about an older man lusting after a much younger girl). We look at Henson as a director and wonder if he might be more of a technician who brings amazing puppets to life than a director. We debate if the film feels cohesive or feels too disjointed. And we try to not comment on Bowie’s pants but find we can’t help ourselves.

It’s a film that one of us loves and the other finds fairly middle-ground, but one that warrants a fantastic discussion. So check it out (or don’t – it’s up to you) then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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