Saturday, July 9, 2011

After watching Labyrinth on Netflix instant play.

It had been a while since I last saw Labyrinth, probably on VHS. I had forgotten many things about this film:
  • The gratuitous Bowie musical numbers. Not enough to be a musical, just enough to make me wonder why they were there (other than the fact that it seemed a shame to have Bowie there and not have him sing.)
  • The CGI owl. How much did that cost them? Boy, the effect didn't age as well as the puppets, which were great.
  • The fact that most of the characters in the rest of the film appear as toys and items in Sarah's room as they pan through it. I told my wife that I think this clearly means that this film is really the day that Sarah finally has a psychotic break as she begins manifesting severe schizophrenia as an adolescent. She thought that this was probably not the point of the film.
  • How young Jennifer Connelly was. Which is a sign of my middle-age, since I'm only three years older than her. But I did like the fact that, unlike many 80s film, they hired a 15-ish girl to play a 15 year old.
The film is ripe with ideas to steal for those old-schoolers interested in building megadungeons. There are puzzles, tricks, and traps galore, some of which are basically steampunky in design, and thus might fit well into your own megadungeon. But playing out that Escher-inspired final room would be a bit of a challenge.

Other than that, it is an uneven film. High on imagination, filled with great puppetry, but often seeming to veer around without strong mooring in mood, style or plot. Never so badly as to ruin the experience, but enough that in its day it was a box-office flop, with audiences unsure of whether or not this was a children's movie or what it was supposed to be.