Last Night: Labyrinth at the Clay Theater
December 5-6, 2008
The Clay Theater
Review by Melissa Baron
Better than: David Bowie on the big screen is only trumped by one thing -- David Bowie live on stage.
David Bowie and Jim Henson (not to mention Frank Oz) fanatics gathered at midnight Friday for the spectacular display of the epic 1986 film Labyrinth. The film chronicles a young but still hot and fantasy-obsessed Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) through her poor and hasty judgment as a result of teenage angst. Sarah immerses herself in the seemingly pretend world of fantasy until a frustrating night of babysitting causes those worlds to collide. Sarah's step mother (who really doesn't seem very wicked) and father request that she babysit her baby brother during the weekends because unlike her parents, Sarah has no social life. Once her parents leave the baby begins to sob and Sarah goes to make him shut up. She recalls the story of the Labyrinth (a story she acts out in the park with her dog...lame teenager, much?) and accidentally asks the Goblin King to take the baby away.
THE BABY IS GONE! An owl tears through the window and suddenly there is a vision of pure glam: David Bowie. The Goblin King. He kindly reminds Sarah that she hates her brother and that she asked to have the sparkling androgynous superstar take the baby in the first place. Like most whiny girls, Sarah's horrified that her petty teenage wishes would manifest this way. How will she explain this to her parents? Will they still pay for her liberal arts education after high school? With her brother gone who will she have to resent? Then the King raises the stakes -- if she can't get through the labyrinth to his castle fast enough he's going to turn her brother into a goblin. Then Sarah lets out her first chorus of "it's not fair." Her mantra of sorts.
Entering the Labyrinth, Sarah realizes it's harder than she anticipated and Bowie's rules are far from fair. Monstrous muppets and untold challenges wait around every corner. Fortunately, there is a lesson to be learned from all of this. The power of friendship. Along the way Sarah meets Hoggle, Ludo and Didymus. Hoggle works for the Goblin King but after Sarah declares him as her friend he knows he must help her. He has a very lumpy nose. Ludo, the lovable beast, can summon rocks with his voice. Didymus has no fear and also no proper judgment. As friends they can make it through the labyrinth (even the Bog of Eternal Stench, which is very reminiscent of the Fire Swamp from the Princess Bride) to rescue the baby.
The journey is spattered with wise men, fire-y head throwers, junk ladies (think Fraggle Rock) and many ways to fail. Luckily, they don't. And lucky for the audience, the film is filled with David Bowie songs including "Magic Dance," easily one of his best works. Between the glam, drama, muppets and babies I think it's fair to say Labyrinth is not only a cult classic, but a cinematic masterpiece.
Personal Bias: Come on, it's BOWIE.
Random Detail: There was karaoke before the movie started.
By the Way: It's playing tonight as well. 21+ with a bar.