Decades Blogathon — Labyrinth (1986)

1986

Greetings, and welcome back around to another edition of the Decades Blogathon! It is my pleasure getting to co-host this great event with Three Rows Back — a site if you are finding out about for the first time right now (or if it’s been awhile . . .) you must absolutely drop by. Mark is the reason this blogathon exists! 

Anywho, today I’d like to welcome Filmscorehunter, who’s the pen behind The Cinematic Frontier, a very user-friendly and diverse site featuring everything from reviews of films both new and old, to Blu-Ray recommendations to blogathon posts (just like this one!). Go on and pop around there if you like what you read here. Now let me step aside and let him take over . . . 


'Labyrinth' movie poster

Jim Henson brought joy and education to children and adults through TV programs such as Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.  He eventually became involved in feature filmmaking as well (such as the first three Muppet movies; he made his directorial debut with 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper).  After co-directing 1982’s The Dark Crystal with Frank Oz, Henson next focused on another fantasy film that would require technical challenges that pushed the limits of special effects technology at the time (and would also be a musical).  I was fortunate enough to catch a midnight screening of Labyrinth three years ago on the big screen at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema during a visit to Atlanta, Georgia.  It was fun seeing it again after having seen it many years before on cable.  I was finally able to catch a midnight screening of the film a few months ago at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City, and it was a joy to see it once more on the big screen.  This review of Labyrinth is my entry in the Decades Blogathon hosted by Three Rows Back & Digital Shortbread.

1986’s Labyrinth follows a teenage girl who embarks on a quest to save her baby brother, who’s being held hostage by the Goblin King in his castle after she had originally wished for him to take her half-brother away.  Henson gathered together an impressive ensemble that includes Jennifer Connelly (as Sarah Williams), David Bowie (as Jareth the Goblin King), Toby Froud (as Toby Williams), Christopher Malcolm (as Robert Williams), Shelley Thompson (as Irene Williams), Brian Henson (as the voice of Hoggle), Ron Mueck (as the voice of Ludo), David Shaughnessy (as the voices of Sir Didymus and the Wiseman’s bird hat), Percy Edwards (as the voice of Ambrosius), Timothy Bateson (as the voice of the Worm), Michael Hordern (as the voice of the Wiseman), Denise Bryer (as the voice of the Junk Lady), David Healy (as the voice of the Right Door Knocker), Robert Beatty (as the voice of the Left Door Knocker), and Kevin Clash (as the voice of Firey #1).  Connelly gives an engaging performance as the young Sarah, who must undertake a physical and emotional journey through a labyrinth in order to get to the Goblin King’s castle.  Bowie is simultaneously cruel, seductive, and otherworldly as the Goblin King in a mesmerizing performance.

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The screenplay by Terry Jones explores a coming-of-age story influenced by The Wizard of Oz, Alice In Wonderland, Outside Over There, and Where the Wild Things Are.  Alex Thomson’s cinematography is beautiful, and Elliot Scott’s production design creates a diverse number of locations, including swamps, villages, and castle interiors (I especially loved the M.C. Escher-esque stairs and the Bog of Eternal Stench).  The costume designs by Brian Froud and Ellis Flyte are stunning (especially the ones featured in the ballroom sequence), and John Grover’s editing moves the film at a good pace.  The spectacular special effects are a seamless blend of practical effects, puppetry, and blue screen compositing.  Trevor Jones delivers an eclectic score that complements the songs contributed by Bowie (As the World Falls Down is my favorite song of the bunch).  Henson’s Labyrinth is a remarkable achievement that showcases an entertaining coming-of-age story as well as his boundless imagination.  Although not a box office success, it has developed a cult following over the last 30 years and is now a classic fantasy film.


Photo credits: http://www.brandedinthe80s.com; http://www.avclub.com

Decades Blogathon Update: We have our line-up!

Decades Blogathon banner 2016

Hey there one and all! Well it pleases me greatly to announce the official line-up of the 2016 Decades Blogathon, and so quickly. Thank you for responding so quickly and Mark and I both look forward to jumping in here and reading what you all have to say about your chosen movies. Once again this year we have an impressively eclectic selection of titles, and that’s just the way we like it.

So here’s how things are going to play out. Once again, there will be one review posted each day either on this site or on Three Rows Back, and whichever site it doesn’t go up on first, it will be re-blogged there on that day.

Posts are ordered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Which means our esteemed blogging machine Rob from Movie Rob kicks things off in style with his review of Top Gun (1986) — (way to pick a classic, Rob! 🙂 ) — and Mark, the brains behind this whole operation, will conclude things with his thoughts on Taxi Driver, which came out the decade prior.

I guess I could also mention when you can expect to see these posts start going up. We have decided that Monday, May 16 will be the first day of posting. Please have entries in latest by Friday the 13th, that way sloths like me will have time to sort through the reviews and get them formatted and set-up for presentation.

Because the spots filled so quickly this year, we’re anticipating a few late requests. Though we won’t be able to expand the pool to more than 20, last year we had one or two people duck out of the race at the last second, so if you find yourself on the outside looking in, you might just have a chance to get in if you let us know soon. If someone does drop out, those spots will be yours (again, on a first-come, first-serve basis). Thanks for your interest everyone and we look forward to getting this thing rolling on the 16th.


  1. Movie Rob — Top Gun (1986)
  2. Keith & the Movies — Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
  3. It Rains, You Get Wet — The Outlaw Josey Whales (1976)
  4. Cindy Bruchman — Notorious (1946)
  5. Ramblings of a Cinephile — The Battle of Algiers (1966)
  6. The Last Picture Blog — Andrei Rublev (1966)
  7. Fast Film Reviews — The Ten Commandments (1956)
  8. Flick Chicks — The Fountain (2006)
  9. Drew’s Movie Reviews — Grandma’s Boy (2006)
  10. Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger — Scream (1996)
  11. Defiant Success — Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  12. The Cinematic Frontier — Labyrinth (1976)
  13. Movie Man Jackson — She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
  14. Nola Film Vibes  — Stand By Me (1986)
  15. Flixchatter — Casino Royale (2006)
  16. Carly Hearts Movies — Trainspotting (1996)
  17. Epileptic Moondancer — The Tenant (1976)
  18. Marked Movies — A Scanner Darkly (2006)
  19. Digital Shortbread — Inside Man (2006)
  20. Three Rows Back — Taxi Driver (1976)