Director: Jim Henson.
Starring. David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, USA. 1h 47m.
It’s hard to write to about films that have been around so long, that are so wildly popular, but alas it’s a film that I’ve seen; many times and therefore it has a place on my illustrious blog, but don’t expect me to take this review all that serious, because that would be boring and this film like so many other Henson productions always suggest that you shouldn’t take life too serious.
The film is a meeting of three great talents and a lavish history of children’s fairy tales, arranged and directed by Jim Henson’s who made a range of amazing creatures in all sizes, all built around the twisted imagination of renowned Brian Froud, and with the presence of David Bowie the film already has enough credentials for perfection, and it literally all the ingredients you need for the faultless fantasy film.
Drawing on the massive archive of Froud’s folklore creatures and the curious ones he casts up from somewhere dark inside and a host of legends and stories from Grimm and other classic writers, the battle between good and evil continues, as a dark goblin king Jareth (Bowie) fights for the baby brother of a whimsical teen Sarah (Connelly). While babysitting her little brother Toby, Sarah accidently asks for the Goblin King to take him, so he does! Sarah is distraught and goes in search for the little tot, who’s now in the Goblin King’s Castle. All Sarah has to do is traverse the goblin kingdom’s labyrinth and rescue her brother by midnight. But nothing makes sense in this world and no one plays fair. Sarah is sent the wrong way on several occasions, tricked, micky finned, imprisoned and constantly lied to but the plucky 15 year old is tough and dedicated to getting her brother back, rather than facing up the rents I suppose, not sure what the charges would be for losing a baby to a unknown entity!?
The world in which Sarah is lost in, while fairly dangerous is absolutely gorgeous, I even have found memories of the bog of stench, but the forests, and goblin city look exactly as you’d picture them from fairytales, and so much work went into them, the detail is outstanding, absolutely nothing is overlooked. Froud’s creatures and artwork have mesmerised many generations with it’s devilish quirkiness and there’s barely a child alive that hasn’t been touch by Henson’s creations (oh err) and while a lot of the characters are quite new, others can be likened back to Fraggles and Sesame Street but all with a touch of Froudness to them.
Sarah does befriend a few of the creatures who actually help her, Ludo, a giant.. thing, very soft at heart and has the ability to call rocks, I suppose he’s kinda like the Rock Biter from Neverending Story (1984), Sir Didymus, a wry old fox and his Steed Ambrosius, (a sheepdog),and the main catalyst character, Hoggle, who reminds me of the typical Hob, he’s s dwarf like creature who befriends Sarah but is easily pushed around by the Jareth and manages to have the most devastating effect on her journey, but he means well.
It certainly feels like all the better aspects of all fantasy journeys, be it Alice in Wonderland type jaunt through Neverending Story’s Fantasia, with the very best animatronic and creativity leading the way. it’s certainly an unforgettable story that should remain a solid favourite for fans of all ages for a very long time to come.
But let’s just show some appreciation for this..
R – The Dark Crystal (1982), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Willow (1988), Princes Bride (1987) , Legend(1985), Mirror Mask (2005), Neverending Story (1984) Alice in Wonderland (1966)
L – A-Z of Fantasy Vol 1.
5s – David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly