The Moolah Theater and Lounge holds midnight screenings of classic films every Friday and Saturday for only $3. The Moolah has already screened great films such as Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster thriller Jaws and the Coen Brother’s cult comedy hit The Big Lebowski.
They will be screening a different movie every weekend until Oct. 25-26, which will end with Bill Murray’s Ghostbusters. With restored picture and sound, this is a great way for movie lovers to view their favorites how they were supposed to be seen – on the big screen.
This past weekend was the screening of Jim Henson’s fantasy-inspired tale Labyrinth (1986). Jim Henson, who is most famous for his work on The Muppets, departs from the lighthearted affairs of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to darker subject matter in Labyrinth. Despite the stylistic switch to a more sinister plot, Labyrinth retains much of the humor that made The Muppets so enjoyable and makes for great escapist movie making.
Sarah (a young Jennifer Connelly) is enamored with fairly tales and seems to be trapped in a bad one herself. She has a cruel stepmother who tries to control her life and a father who doesn’t seem to care much about her. Angered that she has to babysit her baby brother, Toby, again, she wishes that he would be whisked away to the Land of the Goblins.
Unfortunately for her, goblins lurking in her house answer her plea and take the baby away. Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) tells her that if she wishes to retrieve her brother, she must reach his castle by navigating a labyrinth in 13 hours, or else Toby will be transformed into a goblin forever.
Labyrinth is a unique film because it heavily relies on puppets to convey its story. Besides the two human actors, the world of Labyrinth is populated entirely by puppets. Each puppet in the film, no matter its significance to the plot, is intricately detailed. Every character has a distinct personality and it truly feels like they inhabit the world of Labyrinth.
I often caught myself wondering how they achieved certain effects using just puppets. The puppets move with such conviction that it truly gives the impression that the puppets are alive and moving on their own accord. It’s a somewhat disturbing effect, but also a testament to Henson’s deft sleight of hand.
For most of the film, Labyrinth is highly entertaining and the plot moves at a brisk pace. New characters and locations are constantly introduced which serve to highlight the absurdity and complexity of the maze. The sets are wonderfully designed and lend the viewer a tangible glimpse into the world of Labyrinth.
However, the one aspect of the film that works against it are the musical numbers. There are a handful of these littered about the film and they were all by Bowie. The songs are extremely forgettable and do not serve any appreciable advancement in the plot. It feels like Bowie’s songs never really fit within the larger scope of the narrative and that they were forced into the film.
As for the human actors, Connelly does a serviceable job but often comes across as whiny, which can become irritating. Bowie on the other hand is a different story. His appearance in the movie just screams 80s: big hair, flamboyant costumes and spandex. He is probably the only person who could make this work, as his performance does not come off as cheesy or melodramatic. He really owns the role and does a great job as King Jareth.
I would highly recommend you rent this movie. While it may be dated, the film tells an intriguing story with a memorable cast of characters. All Labyrinth asks you to do is sit back and go along for the ride. You will not be disappointed.