friday flick fix:

It was 1986. My brother and I were so fond of this cool, new piece of electronic equipment, the Betamax. We had exhausted the collection of safe-for-children movies in the video rental store our dad usually brought us to, so we set out to conquer a new one. I had prevously noticed that just outside our village (behind the old Shakey's where Katipunan Avenue, White Plains Drive and Santolan Boulevard converged), was a small strip of business establishments. I had reason to believe there was a Betamax tape rental shop in there.

Ziba Miras the shop was called, I still remember. I later noticed that it was primarily a gift shop and the video rental just a sideline. The lady managing the shop wore a cloth over her hair; I thought at first she was a nun but realized she was Muslim. She welcomed us with warmly and accommodated our request for membership. She was quick to give us recommendations, and at the top of her list was Labyrinth.

The title neither attracted nor intrigued me; I dismissed it as something I probably didn't want to watch. But then the lady narrated a quick synopsis to my brother, who was more patient than I was. I managed to catch "... princess ... baby brother was captured by the Goblin-King ... Jim Henson's Muppets ... she had to solve the Labyrinth to save ... "

Solve the labyrinth? I was eight years old. What the heck was a labyrinth? I had this mental image of a girl hurriedly turning a huge 3-d puzzle piece.

But at hearing the words princess and muppets, I didn't mind renting it. After watching, I was not disappointed. I not only learned a new vocabulary word, but I entered into a magical world.

Movie Poster from here

Labyrinth (1986)
Starring David Bowie | Jennifer Connely

Directed by Jim Henson
Produced by George Lucas
Synopsis here.

I don't remember it ever making it to Philippine cinemas, but Labyrinth was my first-ever favorite fantasy movie.

Jim Henson was a genius. It was unbelievable. I don't think there was any fantasy world like it before. The story was like an Alice in Wonderland of sorts, but edgy.

In those days, computer animation was extremely difficult to execute, and I'm guessing quite expensive to produce, so this movie had none. They employed the old-fashioned way to do fantasy scenery - the same thing Lucas used for Star Wars: hand-paint a trompe l'oeil on a humongous panel of glass, place it in the background and light it from behind.

The only animated part was the opening billboard, which showed a graceful white owl gliding in the dark.

From here.

Of course that owl would now look jerky and angular, but in 1986, that animation was considered fluid and absolutely breathtaking.

The puppets and animatronics in there were phenomenal. To an eight-year-old, they looked almost real, except that that their faces were too gross.

I became an instant Jennifer Connely fan, though she didn't have many other movies at that time.

The pop-rock soundtrack was written and performed by David Bowie. Jump macic jump ... dance magic dance ...

And speaking of - David Bowie as Jared the Goblin King was legendary. It wasn't breakthrough acting, but he really sold the image. I'm pretty sure that a host of Gen-Xers still have this image of him cemented in their minds.

From here.

Okay. This look was utterly eighties. Long hair that was spiky on top, angular shoulders, ruffles, rhinestones and sparkly eye make-up. And don't forget the crotch-gripping tights (not shown here).

It may seem ludicrous now, but that glam-rockstar-crossed-with-a-drag-queen look was real hot back then. A lot of girls (even those my age) fell in crush with David Bowie because of his Goblin King role.

A bit of trivia: Bowie's look as Jared inspired the look of Dream /Morpheus in Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

Though Labyrinth never received much acclaim and was quickly forgotten, it remains one of my favorites. I've recommended it to some of our friends from the younger generation, and despite the lack of CGI and complex action sequences, they loved it.

Through today's swarm of '80s remakes, I have not heard about any hint of a Labyrinth rehash. Most of me just hopes filmmakers would just leave this revered classic alone, but a part of me is curious about how an amped-up, CGI-loaded, nu-metal sountracked version would look.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...