'Labyrinth' returns, as wild as ever

Posted: August 10, 2007

The writer hails from Monty Python, the director invented the Muppets, the executive producer spawned a little thing called Star Wars. Its leading lady was a future Oscar winner. And the villain was played by a British rock god, who also contributed a couple of none-too-shabby songs to the soundtrack.

Labyrinth (***1/2), the 1986 Jim Henson-helmed fantasy, is being rereleased at the Ritz at the Bourse today - and this Alice in Wonderland-y, Wizard of Oz-y yarn about a girl who descends into a land of goblins to rescue her infant brother is a real trip. Jennifer Connelly, 16 at the time, plays the heroine, Sarah; David Bowie is Jareth, the glam rock Goblin King; Pythonite Terry Jones scripted, and George Lucas oversaw the project.

An innovative mix of sophisticated puppetry and special effects, Labyrinth has all the components of classic myth: monsters and mazes, a hero (or heroine) who must overcome fear and self-doubt, and a journey that leads to discovery, and self-discovery.

Connelly, who has grown into an actress of formidable talents (never mind Blood Diamond), is still very much in the throes of teendom here. Bowie sinks his goblin teeth into the role of baby-snatching bad guy with typical panache, and the panoply of funny-faced, furry, freaky beasts Henson and his team created has stood the test of time.

That is, it's still a wild, weird, spooky little world in there.

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