June 5th, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

With the creative might of Jim Henson behind it, Labyrinth was everything The Dark Crystal nearly was, combining live action with the most advanced puppetry, marionette and animatronic technology of the day as young Sarah (the then-ravishing Jennifer Connelly) is bored babysitting her baby brother and dreams instead of a fantasy world of goblins and witches, dangers and romance.

When she wishes a little too hard, the goblin king Jareth (Bowie) obliges, kidnapping her brother and setting Sarah on a quest to rescue him if she can reach Jareth’s castle through a massive labyrinth that runs through his kingdom.

Nowadays it would all be done in CGI and would lose all the love and soul Henson was so careful to put into his characters – from their design to the way they interact with the then-16 year old protagonist. Of course, you need to put yourself in the right frame of mind to appreciate it — it’s a kids movie so the jokes are lame and the danger more Frogger than Grand Theft Auto.

Connelly disappeared for years and then started collecting kudos in work like Requiem For a Dream and A Beautiful Mind until reaching the confirmed status of the A list with recent films like Hulk and Blood Diamond . She’s still gorgeous and a great actress but too skinny.

Most disappointing though is that the only guy they could dig up for a commentary was a conceptual designer. It’s like asking the tea lady about the long-term investment strategy of an investment bank.