Thursday, July 09, 2015

Liveblogging Event: Labyrinth


It's time to sit down and dissect one of my all-time favorite childhood movies: Jim Henson's "Labyrinth." Although this movie was a bomb in the box office, it has established a cult following that would've made Mr. Henson proud. 

I'm a little worried for my mood, though. It's already a gloomy day, and although Jim Henson's name is all over this film, it is a far cry from any of the Muppet movies. 

In celebration of San Diego Comic Con where everyone dresses up as characters and strut their nonsense all over the place, I thought I would celebrate at home with the viewing of this movie that has it's own cult following. 

We begin with our white pegasus jumping over the Tri Star Pictures triangle. I need to ask my mom if I have ever seen a Tri Star Picture in the movie theater. It's been ages since I've seen that beautiful horse jump over words. We need more horses jumping over words.

For those of you tuning in without any knowledge of "Labyrinth," let me give you a short plot synopsis so you don't think I'm too crazy. 

Jennifer Connelly is a bratty teenager asked to babysit her little baby brother. Instead of being somewhat responsible, she's nerd-tastically absorbed into some book or play about a Goblin King at the park. Like, the minute she gets home from acting it out in the park (late because she's supposed to baby sit) she yells at her stepmom, who has done nothing wrong, and runs up to her room to stare at her eyebrows in the mirror, with a paper crown on her head, continuing to recite lines. 

It's like, go to San Diego Comic Con, already.

Am I right? 

She wishes her baby brother away using lines from her Goblin King novel, and wallah! Her baby brother is gone, and she has to confront David Bowie (the Goblin King) to get him back.

Oh, and she and David are the only actual humans on screen -- the rest of them are puppets. 

And, go!
______________________________________________

The nasty babysitter summons the Goblin King to take her brother away

SHUT UP! Do the credits actually include a CGI owl? It's bad CGI ala "Tron," and David Bowie is belting it out like it's his job. As he should. I mean, he wrote the songs.

Yes, there are songs

I can't wait for the karaoke addition to come out (complete with a David Bowie head bouncing over all the words).

We start off with Jennifer Connelly quoting some book in her hand.

"I have fought my way to you, beyond the Goblin City," she quoteths, all eyebrows and LARP (for you non-nerds out there, that stands for Live-Action Role Playing). 

She's late and runs home in the rain as David Bowie serenades us. He sings out how it "hurts like hell!" Whaa? Isn't this a kids movie? Shouldn't you sing something like, "It hurts real bad!" or "Ouch my boo boo!" ?

Cut to: Jennifer Connelly thrashing about her room, yelling about her "stolen" teddy bear named Lancelot. I think she's got bigger issues if she's 17 and crying over her teddy bear. She runs to the baby's room, yells at him about how much she hates him (because he has the bear) and begins to tell him the story about goblins and how they're going to take him! 

And the babysitter award goes to...!

Cut to: Puppet goblins gasp because they're listening to her tell the story. They're biding their time, waiting for her to say the right words. They want to take the baby. It would be scary, but the goblins are kind of cute.

"Awww, let me pinch your cheeks."

Swats at me, "Stop it! We're about to steal a baby!"

Cut to: Jennifer can't get her baby brother to stop crying. She's tried every horror story. First, there was the goblins, but then she unleashed Jason and his machete, but that didn't work. After that, she told the story of Freddie Krueger. She started to tell him the story of "Poltergeist," but the TV scene freaked even her out, so she starts to wish: "Goblin King! Goblin King! Take this baby away from me!" 

Let's stop here and ask a question. Which character from the "Babysitters Club" is she? She's definitely not Dawn.

She's horrible. No wonder the baby is sobbing. 

They must have a mutual hatred for each other. 

Just so you know, there's intense music, lightning, thunder and rain pounding on the window which lets you know that her hateful wish is about to come true. 

She dramatically runs to the crib. The baby is missing! 

Then, there's an owl fluttering at the window, similar to the CGI owl in the opening credits, but this one looks real, or at least, puppety. The windows flutter open and the grandest entrance of all time happens: The Goblin King David Bowie!

Stop listening to his album "Tonight" and pay attention. He looks dashing in his mullet and cape. 

And is that eyeliner on his eyebrows? He's New Wave to the max!

He's all: "Forget about the baby," while he juggles three crystal balls. He's real smarmy right now, stealing babies and hitting on teenage girls. "Go back and play with your toys and costumes. But first, you must admire my eyebrows, my mullet and my leather tights."

Then they teleport to the labyrinth.

Jennifer begins her journey

The Goblin King David Bowie pulls a clock out of the tree once they've landed and tells Jennifer, "You've got thirteen hours to get your baby brother. After that, the adoption is finalized." 

"I started this," Jennifer whispers. "I will end it."  

Jennifer is all proud right now. 

"Come on feet," she declares. She skips up to the entrance of the labyrinth when she stumbles upon an ugly puppet peeing in a pool of water. His name is Hoggle, and he has bug spray that kills fairies. 

I'm being so serious right now. 

Hoggle reminds me of the grouchiest Billy Bob Thorton. 

Jennifer's now in the labyrinth while a drum machine and a bass guitar thrum. There's nasty vines, plants with eyes, and uneven ground in the labyrinth. She believes that there's no bend in the maze, and then, vest and XL button-down shirt billowing, she begins to run. "Maybe I'm not looking at it right, or whatever," she says. She gets nowhere because she's being a total brat again and kicks the wall. 

"I'm totally spazzing!"

As she catches her breath from the 50 meter dash, she meets a talking worm. He's very British and has fuzzy blue hair. He probably teaches culture classes at Worm Labyrinth College. He seems professorial. As of now, he's trying to convince her to have tea with him and his missus, but she's all "stranger, danger." He's not so much of a danger, though, and gives her a tip to start her journey through the labyrinth: just walk through the wall. 

Duh. 

But then they have a "Who's On First" moment with the world that

"Just go that way," he says.

"That way?" she asks.

"No, that way." 

And when she leaves, he says, "She should've gone that way, it would've led her straight to the castle." 

But then we wouldn't have a movie, right Blue Hair?

Cut to: Baby Brother Toby is crying as synth-drums tells us a song is coming. At first you think he's crying at the goblins laughing and trolling all around him, but then you see David Bowie with his high-waisted, tight trousers and a billowy pirate shirt. It's massively unbuttoned, and he's wearing a huge necklace. 

I would cry, too.

Oh, it's time for another song! "Dance, magic, dance!" he sings. Here's a sampling of lyrics so when you go to karaoke, you're ready:

"Put that magic jump on me/Slap that baby make him free." 

It reminds me of a saying I heard down south: "Hoo-wee, shut your mouth. Slap your grandma!"

Jennifer continues her journey through the labyrinth, makes friends

Let's just go back to Jennifer and her trials in the labyrinth. 

She's currently lost. She problem-solved and used lipstick to draw arrows on the ground to keep track, but the maze outwitted her because it wasn't Maybeline. Little people jumped up from under the stones and turned the arrows around. Now she's talking to door keepers that look like dogs without fur suffering from a serious skin condition. 

She's figured out their riddles, goes through a door and falls -- just like Alice, except the tunnel Jennifer falls into is filled with "helping" hands that grab on to her. 

That tunnel is a sexual harassment lawsuit just waiting to happen.

They form faces to talk and hit on her. They're very handsy. 

"Let me go!" she cries, and of course, they do. 

When she lands, Hoggle is down at the bottom. Don't worry, though, he's not peeing this time. She coaxes him to help her by giving him jewelry. 

Too bad he doesn't know the bracelet is plastic and from Claire's. 

At least she has a friend, now. 

Jennifer keeps calling Hoggle, "Hogwart." 

Hmm... I wonder if that's where Ms. Rowling came up with that famous school's name. 

Favorite part alert: Underneath the labyrinth, where they are, are giant faces in the walls called "false alarms" that are telling them they're going the wrong way, that there's terror around every corner, and that they should just give up. Hoggle keeps telling them to shut up. One of them is sad and wants to finish his line.

"Fine then," Hoggle says, "but don't expect a big response." 

"Oh, no, of course not," the face says, demurely. Then voice booms: "You'll never get out alive!" 

It's all very Macbeth. 

Uh-oh, David Bowie Alert! He's here to pester Jennifer.

"This is cinchy!" she says, all proud, puffing up her chest. "I'll be picking up my brother in just a few hours." 

"Well, if that's the case," Bowie says, and pulls another clock out of thin air, skipping ahead a few hours.

"Hey! No fair!" Jennifer cries, but whatever. She learns in a few scenes that fair isn't always equal. 

Let's introduce a new character, shall we? A trip through a labyrinth isn't complete without a ragtag team of misfits.

Jennifer finds a giant-horned-yeti-gorilla-bear that's upside down being attacked by helmeted goblins with naked chihuahua's on sticks. The chihuahuas are biting the giant-horned-yeti-gorilla-bear, but Jennifer is really good at throwing rocks. 

Aaaaand, the giant-horned-yeti-gorilla-bear is saved. We'll call him Ludo, pronounced Loo-Dough. Now that we're all friends, let's continue our journey. Come on, Jennifer, get a move on. This movie moves slower than I remember. It needs more David Bowie and synth. 

At this point Hogwart, I mean Hoggle, has abandoned Jennifer and Ludo. She gets into a spot of trouble, and he yells out that he's coming for her. As he turns around, guess who's there?

The Goblin King David Bowie! In this scene, he looks like Avril Lavigne. 

Random scene alert! Jennifer is getting sidetracked by a bunch of singing, dancing puppets. They're a mix between the following: foxes, cats, vultures, Donald Trump, witches, and NSync. Their heads can come off, so she's throwing them.

The Bog of Eternal Stench, or Jim Henson's scene of fart jokes galore

I need to backtrack. As we know, The Goblin King David Bowie is not making Jennifer Connelly's journey easy. He keeps making threats about some Bog of Eternal Stench. When Hoggle hears this, he clutches his pearls. The Bog of Eternal Stench is worse than being unpopular! 

Well, since misfortune is at every turn, Hoggle and Jennifer (Ludo is MIA) slide down through the stone version of a McDonald's Play Place, and when they come out the bottom, Hoggle grabs a stick and holds on. Jennifer almost goes down too, but, whew, they save themselves. Later, they fall off the ledge and land on Ludo. 

They look down to see numerous buttholes puckering and spitting up juices. 

This must be the Bog of Eternal Stench everyone's been talking about.

We get it, Jim Henson. It smells, but did you really need to concoct a bunch of sputtering buttholes to drive your point home. 


As we survive the fart joke that is the Bog of Eternal Stench, we come across a chipper and brave small fox puppet that takes a deep breath and says he smells nothing. Jennifer, Ludo and Hoggle gain a new friend -- Didymus. He rides a shaggy white dog. 

Oh, no! Jennifer's in danger. She's hanging onto a tree, her feet dangle over the diarrhea pond. What's a girl to do? 

Easy, have her giant-horned-yeti-gorilla-bear call on the rocks to save her. They come bubbling out of the bog, and with every step, a fart. 

This land must've been thought up by Jim Henson's son. 

"Hey, son, what kind of land should I have in my new movie?" Jim asks. 

"Farts! Poop! A pond of Diarrhea! Sputtering buttholes!"

"Sounds legit!" 

Enough of this scene, let's move on. I sense a musical number coming on. Can you feel it? 

Let's just get on with this movie already

Apparently, The Goblin King David Bowie gave Hoggle a rufie peach that he is supposed to give to Jennifer to eat. This is all too college party for my taste. 

Jennifer takes a bite of the peach, and she's transported to some dream world. Everyone's wearing masks, and sporting Victorian fantasy hair. Jennifer walks around the room, about ready to Vogue, when her eyes meet The Goblin King David Bowie's eyes. Is it love at first sight? Did he pull up in a van? Is it a dream? 

It is a dream! She was drugged, or it was a spell, or something. It looks like she was stuck in one of his crystal balls. It broke, and she woke up in a junkyard.

But, wait...how did she get there?

Let's move on. This movie is beginning to feel thirteen hours long. The Goblin King David Bowie didn't take time away, he added it. Soon, I'll be stuck at some strange party wearing tight pants, donning a mask, sporting a mullet, and singing with David Bowie. 

Wait, the junkyard is a good thing! We made it! We're outside the Goblin City! Google Maps was right! 

All we have to do is walk down this street to get to The Goblin King David Bowie and...wait, what is that? A wall of machine parts just closed and a giant sentinel stepped out of it with an axe that would make Thor jealous. Hoggle takes some time away from peeing in a pool to jump on the giant, kicks off its head to find a goblin driving it, and throws him out. Hoggle can't drive it. It starts steaming, and he jumps out.

"I just drove my Goblin Sentinel out of the lot and got into an accident. My insurance company says it's depreciated. How can my Goblin Sentinel depreciate before its first oil change?"

Those Rabble Rousers made it too far. The Goblin King David Bowie has sent his goblins to stop them. I hope the fight scene doesn't last as long as the one in "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King." I actually fell asleep during the "Return of the King" battle, woke up rested, and the battle was still happening. The one major difference between these two battles? 

Synth-pop.

"Lord of the Rings" didn't have enough 80s synthesizer in it. Peter Jackson should've taken a lesson from Jim Henson.

Just when the battle looks grim, Ludo uses his super power to command the rocks to come and help.

Let's move on. We get it, puppets, you should be on American Ninja Warrior, but we've got a baby to rescue and a final David Bowie song to hear.

The climactic Jennifer versus The Goblin King David Bowie:

She's about to rescue her brother, but The Goblin King David Bowie is trying to persuade her to stay? To be his betrothed? To have a picnic? I have no clue what's happening. She just begins to sputter more LARP at The Goblin King David Bowie, and it seems to be working. He backs up, threatened.

"I took acting classes!" she says. "You didn't!"

The scenery is all falling down in piles of cloth, delicately fluttering to the floor like 80s pop trash. I guess this is the end of the movie?

It's missing just one thing: A shirtless Prince rolling around the floor on sheet music.

Just kidding.

It ends with a dance party with all the puppets from the labyrinth in Jennifer's room.

Best. Slumber Party. Ever.