Somehow, in my 26 years of existence, I missed out one defining life experience: the movie Labyrinth.
Jim Henson. George Lucas. David Bowie. The 1980s. All the makings of an instant classic. A brief scroll through Netflix showed me that the film was available for streaming. (Edit: It’s apparently been available since December, but it was still news to me.) I’m now going to present my reactionary watching of Labyrinth, because this is a tale that needs telling. Enjoy internet friends.
1. We open on a teenage girl hanging out by a stream of some sort, hanging with her awesome dog. Oh, but there’s a creepy white owl checking everything out. I don’t like him.
2. She can’t remember this line from a book, and oh, look at that, the book is called The Labyrinth.
3. The clock strikes 7, and the girl runs home through an amazingly cheesy rainstorm. Somehow she doesn’t actually get wet the entire time. Hmmm…
4. This girl is making so much drama for nothing. She came home late and her parents were worried about her, but she makes it seem like they’re being so mean to her.
5. They want her to watch her baby brother. It’s like, not that big of a deal. Get your shit together.
6. She has one of those maze toys and a poster of MC Escher’s stairs thing next to her bed. I feel like she’s asking for trouble.
7. Parents are heading out for the night, and they’ll be back at midnight. Now we’ve got a timeframe, let’s see action.
8. Sarah is so resentful for having to watch her brother. Even though the parents were like, “hey, we respect you if you have plans,” Sarah was still being a brat. Maybe she’ll learn to love her family. Probably not anytime soon.
9. No, definitely not soon. She’s telling the baby a story about goblins who take away a baby.
10. Okay, there are real goblins. Sarah’s really getting into this summoning goblins idea! This can’t be good.
11. Actually scratch that, the goblins are awesome. More goblins please.
12. Hey she said the thing that the goblins wanted her to say!
13. This is escalating quickly. Goblins are crawling around the room. There’s lightning outside and the owl is really trying to get in the window. I knew that owl was bad news.
14. DAVID BOWIE IS HERE!!!!
Are you sure it isn’t Ziggy Stardust?
15. David Bowie is the Goblin King, and Sarah is in a whole mess of trouble. Very quickly (it seems), he moved the baby into a far away castle, and somehow Sarah has been transported into the outskirts of the Goblin labyrinth. And she only has 13 hours (obviously) before the baby becomes a goblin. Better get crackin’.
Has anyone actually tried to solve this?
16. Was she just talking to her feet?
17. Why is there a goblin urinating in a pool? I have so many questions.
18. Oh man the pissing goblin just bug sprayed a fairy! Not cool dude.
19. Oh, but the fairy bit Sarah. Maybe the pissing goblin is okay after all. His name is Hoggle maybe, that’s what it sounded like.
20. Aaaand now we’re in the labyrinth.
21. That plant has way too many eyes.
22. Sarah’s walking down this path and you just know something is about to go down. There’s some intro synthy Bowie music playing, and Sarah’s just kinda stepping around tree branches and getting frustrated.
23. Now she’s running. The music is louder. Synths were really popular in 1986, as it turns out.
24. She’s talking to a worm who tells her how to go through walls. It’s cool.
25. It’s weird to think that David Bowie kidnapped a baby and made this poor girl solve a weird maze with talking worms.
26. But the worm led her into some weird part of the maze, and now she can hear the baby crying. The movie cuts to the goblins partying around the baby and some funky synth tracks.
27. Oh yes! Bowie is singing and the baby is happy now! The muppet goblins are singing backup for David Bowie. Things are going well in the goblin castle. I would grab a beer and hang out there probably.
Who do? You do! I do what?
28. Baby only has nine hours and 23 minutes until he turns into a goblin. This whole 13 hour thing seems really arbitrary, but I guess there wouldn’t be any plot without it. He’s the Goblin King, just goblinify the kid and get on with it. On the other hand, 13 hours is plenty of time for more scenes featuring David Bowie dancing with a baby and dozens of muppet goblins. That’s something you don’t see every day.
29. Oooh Sarah has to face one of those “one tells the truth, one of us always lies” puzzle. She’s heard this one before I think, because it would have taken me waaaayyy longer to figure that out.
30. Oh wait, she’s descending into a tunnel of arms. Hand faces are talking to her. She chose down. But they’re helping hands, so maybe that was good.
This is traumatizing.
31. This doesn’t seem good, she’s underground and probably trapped forever.
32. Bowie’s pissed that she got to this underground cave thing, so maybe it is good. He thinks her confidence is going to break when she goes back to the beginning, but I have a feeling that’s not how it’s going to go down.
33. Hoggle! He’s the coolest of all the goblins. She’s bribing him with a cheap bracelet and he’s super into it. Hoggle’s down with plastic apparently.
34. Some weird stone faces are trying to mess with them, but Hoggle ain’t buying any of their BS. Then a super crystal rolled down the hill and BOOM! David Bowie is in the maze.
35. Bowie is not happy about this situation, and Hoggle says he was taking her back to the start of the labyrinth to cover the fact that he was helping Sarah.
36. Wait, but Bowie said Sarah had to go back to the beginning and that it’s part of it. And now he’s pushing the time forward! I knew that time thing was bullshit.
37. Oh crap now a giant drill thing is chasing them down a hallway. Oh phew, they’re pushing on a piece of the wall that looks different from the rest of the wall.
38. Yeah, that off-color wall thing they were pushing against broke down, and now they’re safe and there’s a ladder. I was nervous.
39. Hoggle said he was lying to David Bowie, but how could you lie to David Bowie? He’s David Bowie. I would be honored to serve in David Bowie’s goblin regime.
40. Okay they just came out of a jar. Side note: If you ever get invited to Jim Henson’s shrub maze, don’t accept the invitation.
41. Now there’s an old goblin with a bird on his head. They’re doing a shtick, and the old goblin gave some sage advice.
42. So they carry on and they hear a weird monster thing, and Hoggle bails because monsters are scary. Sarah knows what’s up, so she checks it out, and there’s a yeti trapped like a piñata in a tree with four goblins attacking the yeti, with weird shrimp things on sticks. Fortunately Sarah finds some rocks to throw at the goblins, and now Sarah has a yeti friend.
Move over Hoggle, there’s a new best friend in town.
43. She lets him out of the trap and asks him where the castle is, and he doesn’t know anything because he’s a yeti. The way he says “no” is adorable though.
44. YESSS!!!! The conveniently placed doors near the yeti definitely have the bronzed goblin versions of those two muppet guys who sit in the balcony and make old man wisecracks. Thank you to whoever wrote this scene into this movie.
Fun Fact: These guys are named Statler and Waldorf. Now you learned something.
45. Hey maybe it’s time for another David Bowie song?
46. Nope, back to Sarah. David Bowie should come hang out in his labyrinth some more because I haven’t heard a song in like 20 minutes.
47. “See Ludo, there’s nothing to be afraid of!” she says inconspicuously, as Ludo falls into a hole.
48. Called that one. Bowie’s chatting it up with Hoggle, while Sarah still looking for Ludo in the background. He gave Hoggle a peach to give to Sarah.
49. Man Bowie’s being a dick to Hoggle. I take back what I said about joining the Bowie Goblin regime if Bowie’s going to be mean to me.
50. Hey there’s another song, but weird fluffy animals and singing it around a fire. Why would they have a song scene without David Bowie? I’m sure he contributed to the background vocals but still, this just seems unnecessary. There’s only a limited number of minutes in which I can hear David Bowie singing, in character, as king of the goblins. Also these animal things are a cross between a flamingo and a hyena.
This is not David Bowie.
51. Oh man they’re threatening to decapitate her.
52. OH MAN she just took off all their heads and ran away. Way to go Sarah.
53. Hoggle is back to save the day! Weird pink flamingo-hyena heads are flying everywhere.
54. They just almost fell into the Bog of Eternal Stench. There’s green water that’s belching and farting in weird pockets. They’re climbing along the wall and really trying not to fall in.
That Bog needs some serious Pepto.
55. After all of that climbing and side-stepping, they fall down and conveniently land on top of Ludo, the friendly yeti. He was just sitting there the whole time. He also really doesn’t like the smell.
56. This movie is like the Wizard of Oz but opposite and confusing.
57. They tried to cross a bridge, but a fox with an eye-patch isn’t letting them. He also doesn’t think it smells bad, but it does, because it’s the Bog of Eternal Stench.
58. Wait, a yeti is way bigger than a fox.
59. This fight scene is going on wayyy longer than it needs to. Just eat him!
60. Okay they got past the fox by simply asking for his permission to cross the bridge, how polite, and now the bridge totally collapsed and Sarah is hanging on a tree branch. Can this be the end of our story? Will she plummet into the Bog, thereby eternally smelling bad?
61. Nope, some cool rocks came down and formed a path. Apparently Ludo the yeti is friends with the rocks and can summon them, which explains how that rock appeared earlier when Sarah saved Ludo. This movie works on so many levels.
62. Hey the fox’s “noble steed” is the cool dog from before. Now they’re all traveling companions together! It’s like Dorothy with her crew, only it’s a goblin, yeti, and fox with an eyepatch.
63. David Bowie is not happy that they’re all still going along.
64. Hoggle just gave Sarah the peach. She took a bite and now she’s feeling strange, and Hoggle feels bad about it. He crawls off, and she’s about to go on some kind of weird Bowie hallucinogenic experience.
65. David Bowie is blowing bubbles from his castle window, and they just got to Sarah. There’s music playing, things are happening. She sees herself in the bubbles. She’s tripping balls.
66. Ludo and the fox see the castle, but apparently didn’t notice that Sarah is losing her mind from eating Bowie’s laced peach experience.
67. Sarah’s in some magic masquerade ball but it’s kinda evil, and oh there’s Bowie at the ball. This is a bizarre music video of sorts, considering it’s all taking place in a bubble. Also considering that people wearing goblin masks are giving other people all sorts of uncomfortable looks.
68. Now Sarah and David Bowie are dancing to David Bowie’s song while all the goblin mask people look on. The peach drugs just peaked for Sarah and the fabric of reality as we know it is tearing.
69. But wait, Sarah landed in a junkyard. And Hoggle’s in the same junkyard, feeling sorry for himself.
70. Sarah’s peach had a worm in it. It wasn’t a cool talking worm like the one from earlier though.
71. A weird trash lady helped Sarah find her teddy bear from home. The teddy bear is named Lancelot. I didn’t mention this earlier, but it seems relevant for some reason.
72. The weird trash lady just led Sarah into her room, and Sarah thinks the whole labyrinth was a dream.
73. Hey! She opened the door and the weird trash lady is still there. She’s actually pretty nice and friendly, considering how much trash she’s carrying around. She seems like she doesn’t get much contact with people though, because she’s really frantic. She keeps giving Sarah all of her old stuff, piling it on her back just like trash lady’s stuff is on her back. Sarah just can’t remember what she’s looking for, but she does find the Labyrinth book and it’s starting to come back to her.
74. She just realized that all of her prized possessions were junk and that Toby, her brother (whose name I didn’t catch until now), is the important thing. Life lesson!!!
75. Ludo helps her out of her room and now we’re back with the fox and Ludo. Hoggle is spying on them, but it’s out of sadness, because he feels bad about the whole peach bubble nightmare drug trip thing. The cool dog is there too.
76. They go through this door and a giant bronze statue guy is about to attack them. Spikes are coming up from the wall. Funky synth drumbeats in the background, getting louder and more ominous. David Bowie is behind this, you know he is.
What a devious goblin king.
77. Hoggle! He knocks off the statue’s head and there’s just a little guy controlling it. Hoggle takes him out and takes over the control. The statue has a big axe, Hoggle should probably just hop out of there so nobody gets hurt.
78. Phew, everyone is okay. Sarah even forgave him for giving her the drug peach. The quest is on.
79. David Bowie didn’t expect her to come back after the peach, but she figured it out pretty quickly when the door of her room opened onto a creepy goblin junkyard a couple scenes ago. So now Bowie’s gearing up the army for a full fledged goblin attack. Even Ludo can’t fight off all these goblins, even though they don’t seem very organized. How did they leave them an escape route? That seems like poor military strategy from David Bowie.
80. While this chase scene is going on, I feel it’s worth mentioning that David Bowie’s character has a name. I haven’t caught it yet, but they should have just named the character Goblin King “David Bowie” because let’s be real, who isn’t going to see him and immediately think of David Bowie?
81. Back to the movie, they’re still running and I think the fox and dog are fighting off some other goblins. I know they’re going to be okay so I’m not too worried about them at this point.
82. Ludo is fighting off rats with swords in their mouths from the roof of a building, while Sarah and Hoggle are staving off a goblin attack. Oh wait, Ludo can summon rocks! The goblins are tripping on the rocks!
Sitting on top of the world.
83. David Bowie is watching this whole thing, and he’s pretty disappointed. For the record, David Bowie is trying to stop Sarah from reaching the castle, so he can convert her brother into a muppet goblin.
84. That was a great cannon joke! Okay let me set the scene. The goblin guy fires the cannon, and a smaller goblin guy pops out of the cannon, and the first goblin says “Hey, get out of here! I thought I fired you!” I’m dying. Let’s face it, if you don’t like corny jokes then you wouldn’t have read through to #84 of a Jim Henson movie with David Bowie as the Goblin King. Reward yourself with a pat on the back, or by patting the back of a stranger.
85. Anyway, Sarah makes it into the castle, and tells her friends that she has to face David Bowie alone.
86. Once she leaves them, she enters a real life version of MC Escher’s crazy stairs. Bowie started singing and appearing on random stairs. I knew that poster was bad news. What teenage girl has an MC Escher poster? Seriously.
87. Oh crap the baby’s on the stairs too. Bowie is doing some creepy Bowie singing and Sarah is just determined to get baby Toby back, but MC Escher stairs are really not intuitive.
88. How is the baby that good at getting away from Sarah? Maybe he wants to be a goblin, because he doesn’t seem like he wants to go back to Sarah. Maybe their parents really are that bad, and David Bowie does really seem to like Toby…
89. Okay Sarah just did a crazy jump after Toby and now the laws of gravity have been called into question. Things are floating. Bowie has entered, and this is a showdown. The Goblin King is pretty cool.
90. Sarah’s reciting some lines from a book and oh no! She can’t remember the line from the book.
91. Then she says “you have no power over me” and clocks are chiming and everything collapses into the wings of that damned white owl from beginning.
92. Sarah wakes up in her living room, with the clock striking midnight. It’s when her parents said they would be home.
93. Toby’s sleeping soundly in his crib. It WAS all a dream! I’m going to miss Ludo the most I think, he was a fun yeti.
94. Her parents just got home, right on time. If they had come home early, would Sarah and Toby still have been in the alternate labyrinth universe? We’ll never know.
95. Hey all of her friends from the labyrinth are in her room! She needs them. Hoggle! The fox! All of them! Even the goblins! Happy David Bowie music!
96. The owl finally flies away into the moon, and that’s the end of the movie! Jerk owl.
97. But wait, she doesn’t actually make amends with her parents. Wouldn’t that have been a nice thing to include in the ending? I guess she likes her brother more, which is a good thing, considering she initially wished for goblins to take him. I don’t think she’d do that again after this ordeal.
98. At least the goblins are her friends now, so I think I’ve figured out the moral of the story. If you act like a selfish teenage brat, then you get to go on a magical alternative universe adventure with David Bowie and muppets. I didn’t learn anything, but I did enjoy myself.
99. David Bowie’s character’s name was Jareth.
100. This was an excellent way to spend an hour and a half.