In the wake of the news of David Bowie’s recent passing, I, like many others, have been revisiting some of my favorite Bowie moments, both in music and film. Naturally, I gravitated towards the movie Labyrinth because, well, how could I not? So many people have posted really beautiful and moving tributes to this musical icon and I’m not sure I can do much better–I mean, come on, I write a weekly nostalgia column that gives me an excuse to listen to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and pass it off as research.
And so, in my own very weird way, I respectfully offer a twisted tribute to this already greatly missed icon with my take on Labyrinth.
Labyrinth is a 1986 movie starring Oscar winning actress Jennifer Connelly as Sarah, a cranky teenager/theater kid (redundant, I know), who is very put out by her dad and stepmother asking her to babysit for her baby brother, Toby.
When Toby won’t stop crying because he’s a goddamn baby and that’s how they communicate before they can talk, Sarah wishes Toby would be stolen by the Goblin King (David Bowie) because that’s a rational response to a baby who is terrified of a thunderstorm and just wants to be held.
Once Sarah realizes her parents are going to be super pissed that she let the baby be stolen by goblins, she enters the labyrinth to rescue her little brother from the Goblin King, Jareth. Along the way, she’s helped out by a douchebag dwarf named Hoggle, a giant ginger beast named Ludo, and what is essentially an anthropomorphic version of my terrier who rides atop an Old English Sheepdog.
This group journeys through the maze, evades creepy puppets that try to decapitate Sarah, and gets sent to the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Sarah spends much of the movie complaining that life isn’t fair which always makes me want to push her into the Bog of Eternal Stench. She is later roofied with a peach, has a ballroom gala fantasy with Jareth (that has inspired an insane amount of fan fiction), ends up in a junkyard, and later battles Jareth for her little brother in an M.C. Escher stair room.
Jareth admits defeat and returns Sarah and Toby to the real world before Sarah gets grounded for letting her little brother be stolen by mythical creatures. Then the movie inexplicably ends in a puppet dance party because I’m pretty sure no one knew how the fuck to end such a weird movie.
I could give a better, more in depth summary of the movie but this post would turn into a novel. And let’s be real, we’re all just killing time until I post this:
Before I finish this post and go have my own “Dance Magic Dance” party, I do have to say how much I admired David Bowie as an artist and how much I respect the way he spent the last eighteen months of his life after receiving his cancer diagnosis. From the reports I’ve read, he spent it doing what he loved and we should all be so lucky as to find something that makes us so happy that we want to do it right up to the end. Time is so, so valuable and it’s the most generous gift we can give to others. David Bowie gave some of his final time to the world in his last creative projects and as a fan, I’m thankful.