Saturday, 25 January 2014

Return to Labyrinth

‘Oh!’ Jeremy said the other day. ‘Do you want a present?’

He’d found a carrier bag amongst all of his stuff lying about in our kitchen, and it held one of the Christmas presents he’d bought for me and forgotten until now, a month later.

It was ‘Labyrinth’ on Blu-ray. He knows it’s one of the films I’m daft about. We last watched it two years ago, and that seems a huge gap in time.

So that was our late night Friday movie this week – another return to the Labyrinth. It looks so beautiful in this sparkling new edition (everything is covered in glitter! Could we see that before?), and it has lost that awkwardness it had for a number of years – of looking a little stilted and 1980s.  Now it looks like a classic from decades ago – which, oddly enough, it suddenly is.

It made me think of how many of my favourite films are fantasies from the 1980s. There’s a wonderful list: Neverending Story, Time Bandits, Willow, the Princess Bride, Flash Gordon… Last March, during Fester’s final weekend with us, he lay on my lap as I spent all of good Friday watching the whole lot again in a marathon. He liked the bright flashing lights and the music, I think – plus the fact that I sat still for so long watching them.

Something else I love about these films: their unabashed silliness, in amongst the strangeness and the songs. I wonder if fantasy – in movies and books – has been taking itself a little more seriously in recent years? People are keener to build a franchise and an ongoing series… you can hear the world-building going on in the background, like a building site next door, drowning out some of the fun…

Though there have been films that have come close, in recent years, to summoning up the same feeling of, here’s a film I’m going to watch again and again through the years. ‘Paranorman’ was one, I think. The Sylvester McCoy scenes in ‘The Hobbit’ have that feeling, too - as do bits of the Disney Narnia adaptations.

(I STILL wish Bowie had managed to work ‘The Laughing Gnome’ into ‘Labyrinth’.)


  1. We all loved them and watched them together as a family - well, the younger two didn't until they were older, only being born in the eighties! Now I shall have to dig out the DVDs. (After panto.)

    1. I wish we'd seen you in pantomime!