By Charles Cassady Jr.,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Surreal coming-of-age fantasy -- with Muppets.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sarah realizes that her own creative power and imagination is stronger than the Goblin King.
Positive Role Models
Sarah is delighted to use her intellect to figure her way out of logic puzzles and dilemmas. In brief domestic scenes the young heroine is portrayed as so plunged into fairy tales and fantasies that she behaves as if her real mom were a cruel Brothers Grimm stepmother. The slightly mixed message is that she triumphs because of the same mania for make-believe.
Violence & Scariness
Monster roughhousing, tussling, sword fighting, a giant axe-wielding robot-like thing, and even a goblin machine-gunner, but no blood, and despite occasional talk of "certain death," none of the peril meant very seriously. The "Fire Gang" is a group of creatures who playfully pull their bodies apart and reassemble each other (and talk of doing the same to the fleeing heroine).
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Mild, with a few "hells" and "damns."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film, while lighthearted, deals with the theme of separation of siblings, the threat that the youngest child could be turned into a goblin, and some mostly childish dangers (like being covered in a bad smell that lasts forever). Also, some of the creatures may disturb younger kids.
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Based on 22 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind) is a modern teenager steeped in medieval fantasy lore, who doesn't like babysitting her tiny stepbrother Toby. One day she wishes that goblins would take him away. Jareth (David Bowie), the Goblin King, hears this and does exactly that, kidnapping the tyke into his otherworldly realm. Sarah immediately regrets her wish, but Jareth says she can regain Toby only by finding his castle, perched in the center of an immense labyrinth. While exploring the labyrinth, Sarah meets an assortment of puzzles, perils, and semi-comical creatures. Some monsters, like an apelike giant called Ludo, are friendly, while others are under Jareth's control, ordered to thwart Sarah.
Is It Any Good?
If it sounds like a funky version of Alice in Wonderland, it is -- and that's where its fun lies. Labyrinth bursts with imagination and playful weirdness in a way that's both delightful and a little too far-out. LABYRINTH showcases the artistry of Jim Henson, and features some of his most complex Muppets. Beyond Muppets, director Henson turns a simple collection of human hands into a lively and expressive wall of faces when Sarah stumbles across their lair.
This is puppetry at its finest, and the filmmakers ensure that none of the monsters are too monstrous, but always impressive. One massive, sword-wielding creature turns out to be just a robot with a silly little goblin perched in its cockpit helmet. The plot isn't quite up to the visuals. It meanders as much as Sarah does, and leads up to a final face-off with the Goblin King that's a confused fizzle.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about other far-out fantasy tales, such as Alice in Wonderland.
What do fantasy stories offer us? Is it possible to become too wrapped up in fantasy?
- In theaters: June 27, 1986
- On DVD or streaming: February 3, 2004
- Cast: Brian Henson, David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly
- Director: Jim Henson
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: April 6, 2023
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