Labyrinth (1986)

Labyrinth (1986), directed by Jim Henson.

Young Sarah is at a difficult, temperamental age: she has both soft toys and lipstick. She's also the World's Worst Babysitter: after cursing her baby brother he is kidnapped by the Goblin King and to rescue him she has to cross a strange and complex maze, enduring all sorts of Alice-like adventures.

It's a PG funny/scary fantasy epic for younger children, done with muppets: how scary can it be? Adults will miss a coherent plot, although there are entertaining funny bits and clever visual humor. It flopped at the theater but has a big fan base on home video.

Jennifer Connelly is only 15 here so don't ogle her. She is growing up fast, though. At that age she had an inexpressive baby-face, but is likeable throughout. A nice lesson for younger viewers is her struggle to remember and get back to her quest, undeterred by worldly distractions.

David Bowie is a glam-rock Goblin King, witty, charismatic, a bit sinister and definitely masculine. Just the sort who might appear in an adolescent girl's dreams, along with the usual big furry animal companions. He does a few songs, but the incidental soundtrack suffers from Eighties Synthesizer Score Disease.

You could try to extract psycho-sexual metaphors, but the time would be better spent on Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves (1984) (not for children).

Available on Blu-ray. The commentary track by the graphics designer has some good bits. It was three years of his life (and he spent five on The Dark Crystal (1982)). Baby Toby was played by his baby Toby, who peed on David Bowie and was paid for it.

The film had a royal premier in Britain and Prince Charles was the only one to laugh at the farting Bog of Eternal Stench. He mentioned how funny it was when he met the designer again years later.