Sarah is a teenage girl struggling to adapt to family life with her step mother and baby half-brother, Toby, who cries all the time. Using lines from her favourite fantasy story, Sarah summons ‘The Goblin King’ to take Toby away forever but realising what she’s done, Sarah begs The Goblin King to give her brother back to her. When he refuses, she finds herself in a race against time, wandering a vast Labyrinth full of fantastical creatures where nothing can be taken for granted.

Labyrinth (1986) – Director: Jim Henson

Is Labyrinth appropriate for kids

Rating: PG

Running Length: 101 mins

Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Brian Henson, David Bowie

Genre: Action/Adventure

REVIEW

Jim Henson’s cult classic, ‘Labyrinth’, follows the exploits of a selfish teenager who, by going through a series of tests to her character, grows into a mature young woman, and realises that there are things in life that are more important than herself and her possessions. Sarah’s transformation is helped by the allies she makes along her journey, Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didymus (with his trusty canine steed, Ambrosius) who all have their different strengths and weaknesses and bring something unique to aid Sarah’s plight.

The late, great musician, David Bowie plays Jareth, The Goblin King; a fascinating character who is neither wholly evil nor inherently good. His iron rule has all his goblin servants terrified of him but most of the other weird and wonderful creatures seem unaffected by him so he never appears to be a dictator to fear and his charming and charismatic nature even makes him quite likeable. Jim Henson’s puppet creatures make up the vast majority of the characters and with even incidental characters having their own unique personalities; this is a world that is fully realised and completely believable. The level of imagination and puppetry on-screen is staggering and you will never be short of something to gawk at!

With a plot that many people (especially teenagers) can relate to, ‘Labyrinth’ is a movie that can be loved by all who see it and, despite the special effects that date it firmly in the 1980’s, it’s a timeless story and has an inherent charm that is no doubt what makes it adored by both children and adults, now and for generations to come.

IS ‘LABYRINTH’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

‘Labyrinth’ is a fantasy movie which is often dark and surreal; it has many eerie and sometimes scary moments, however most scares are short-lived and often have a humorous ending to them. There are many moments that could be mentioned but due to the risk of spoilers, we will highlight the strongest parts because if a child is ok with them, they should be ok with the rest of the movie.

Protagonist, Sarah, starts the movie being selfish and nasty to her father, step-mother and half-brother, Toby. Toby is a baby and cries when Sarah noisily stomps around the house and loudly talks to him in his bedroom, at one point she screams ‘I hate you, I hate you!’ at Toby who doesn’t understand her but is very distressed from being shouted at.

Sarah says the words in one of her stories that will compel ‘The Goblin King’ to take Toby away forever. Not realising that this will actually happen, she leaves Toby’s bedroom and he suddenly stops crying. When she re-enters the room the light will not turn back on, she hears strange noises and sees glimpses of goblins that run and hide behind her. Something moves under the covers in Toby’s cot making rasping/cackling sounds. This scene is quite scary for around two minutes and culminates in The Goblin King confronting Sarah. He throws a snake at her which immediately turns into scarf and then into a goblin that laughs and runs away.

Sarah falls into a hole and on her way down is grabbed by numerous hands that form faces. They speak to her in eerie, echoey voices and are a little threatening although they simply give her the choice of which direction she wants to go in.

Sarah comes across some strange creatures that can remove parts of their body for fun. They pull off their own heads, limbs and hands, throwing them around and playing games with them. One pokes both of his own eyes out and uses them like dice; there are black holes where their eyes were but, due to the creatures being puppets, there is no gore. They assume that Sarah is the same as them and try to pull of her head. She runs away but they chase her through a forest; she manages to escape and is very quickly out of danger.

A girl is given food which has been drugged by someone she believes to be a friend; they feel guilty and walk away, leaving her alone in a dark forest.

A character comes across a woman living in a rubbish dump, she has a vast amount of junk on her back which she lugs around. She has a croaky voice and, although she initially seems nice, she is a little creepy and does everything she can to make a character forget about something important that they are struggling to remember.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Labyrinth’ is a classic children’s movie that is neither patronising nor too adult in tone. With a surreal streak, there are plenty of jokes and interesting characters to keep kids hooked, and the nostalgia factor won’t fail to elicit warm smiles from adults making Labyrinth undoubtedly a firm family favourite. Due to a few scary moments, we feel this movie is appropriate for kids aged 6 and over.

  • Violence: 2/5 (there is a battle at the end of the movie and there are a few explosions but there are no deaths and when anyone is hurt, there is more humour attached to it than suffering)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (Toby’s distress – which is seen at various points throughout the movie – could be a little upsetting for some kids)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (Two characters walk through a dark tunnel and faces are carved into the wall, each one speaks an ominous message as they walk past in deep voices such as ‘turn back while you still can!’ and ‘beware, beware!’ Neither character appears overly afraid of them and one actually chastises one leading to a humorous exchange between them. A scene is set at a masquerade ball, there are dozens of people there, all wearing masks, they cackle aggressively at characters and the camera. This scenes lasts for around five minutes and could be a little unsettling for kids)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some mild cursing and blasphemy, a small goblin becomes angry and lets out a stream of gibberish curses although the words ‘your mother is a …’ can be heard)
  • Dialogue: 0/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of maturity, coping with a new family situation, realising the consequences of one’s actions, selfishness and selflessness, putting oneself in danger and taking on a huge task against all odds to save a loved one, and appreciating the different strengths and weaknesses that are in everyone.

Words by Laura Record

Labyrinth [Blu-ray] [2009] [Region Free]


New From: £3.70 GBP In Stock

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