Directed by Jim
Henson (1986, Tristar Pictures)
Starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie
A girl sends her brother to the King of the Goblins, then winds her
way through a maze to get him back. On the journey, she learns lessons
about herself and life.
September 8th, 2012 on
DVD for the 5th time
I still love this movie, and thoroughly
enjoyed watching it again. The message is clear, and the action is fun,
though it does slow down at a couple of points.
I was bothered, this time, at the very beginning, where the audio
seemed to be offset slightly from the video. I've never noticed this
before, but it's the first time I've seen the movie on an HD television,
so that might have something to do with it. Otherwise- wonderful.
August 7th, 2003 on
DVD for the 4th time
Really quite enjoyable. I love the
characters, all of which seemed so real.
There are only two complaints that I have about this movie. The first
is about David Bowie's pants. I'm sure people loved it in the 1980s, but
I couldn't watch! His dancing needed some work, as well. He looked like
he was in a night-club.
The second complaint is about the "chilly-down" guys. The matte lines
were still visible in the DVD release, though not as bad as they were on
the video. The background really looks out of place. They had done stuff
like that on Star Wars. I don't know why they couldn't get it right
Aside from that, and the ability to see some of the wires holding
Jennifer Connelly in the air at times, the technical side of this movie
is flawless. I couldn't believe some of the stuff that they were able to
achieve. The climactic scene in the 3D optical illusion was just
mesmerizing. But everywhere else in the film, something is always going
on. There are very few static shots at all.
The character of Sarah is beautiful and bright. I can't believe
Connelly was only 14 when this was made, because she looks much older.
Her acting, however, was just as good here as it was when she won an
Academy Award for A Beautiful Mind. Sarah just doesn't want to live in
the real world. When put into the fantasy world of goblins, biting
fairies and stinking bogs, though, she has to come to terms with the
fact that her actions have consequences -though not necessarily the ones
that she expects.
Hoggle was also great, and so ugly that he was so cute! He was also
very, very real. He goes through an emotional journey that takes him
from a cowardly disinterested person to a true friend, willing to follow
Sarah through danger. I loved his lesson to her on asking the right
Speaking about asking the right questions, I just laugh whenever I
think of the old man with the chicken on his head. The interplay between
those two was hilarious, especially the sarcasm of the chicken! Other
great arguments were between the doorknobs, the "ask only one of us a
question" guards, and Sir Didymus and his dog!
The story is a great adventure. I loved just about everything that
she came into contact with on her journey. Some of it was unexpected,
most of it was "not fair". The worm at the very start was terrific.
The documentary that accompanies the DVD was one of the best that
I've seen on various movies, meaning that it wasn't simply promotional
material. It said that it was a behind the scenes feature, and it
actually was! It showed how they did certain of the amazing visual
effects, showed discussions between people on how certain scenes should
be done, and actually showed footage of the movie being filmed.
Wonderful! There are also filmographies of a few of the people, as well
as movie trailers for this film, The Dark Crystal, and another
production. I don't know why trailers were so bad in the 1980s. Aside
from not being restored, so that the colors are way off, they were
completely boring, a terrible offence!
However, seeing this great movie in widescreen, with the restored
color schemes, was amazing. This film takes advantage of the widescreen
in so many instances, that I can't imagine how it could be truly enjoyed
any other way.
January 2nd, 2000 on Video,
for the 3rd time
I used to love this movie.
When it first came out, I thought it was great. Unfortunately, it
didn't age as well as I thought it would. It was still very, very
enjoyable, and well deserving of a four-star rating, but the acting
wasn't up to the great level I remember, and some of the dialogue was
stilted. Maybe that comes from growing myself. Also, David
Bowie's singing annoyed me a little more this time around. Well,
we're not in the 1980s anymore.
The maze is really well done. I love the way Sara has to
navigate through it, suddenly realizing that the maze is alive, and changing
every time she turns a corner.
She goes through so many traps, some of which are typical fantasy
traps, and others seem so dangerous, or fun -or funny! I love the
helping hands, and especially the doorknobs.
Of course, we have Sara's two friends, Hoggle the dwarf and Ludo
the... whatever he is. Hoggle is a great character -cowardly, but
with an inner strength borne out of love for this strange girl. Ludo
can summon rocks, but he is really a rock for Sarah, and when he disappears,
she is lost.
The guys that could throw their heads used to be neat, but now
the matte lines show out. I guess they couldn't fix that for the
video re-release. They just came off as annoying now.
The Swamp of the Immortal Stench was great. I love the
idea, and to see those flatulating mudholes was a great way to show it
off. Crossing the bridge seemed a little tedious to me this time
around, but Sara had to learn how to ask the right questions, so I guess
that was okay.
The forgetful peach was one of the best parts, I thought.
I just loved it, which shows how different I am from the last time I saw
this movie, when I didn't like it at all. The ball was fantastically
done, and the lady with all her possessions strapped to her back was quite
ominous, and foretold a possible future for Sara.
This time, I found the goblin city battle to be a little too
long. I didn't like the giant tin man they had to face, and the rocks
were not as amusing as I remember them being, though I still laughed at
some of it.
Finally, the battle of wits in the stairwell maze was great as
well. Sure, Bowie was 1980s, but it was still amazingly done.
The look on his face when he is defeated says it all.
I didn't think the final party was necessary, but it did serve
to show Sara what she needed to know, though I'm not sure her hold on reality
is strengthened as much as it would be if she couldn't call upon them.
I think her final lesson should have been to focus more on the actual world
around her, pay attention, and don't take it all for granted. But
it makes for a nice reunion, and a celebration.
All in all, Sarah gets to know that she is actually a spoiled
brat, and that she can achieve anything if she looks in the right direction.