The Labyrinth

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The re-drafted script was sent to Bowie, who found that it lacked humor and considered withdrawing his involvement in the project as a result. To ensure Bowie's involvement, Henson asked Jones to "do a bit more" to the script in order to make it more humorous. May's changes "humanized the characters" and pleased Henson to the extent that they were incorporated into the film's shooting script. At least twenty-five treatments and scripts were drafted for Labyrinth between —85, and the film's shooting script was only ready shortly before filming began.

The protagonist of the film was, at different stages of its development, going to be a King whose baby had been put under an enchantment, a princess from a fantasy world, and a young girl from Victorian England. In order to make the film more commercial, they made the lead a teenage girl from contemporary America. Henson noted that he wished to "make the idea of taking responsibility for one's life — which is one of the neat realizations a teenager experiences — a central thought of the film.

Auditions for the lead role of Sarah began in England in April Helena Bonham Carter auditioned for the role, but was passed over in favor of an American actress.


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Monthly auditions were held in the U. Of these, Krakowski, Sheedy and Corman were considered to be the top candidates. The character of Jareth also underwent some significant developments during the early stages of pre-production.

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According to Henson he was originally meant to be another puppet creature in the same vein as his goblin subjects. During a meeting that took place on June 18, , Henson showed Bowie The Dark Crystal and a selection of Brian Froud's concept drawings to pique his interest in the project. The script itself was terribly amusing without being vicious or spiteful or bloody, and it had a lot more heart in it than many other special effects movies. So I was pretty hooked from the beginning. Principal photography began on April 15, , at Elstree Studios.

The team that worked on Labyrinth was largely assembled from talent who had been involved in various other projects with the Jim Henson Company. Kevin Clash , a crew member on Sesame Street best known for voicing the character Elmo , worked on the film. Members of Henson's family also worked on the production, including son Brian and daughter Cheryl. Newcomers working on the production included puppeteer Anthony Asbury, who had previously worked on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image.

Labyrinth took five months to film, and was a complicated shoot due to the myriad of puppets and animatronic creatures involved. In the making-of documentary Inside the Labyrinth , Henson stated that although Jim Henson's Creature Shop had been building the puppets and characters required for around a year and a half prior to shooting, "everything came together in the last couple weeks.

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Although each of the film's key puppets required a small team of puppeteers to operate it, the most complex puppet of the production was Hoggle. Shari Weiser was inside the costume, while Hoggle's face was radio-controlled by Brian Henson and three other operators. Speaking in the Inside the Labyrinth documentary, Brian Henson explained that Weiser "does all the body movement and her head is inside the head.

However, the jaw is not connected to her jaw. Nothing that the face is doing has any connection with what she's doing with her face. The other four members of the crew are all radio crew, myself included. Basically what it takes is a lot of rehearsing and getting to know each other. At the early stages of filming, stars Connelly and Bowie found it difficult to interact naturally with the puppets they shared most of their scenes with. Bowie told Movieline "I had some initial problems working with Hoggle and the rest because, for one thing, what they say doesn't come from their mouths, but from the side of the set, or from behind you.

And by the end of the film, it wasn't a challenge anymore. They were there, and they were their characters. The film required large and ambitious sets to be constructed, from the Shaft of Hands to the rambling, distorted Goblin City where the film's climactic battle takes place. The Shaft of Hands sequence was filmed on a rig that was roughly forty feet high, and required nearly a hundred performers to operate the grey, scaly hands integral to the scene.

Connelly was strapped into a harness when shooting the scene, and would spend time between takes suspended midway up the shaft. The set of the Goblin City was built on Stage 6 at Elstree Studios near London, and required the largest panoramic back-cloth ever made. According to Production Designer Elliot Scott , the biggest challenge he faced was building the forest Sarah and her party pass through on their way to Jareth's Castle.

The film's production notes state, "the entire forest required truckloads of tree branches, 1, turfs of grass, pounds of dried leaves, bags of lichen , and 35 bundles of mossy old man's beard. While most filming was conducted at Elstree Studios, a small amount of location shooting was carried out in England and the U. Shooting wrapped on September 8, Most of the visual effects on Labyrinth were achieved in-camera, with several notable exceptions.

The most prominent of these post-production effects was the computer-generated owl that appears at the opening of the film. The sequence was created by animators Larry Yaeger and Bill Kroyer , [31] [32] and marked the first use of a realistic CGI animal in a film. The scene where Sarah encounters the Fire Gang had to be altered in post-production as it had been filmed against black velvet cloth, to disguise the puppeteers, and a new forest background was added behind.

Jim Henson was unhappy with the compositing of the finished scene, although he considered the puppetry featured in it worthy of inclusion. Henson received help editing the film from executive producer George Lucas. According to Henson, "When we hit the editing, I did the first cut, and then George was heavily involved on bringing it to the final cut.

After that, I took it over again and did the next few months of post-production and audio. I always want to go one way, and George goes another way, but we each took turns trading off, giving and taking. George tends to be very action-oriented and he cuts dialogue quite tight; I tend to cut looser, and go for more lyrical pauses, which can slow the story. So, I loosen up his tightness, and he tightens my looseness. The music video for "Underground" features Bowie as a nightclub singer who stumbles upon the world of the Labyrinth, encountering many of the creatures seen in the film.

The clip for "As the World Falls Down" integrates clips from the film, using them alongside black-and-white shots of Bowie performing the song in an elegant room. In , Capitol Studios announced that it will be reissuing the soundtrack on a Vinyl disc, this will include all five originals songs of David Bowie along with Trevor Jones's score.

The production of Labyrinth was covered in multiple high-profile magazines and newspapers, in anticipation of its release, with articles appearing in The New York Times , Time and Starlog magazine. Labyrinth was featured in music trade papers such as Billboard due to David Bowie's soundtrack for the film.

A range of merchandise was produced to accompany the film's release, including plush toys of Sir Didymus and Ludo, a board game, computer game and multiple jigsaw puzzles. An exhibition of the film's characters and sets toured across shopping malls in various cities in the U. The film was released in Denmark as Labyrinten til troldkongens slot The Labyrinth to the Troll King's Castle on February 20, , and saw its last theatrical release in Hungary under the title Fantasztikus labirintus Fantastic Labyrinth when it premiered there on July 7, In , the film was digitally remastered and re-released at The Astor Theatre in Melbourne , Australia.

The re-release was described as a collector's edition, and featured a set of exclusive collectors cards that featured concept art by Brian Froud. The film was released on Blu-ray in , in a package that replicated the extras featured on the Anniversary Edition DVD. The Blu-ray release featured one new special feature, a picture-in-picture track that lasts the length of the film and features interviews with the crew and several minor cast members including Warwick Davis.

There also will be an Amazon exclusive version with packaging similar to Jareth's Escher-style stairs. Labyrinth opened at number eight in the U. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. While acknowledging that Labyrinth was made with "infinite care and pains", Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four as he felt that the film "never really comes alive". Ebert said that as the film was set in an "arbitrary world" none of the events in it had any consequences, robbing the film of any dramatic tension.

Siskel objected to the film's "violent" plot, writing, "the sight of a baby in peril is one of sleaziest gimmicks a film can employ to gain our attention, but Henson does it. Other critics were more positive. Kathryn Buxton found that it had "excitement and thrills enough for audiences of all ages as well as a fun and sometimes slightly naughty sense of humor".

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Labyrinth (film)

Several critics noted the film's subtext, and found it successful to varying degrees. Saw Tek Meng acknowledged, "Sarah's experiences in the labyrinth are symbolic of her transition from child to woman" but ultimately found the film "too linear" for its latent themes to come through. Hoffmann , stating that Hoffman's The Nutcracker "is also about the voyage to womanhood, including the hint of sexual awakening, which Sarah experiences too in the presence of a goblin king.

Connelly's portrayal of Sarah polarized critics and received strong criticism from some reviewers.


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Critic Kirk Honeycutt referred to Connelly as "a bland and minimally talented young actress" [69] Writing for The Miami News , Jon Marlowe stated, "Connelly is simply the wrong person for the right job. She has a squeaky voice that begins to grate on you; when she cries, you can see the onions in her eyes. Petersburg Times praised her acting saying, "Connelly makes the entire experience seem real. She acts so naturally around the puppets that you begin to believe in their life-like qualities. Bowie's performance was variously lauded and derided.

Shows what you know, don't it: Is Jennifer Connelly back for Labyrinth 2?

In his largely positive review of the film, Corliss praised him as "charismatic" referring to his character as a " Kabuki sorcerer who offers his ravishing young antagonist the gilded perks of adult servitude". He has just the right look for a creature who's the object of both loathing and secret desire. Petersburg Times found, "Bowie forgoes acting, preferring to prance around his lair while staring solemnly into the camera. He's not exactly wooden. Plastic might be a more accurate description. Following the film's mixed reception, Henson came "the closest I've seen him to turning in on himself and getting quite depressed", his son Brian told Life magazine.

Since Henson's death, Labyrinth has been re-evaluated by several notable critics. A review from in Empire magazine called the film "a fabulous fantasy" and wrote, "David Bowie cuts a spooky enough figure in that fright wig to fit right in with this extraordinary menagerie of Goth Muppets. And Jennifer Connelly, still in the flush of youth, makes for an appealingly together kind of heroine.

Despite its poor performance at the American box office, Labyrinth was a success on home video and later on DVD. I can't believe they still recognize me from that movie. It's on TV all the time and I guess I pretty much look the same. Labyrinth has become a cult film. Fantasy author Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean were called in to write and direct a film similar in spirit to Labyrinth , and MirrorMask was ultimately released in selected theaters in after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.

I would never seek to profit from Bowie's death. Since initial release, Labyrinth has been translated to other forms of media. A tie-in novelization was written by A. Smith , [94] which, along with Smith's novelization of The Dark Crystal , was reprinted with illustrations and Jim Henson's notes by Archaia Publishing in Marvel Comics published a three-issue comic book adaptation, [95] which was first released in a single volume as Marvel Super Special 40 in In January , Nicole Perlman announced that she had been hired to write the script for the sequel.

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