Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nothing! Nothing tra la la!

Did you get that?  If not, you're not of the same cult classic mindset that I am.

When I was a little girl, I used to watch the Jim Henson film Labyrinth over and over, until I had nearly all the tunes and dialogue, complete with vocal inflection, entirely committed to memory. And then I grew up a little, moved on, and forgot all about the Goblin King. 

Until I was 12, that is, and decided to write part of a novel set in the labyrinth of the Goblin City (real original, I know). Watching it with slightly more mature eyes, the songs suddenly seemed silly, the puppety dancing laughable.  Still, there was something magical about it, something that I loved so deeply that now, decades later, it still holds one of the highest film ranks in my heart.

As a kid, I took the movie at face value.  Now, after vehemently studying editing and story structure and plotting and characterization and on and on...I wonder about the backstory of such an original film. Why was Jareth, the Goblin King (played by the delightful David Bowie and his infamous tights) in love with a girl less than half his age (played by the adorable Jennifer Connelly)?  Where is the Goblin City, and why is Jareth the only human there? And why are those pink bird things so absurdly creepy?

It seems that, after 25 years, my questions are about to get an answer.  Well, hopefully.  Rumors are spreading that a prequel is in the works and set for release late this year.  It won't be a film--which might be better, I mean who could ever play the child version of David Bowie?--but will instead be a graphic novel, aka a glorified comic book. Personally I like graphic novels, so the format's fine with me, and besides, getting the opportunity to step back into a world that I treasured as a child sounds like a good deal to me.

Despite its seeming silliness, Labyrinth taught me a lot of things about life (and fiction). That fairies can be mean. That impossible paintings can come to life. That goblins shouldn't dance, and men shouldn't wear tights.

And most importantly, that I should never take anything for granted.

TJ

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