So, the Labyrinth is a piece of cake, is it? Well, let's see how you deal with this little slice.



Protagonist Sarah Williams (Connelly) is a 15-year-old who loves reading and acting out fairy tales, whose parents are divorced and whose mother is a moderately famous actress. The movie opens with a scene of Sarah rehearsing lines from her book Labyrinth in a park. While trying to remember the final line of a speech in the book, she loses track of time, forgetting that she must babysit her infant half-brother, Toby. Upon belatedly remembering this, she runs home to find her stepmother Irene waiting angrily for her. They quarrel, after which Irene leaves with Sarah's father on a date, while Sarah remains behind to babysit Toby. Here, the already furious Sarah realizes that her treasured teddy bear, Lancelot, is missing from her room. Storming into Toby's room, she finds Lancelot and reprimands Toby, whereupon he begins to cry. Sarah, possibly to tease him further in revenge, begins rehearsing more lines from Labyrinth, telling an account of a maiden granted special powers by the King of Goblins. According to the story, the girl (whom Sarah apparently uses to represent herself) could no longer stand her life and wishes for goblins to take away her screaming baby brother. As she ends the story and turns off the light, she remarks, "I wish the goblins would come and take you away...right now", whereupon Toby suddenly stops crying. Worried, Sarah enters his room, to find that Toby has vanished.

A barn owl flutters through the opened window and transforms into Jareth, the King of Goblins (Bowie), who tells her that he has taken the baby as she had beseeched. Appalled at the realization of what she has done, Sarah begs for the return of her brother. Jareth tells her that if she can solve his great maze, known as the Labyrinth within 13 hours, she can have Toby back. If she cannot, he will turn Toby into a goblin and keep him forever.

The Labyrinth is not a simple maze; the pathways and openings in the walls of the maze change at intervals and are riddled with logic puzzles and tests. At its entrance, Sarah finds Hoggle, a curmudgeonly dwarf, spraying fairies with a solution to stop them biting him. She bribes him with plastic jewelry to lead her through the maze. Although he helps Sarah, it is later revealed that he is a halfhearted operative deployed by Jareth. Sarah's other companions, acquired along the way, are Sir Didymus, a chivalrous, fox-like knight who rides a sheepdog called Ambrosius, lives near the Bog of Eternal Stench, and guards a bridge to uphold a sacred oath, and Ludo, a giant, furry, gentle beast she rescues from some of Jareth's goblins. Ludo has the unique ability to summon boulders by howling, which he uses twice to aid Sarah.

Sarah and her friends experience a variety of adventures, including a stop at the Four Guards, where she must solve a Raymond Smullyan-inspired Knights and Knaves logic puzzle to avoid certain death; an encounter with detachable-limbed revellers known as "The Fire Gang", who try to remove Sarah's head; a detour through the Bog of Eternal Stench; a junkyard-like recreation of her own bedroom; and a hallucinogen-induced masquerade ball. There, Jareth attempts to keep her until the 13th hour by dancing with her. She wakes from this illusion and continues into his castle beyond the goblin city with barely enough time to spare.

The film climaxes in Jareth's multi-dimensional, M. C. Escher-inspired castle, wherein he makes a final appeal for her to abandon her quest and stay with him. She defeats him by reciting her monologue from the beginning of the movie ("Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great..."), including the final line that Sarah had been having difficulty remembering: "You have no power over me". The room crumbles away, whereupon Sarah finds herself in the front hall of her home with the clock striking midnight and the owl Jareth flying away.

In Toby's room, she gives him Lancelot, then returns to her room. As Sarah clears her dressing table, she seems confused about whether she has undergone the turning point in her life between childhood and adulthood. Hoggle appears, along with Ludo and Sir Didymus, as images in the mirror. They seem to be bidding her goodbye as she leaves behind the fantasies of childhood, but remind her that they will still be available "should you need us". Sarah insists she presently needs them, whereupon they appear in her bedroom. The film closes as the Labyrinth's creatures celebrate in her room. Outside, the owl Jareth watches the party and then flies away into the night.




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Directed by Jim Henson
Produced by George Lucas
Written by Dennis Lee
Jim Henson
Terry Jones
Starring Jennifer Connelly
David Bowie
Toby Froud
Music by David Bowie
Trevor Jones
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) June 27, 1986
Running time 101 min.
Language English
Budget $25 million