Listen to our Labyrinth episode on:
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Like many cult classics, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth wasn’t fully appreciated in its own time. A carefully constructed labour of love for the director and his creative team, reviews for the film were mixed-to-hostile and it lost money at the US Box Office – though it did perform better overseas. The disappointment was described by Henson’s son Brian as one of the hardest periods of his father’s career.
In the decades that have followed, though, Labyrinth has emerged as one of the all-time great fantasy classics, and a staggering work of imagination and visual invention. It’s true that, as critics such as Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel griped at the time, the film has a paper-thin and ultimately inconsequential plot, but who needs a compelling narrative when practically every scene offers unforgettable creature features and set pieces?
With Jim Henson and David Bowie now gone, a direct sequel to Labyrinth was never a hugely realistic prospect, despite the huge fanbase the original commands today. Like Barbra Streisand in last week’s episode, Bowie is such a unique figure in entertainment – and so quintessentially associated with the role of the Goblin King – that recasting him seems unthinkable… so naturally we took it upon ourselves to come up with some ideas.
Check out this week’s episode, as we revisit Labyrinth in all its gonzo glory – and discover that for once we both have equally fond and clear memories of the film. Discussions include bad acting vs dream acting, the casting near-misses that could have totally changed the tone of the movie and why Sir Didymus will always be the absolute worst…
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Next week we’ll be back with one of the most quoted movies of the 90s – until then, pleasant dreams!