I’ve watched Labyrinth since I was little. It and The Princess Bride were always my go-to movies when I was sick. I own both on VHS and DVD, and I own very few videos.
Maggie is 4. She’s never managed to watch a non-animated movie for more than about 10 minutes before walking away. Yesterday she watched Labyrinth from start to finish.
She had questions
She had so many questions we spent most of last night talking about it and then the car ride in this morning and I don’t think we’re done talking about the movie.
I have never been interrogated for so long about the contents of a movie and the motivations behind each character’s scenes as I was yesterday and today.
I have also never thought as much about the motivations behind a movie as this one. Honestly I’ve watched the thing probably nearly 80 times now and not realized that the thing wasn’t just about the baby being kidnapped and Sarah having to rescue him until grilled for hours by a kid.
It was about a goblin with no real power other than illusion obsessing over a teenage girl and convincing her he was powerful, and that all of this was all her idea and her fault.
He told her there was a game and a time limit to get Toby back. At the point she started believing she started giving the goblin king power.
He set up traps and encounters that if she had just asked a little more from the people who were not the goblin king she would have defeated him. Ask the worm “hey, which way is the castle,” or the helping hands “how do I get to the goblin king,” etc. But that might have lead to questions such as “why do you want to know,” and I don’t think she was proud of having wished her brother away.
Maggie asked the motivations behind all the characters and scenes. The rat (dog knight,) Ludo, Hoggle, Junk lady, the goblin masquerade ball. Without exception the characters were introduced to delay or scare her or show her the Goblin King’s power.
The masquerade ball was both a delay and Jareth attempting to woo Sarah with what life with him might be like. The trash lady was attempting to delay her with her old life (Maggie pointed out she was piling the memories on her back and turning her into a trash lady, I had never noticed that before.)
She asked why the goblin army was so easily defeated, deciding that they never had any real power.
We had discussions on what illusions were, and unhealthy obsessions, and whether Jareth even cares about getting Toby in the first place. If Jareth would have just given Toby back if Sarah would have been with him.
We decided the Goblin King had no power, which is what the line in the book says and what Sarah says to defeat him. It was backed up by the crazy stairs illusion being shattered when she stopped playing his game.
She decided that the Goblin King was sad and wanted a girlfriend and went about it a bad way. I said that’s about the best summary I could think of. She then asked me what would have happened if the Goblin King had won. I had my own suspicions at this point but gave her a few options to choose from as I didn’t want to lead her as this was getting fascinating to me.
She thought he would have offered Sarah a deal by which she could get back Toby by becoming his princess (she meant bride or queen.) I agreed. I asked her what would happen if Sarah said no. “Doesn’t matter daddy, he had no power over her.”
“So you think she’d be free?”
“Yeah, her and the baby. He has no power”
“Didn’t he move the stars and change time for her? That seems like power”
“No, he moved the things (hands) on a clock”
Huh, well, that’s where we’re at.
Some other things she decided along the way were that he was trying to throw her in the bog of eternal stench so nobody else would love her. Showing her Ludo tied up was to show the power of the Goblin army.
Most of the ride in today was devoted to it, we ended on why the dog knight rides a dog with “I don’t know, I’ll find that out and let you know after school.”