The Power of the Babe
“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… You have no power over me.”
Believe it or not, but I wrote that quotation from memory. It comes, as you should know (and if not, why not?!) from Labyrinth – the story of Sarah, who wishes the Goblin King take her step-brother away and then has to navigate a strange realm in order to get him back. Labyrinth is a film I first saw as a young teen and have loved ever since. I have the Collector’s Edition on DVD. And the soundtrack.
For those that haven’t seen it *glares* Sarah is a young woman living in a dream world after the death of her mother. Though her father has moved on, remarried and now has a child, she’s trapped in the past, not willing to let go. She behaves like her stepmother is something from a fairytale and is convinced that she’s not being treated fairly. Left to babysit, she takes umbrage at baby brother Toby’s constant crying and, using a cue from a story, utters the fatal words: “I wish the Goblin King would take you away. Right now.”
Jareth, the infamous King and played by a glorious camp David Bowie, does as Sarah wishes, except she’s not all that grateful and quickly realises what she’s done. But to get her brother back, she has to solve the Labyrinth and that isn’t anywhere near as easy as she thinks it’ll be – it’s a world of hidden doors, shifting walls and oubliettes ready to trap the unwary.
The film itself is absolutely beautiful and the Labyrinth looks like a true fairy kingdom. Or should that be goblin kingdom? Either way, the twisting paths and the richly drawn characters make it a memory that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. The songs are just as catchy, too.
Songs? Oh yes, there are songs. From title track Underground, through Magic Dance (where I borrowed the blog title) to the haunting As The World Falls Down played during the Ballroom Scene, the songs are as much a part of the story as the plot and characters.
Labyrinth is a coming-of-age story. But unlike a certain popular trilogy, it’s not about falling in love (though there is that as well), it’s about a young woman discovering her place in the world, and in the power she has to control her own destiny. It’s also about moving on after a loss. It’s about putting away childish things but not losing that wonder. And it’s about friendships.
If you’ve never seen it, go and grab yourself a copy. But be prepared to hum the tunes for at least a week!