I’ve been watching Labyrinth pretty much nonstop since we bought it last week for my daughter. Partly, it’s because it’s something “new” (to our collection, anyway) to watch, and also something I can stand a little better than Dora the Explorer, which is a plus.
But of course there’s the other reason; cuz it’s a fuckin’ cool movie and David Bowie’s in it! There’s something oddly sexy about that strange man, and even at 65 years old, I wouldn’t doubt he’s still got it goin’ on. I like some of Bowie’s music, as well as his “presence” or persona or whatever you wanna call it. He’s a flouter of common moral codes and core beliefs, especially with his androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.
So I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the musical numbers in the film. If you’ve never seen Labyrinth… go watch it, immediately….now! Well, come on. It’s like an 80’s pop-culture staple, especially if you were an 80’s/90’s child. Admitting you’ve never seen Labyrinth is almost as sad and unacceptable as me admitting I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Dark Crystal (Eeek! The humanity!)
I’ll skip the synopsis and just satisfy myself with the brief explanation that Bowie’s character, Jareth the Goblin King, is in love with Jennifer Connelly’s teenaged character, and throughout the film he tries all manner of bribery, trickery, and bullying to get Sarah to give up her quest to rescue her baby brother and, as he so subtly words it, just-
“– fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave“
Somehow I don’t think this is something a grown-ass man should be saying to a fifteen year old girl. But we weren’t as paranoid about our creepers then, I guess.
And yet- and this is what gets me- as inappropriate as his romantic overtures may be, there’s something undeniably sexy about the emotive expressions on his face and the sound of his voice as he sings to Sarah.
Although nothing springs to the top of my head at the moment, I’d be willing to bet my Curious George lunchbox that there are plenty of other movies like this, especially from the 70’s, 80’s, and early nineties, where the romantic dynamic is a little… skewed.
It is interesting to note, however, that I do recall watching some of the special features on one of the Harry Potter films, in which Ralph Fiennes discusses the dynamic between the series’ main protagonist, Harry Potter, and his own character, the evil wizard, Lord Voldemort.
‘It’s a very disturbing scene. I mean, if you sort of strip away the fairytale fantasy package of it, what you get is a little boy tied up, while an older man humiliates him. And that, translated to the real world is…not…children’s fair. At all.”
– Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) on the Graveyard Scene
Oh, well. In this case, I’m willing to make an exception. Jareth, sing to me and wear those tight pants that show your junk, and you can rule me any time!