Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Labyrinth - Not your momma's muppet movie

So to start off this movie blog thing I thought I'd write about a film that I've preached from before and one that I enjoy watching. Labyrinth is a Jim Henson directed and George Lucas produced muppet movie, but it's not your typical muppet movie by any stretch of the imagination. The overwhelming majority of the characters in this film are Henson muppet versions of goblins and other fantasy denizens that are definitely not cute like the muppets of TV and Sesame Street fame. David Bowie stars as the Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly plays Sara in this imaginitive, coming of age fantasy. This film, originally released in 1984, centers around a young girl named Sara who finds herself thrown into a fantastical adventure in a magical maze in order to save her little brother from the Goblin King. Along the way she learns a series of life lessons and she learns about what's really important.

Early on in Sara's adventure she encounters a talking worm who gives her the following advice - "Things are not always what they seem in this place, so you can't take anything for granted." To be sure, this is good advice no matter where you are. In this world things are rarely what they seem and it's almost never good to take things for granted.

One thing that's striking in this film is someting that Sara says many times over, "It's not fair!" How many times do we hear people cry about the fairness of things today? I'm sorry to inform you of this, but life isn't fair. God promised us salvation but God did not promise that life would be fair. But this thought is something that Sara overcomes during the course of the movie by taking control of her situation instead of letting it control her.

As I see it, the most theological aspect of this movie is he idea of fellowship. Sara finds companions of like mind along the way, companions who ultimately help her find her way through the labyrinth and rescue her baby brother. At the end of the film, when she's back home and deciding to put away her childish things (1 Corinthians 13), Sara becomes nostalgic for her old friends. They show up and the film ends on a high note with the cast of muppets singing and dancing, having an ultimate celebration. I find this idea reflects what it may be like in heaven when one person is saved. I also believe that the fellowship of friends on a journey reflects the fellowship of Christian believers. We are all on this journey together. There are times when we just need one another, times when we need to celebrate growth, celebrate milestones, even just to celebrate little steps of faith. Paul wrote extensively about the community of the church and how we are to love and support one another. Jim Henson seems to have grasped this idea in Labyrinth, whether he was a Christian or not.

2009 is the 25th anniversary of this film and there was a recent DVD re-release, so it is available for rent and purchse. A word of caution to parents - there are occasions in which the main characters are in peril and a few scenes in the dark that little ones might find scary. But overall, Labyrinth is a wonderful family film with a healthy message. Enjoy it.

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