Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. United Kingdom/USA, 1986. Henson Associates, Lucasfilm, The Jim Henson Company, Delphi V Productions, Henson Organisation, TriStar Pictures. Story by Dennis Lee, Jim Henson, Screenplay by Terry Jones. Cinematography by Alex Thomson. Produced by Eric Rattray. Music by Trevor Jones. Production Design by Elliot Scott. Costume Design by Ellis Flyte, Brian Froud. Film Editing by John Grover.
An eternal cult favourite, delightfully imaginative for the young and trippy for the more mature. Jennifer Connelly plays a girl fed up with having her social life dampened by the task of looking after her baby brother. When she wishes that he would get kidnapped by goblins, she unwittingly unleashes disaster as actual goblins come and steal him, forcing her to travel to a fantastic land and get her sibling back. David Bowie makes a terrific appearance as king of the Goblins, complete with glam rock costume and a few bouncy tunes (most of which, like much of this film, make no sense…not to mention that I could not glean any reason for an upright human to be king of the goblins). The monolithic plot mainly concentrates on the walled maze that Connelly must navigate to reach her goal, full of strange characters and situations that make the film something of a Wizard Of Oz for the socially inept: she makes friends but never keeps them, and whether treated well and poorly by characters it never has much of an effect on her. Imagination is at a high point here, as director Jim Henson manages to put forth visual conceits that you have never seen and would rarely be seen again. It’s an incredibly odd concoction of a movie, sometimes listless for adults to sit through, but for all its effort to be strange it has no self-importance to it (like the bloat that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen would be hampered by three years later).