A week has gone by since we heard the tragic news that David Bowie had passed away. Although he may be better known for the tremendous impact that he had on the music scene, Bowie also had quite the film career. His most famous outing was with the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, where he first acquired the nickname of ‘the Goblin King’. In memory of his career, City Screen, York, showed the film to a sold-out audience and I went along to remember the ‘80 classic.
Watching the film on the big screen was actually quite a surreal experience. I probably haven’t watched it since I was a child, and I would hazard a guess that I first saw it on an old VHS tape! But now after hearing the news of his passing, the film has taken on a whole other dimension of remembrance. So it is fair to say that this was quite the unique cinematic experience. One that I can safely say that I’ve never experienced before!
It was truly a great feeling to be sat among a sold-out audience who were all there to remember the late Bowie. Each person in the audience was likely to have had their own personal connection to David Bowie’s work and it was great to see that people of all ages had come out to watch the film. I personally haven’t really listened to his music all too much and I will readily admit that Labyrinth is the only film of his that I have seen, but it was still a very humbling experience to sit back and join in the celebration of the life of a very influential figure on the artistic scene.
Another interesting dimension to this particular screening was how fascinating it was to watch the kind of film that would have attracted large audiences in the 1980s. Of course, the special effects were quite primitive in comparison to what we’re used to today, but that just added to the charm. This was a time where companies like Jim Henson’s Creature Shop were thriving and practical effects more than made up for the lack of computer-generated special effects (not that it stopped them from showing that amazingly bad CGI owl at the start of the film). Maybe it’s just because Labyrinth is a family film and the puppetry of Jim Henson is such a familiar image from my childhood, but something about the style make the film feel like the perfect nostalgic movie!
Labyrinth truly is heart-warming. With a plot that’s easy to follow, characters who are each individually entertaining and an assortment of musical numbers performed by Bowie, it is a film that likely will never be forgotten. Labyrinth has become quite the fitting tribute to the daring style, the striking presence and the overall talent of the great David Bowie and will now ensure that Goblin King lives on forevermore.