When a great artist dies, specifically from something horribly universal like cancer, it is undoubtedly heartbreaking. Even though the multi-talented man brought so much joy into our collective lives, David Bowie's death at 69, an age I consider a minimum of 10 years too early, brings so much sadness. But it's OK to be sad, guys, because it's all a part of this process we call life, and that sadness doesn't mean that we can't take a moment and think about the good times. Nay, the best times. Yes, the best times I'm referring to are when Bowie played the Goblin King in Labyrinth, Jim Henson's 1986 cult classic. Yes, despite years of Bowie success — killing the game in MTV's first music videos, appealing to various audiences of all types of people, being a pioneer for LGBT people — I consider the Goblin King his greatest success. And the Magic Dance scene in Labyrinth is David Bowie at his absolute best.
If you're a fan of Labyrinth, you know the movie is probably not objectively the best movie ever. It might not really even be that great of a movie at all. Sure, the muppets by Jim Henson are cool, and it's all spooky, which is certainly very nice, but it's also quite bizarre. On top of that, David Bowie is weirdly hot as a Goblin King (though one does have to wonder why the rest of the goblins are so squat), which certainly made for some confusing times for me as a teenager. The best part of Labyrinth, hands down, is anytime Bowie has a musical number. While there are a few that come to mind, none resonates more with fans, or is more memorable, than "Magic Dance."
If you're not familiar with Labyrinth, allow me to give you a quick summary. Angry teen Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is stuck at home babysitting her baby half-brother. She's salty with her father and stepmother for making her do this, because she has more important things to do — like recite Shakespeare in the park while a creepy barn owl watches. When she finds out the incessantly-crying baby Toby has taken her stuffed bear Lancelot, she's super grouchy and wishes the goblins would take him (because that's a normal thing people do). But whoops for Sarah, because the Goblin King, Jareth, does take her baby brother to make him a goblin and/or eat his chubby baby thighs and/or something along those lines. Jareth gives Sarah 13 hours to find Toby in the center of a labyrinth. Eventually, he falls in love with her, and tries to make her his bride, which is definitely not legal without parental permission.
In "Magic Dance," Bowie aka Jareth shows us that the best way to get a baby to chill out is to gather your adorable goblin minions and perform a joyous song and dance. Meanwhile, Sarah is trying her damndest to locate her baby brother, which is sweet. But who needs an angry teen babysitter or a pacifier when you are David Bowie? When you find yourself feeling sad about the loss of one of the greatest entertainers of our time, "dance magic dance" and "jump magic jump" and you will find yourself on the path to joy again. In these dark times, when we're all trying to find our own ways to make sense of this tragedy, "Magic Dance" shines a desperately needed light by reminding us of Bowie's sense of humor, comedic timing, musical skill, and lasting impact on basically every aspect of art there is.
Watch the "Magic Dance" again below.
Images: Tristar Pictures; Giphy