Is The 'Labyrinth' Remake Really Necessary?

by Jennifer Still

Big news for anyone who grew up in the '80s/loved amazing movies about magic and David Bowie: According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Labyrinth remake is in the works. Per the site, the upcoming project is set to be penned by Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman, and the deal will involve the film's original production company, as well as The Jim Henson Co. (aka, the one with all the muppets). Of course, it was only a matter of time until the 1986 cult favorite movie was remade — and the timing makes sense especially now, given all the nostalgia about the film following film star Bowie's tragic death. Though the original was pretty much perfection, this remake could very well be just as great — considering the film isn't in production yet, it's tough to gather much information about it. That said, though, no matter how good the updated version is, let's be real — there are a few elements from the original that are truly untouchable, and this remake is really going to have to create its own magic to set itself apart.

The deal was just closed this week, which is interesting timing given that we only just lost Bowie, who played the terrifying yet bizarrely charismatic Goblin King. Jennifer Connelly, in one of her very first Hollywood roles, played the protagonist Sarah, a teenager forced to navigate the labyrinth and find her way to the center in order to save her baby brother, Toby, who'd been taken by the Goblin King at the beginning of the film.

Labyrinth was one of my favorite movies when I was younger, and I know I'm not alone in this. There are just some parts of the original that are untouchable:

Bowie As The Goblin King

Obviously as a child, I had no idea who David Bowie was outside of this movie. What I did know is that he was immensely watchable — charismatic and terrifying but still intriguing and mysterious, and almost tender if he wasn't a villain.

The Wonderfully '80s Ambiance

Special effects and CGI have come a long way in the past 30 years, and no doubt the updated Labyrinth will make good use of them. However, in the original, so much of the charm is that it was a product of its time, and is very much an '80s movie.

Jennifer Connelly

I think I speak for many of us when I say that I totally grew up idolizing Jennifer Connelly and thinking she was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. I wanted to be her, in other words. I wanted to grow my hair super long and wear clothes like she had and go on a big adventure and be brave like her.

The Dated But Charming Puppetry

In 2016, we can make computer drawings look like real people, so I'm interested to see how the new Labyrinth will deal with Henson's incredible puppet work from the original. That said, though, the puppets in the original were dated and obviously fake — and that made them even more charming.

The Simple But Effective Feeling Of Fear

It takes a lot to scare kids these days. They've become desensitized and aren't easily impressed. One of the best things about watching Labyrinth as a kid isn't that it was terrifying — it certainly didn't give me nightmares or anything, or I doubt I would have been able to watch it repeatedly — but there was an underlying unsettling feeling that was almost scarier than any outright monsters could ever be.

I'm sure the filmmakers will work hard to ensure that the new Labyrinth is high quality and fun to watch — but the original, it should not be forgotten, was pretty perfect too.

Images: Lucasfilm/Jim Henson Co; Giphy