theharlotofferelden: (Labyrinth - General)
[personal profile] theharlotofferelden
It's nice rewatching old childhood favs with a media analysis lens, because it allows me to revisit a muse in ways that keep things fresh.

I mean, David Bowie is/was problematic for various reasons, but I still think he was a good casting choice on Henson's part. Like, just in general from acting to composing/singing, and the Goblin King acting as something of a Rock Idol/Icon just Works for some reason (they talked about this being a thing they wanted in behind the scenes interviews).

But I'm also like, laughing, because, what, is David Bowie the Coming Of Age Owl?

Sorta wondering if anyone has written fic about Jareth seeing Sarah on the cusp of adulthood, and wanting to push her in that direction for vaguely creepy reasons that end in cunnilingus. 

Like, I can see why the story was written that way, but it does have that weird angle where Jareth wants Sarah. Meanwhile Sarah acts like a petulant child in the beginning and he sorta condescends her about "going into her room to play with her toys". So like, not exactly pedophilia, but pedophilia's cousin or something. But like, it's okay because he nudges her into adulthood, or it's interpreted as Sarah's fantasy where she's with Jareth, or something. 

Something I noticed was how Sarah gave up several items throughout the film. A tube of lipstick, a bracelet, and a ring. There was something about this that struck me as abandoning childish things and moving towards adulthood. The lipstick was thrown away in a fit of pique, the bracelet was given in exchange for a service that was promised (but inconsistently rewarded) and the ring was given in exchange for useless information. 

But I think the point comes across most strongly in contrast with the ballroom/dance dream between Sarah and Jareth. I forget the specific commentary, but basically it went something like how this scene was meant to highlight how close Sarah is to adulthood, or rather how she longs for it (as a fantasy it's certainly opulent). Yet when Sarah is placed in this world, she doesn't quite fit in, and towards the end you get a sense of anxiety from her, and ultimately, rejection of the world (which is partly due to the time on the clock, but still).

After this scene follows the scene between the trash goblin in her room cooing over all her toys and how much she loves all these Things. Lots of toys, lots of make believe, lots of distraction. Ultimately, Sarah ends up rejecting this world too in favor of saving her brother.

Though I think it bears mentioning that Jareth is the one who engineers the first scene, which suggests he's trying to force her into adulthood. Rejection of the world also suggests rejection of him, though she comes to this conclusion through trial and error (i.e. scene literally starts off with her seeing him and repeatedly trying to find him over and over again).

Related tangent: can I just say that Bowie's makeup in this scene was poppin'? Yo, highlight so strong he was wearing fucking glitter on those cheekbones. God damn. And LIPGLOSS ON THE LIPS I C A N T.

Also the different reads of the film make it more interesting to me. Whether Jareth is intentionally trying to goad Sarah in the beginning or genuinely doesn't want her to look for her brother (Jareth wanting to push Sarah into adulthood vs. wanting to subdue/dominate/control her). Either way, he doesn't expect her to get far as he's genuinely surprised by the end.

Lol but can u imagine he's looking outside and it's mayhem in the city all because of her.

Then there's Sarah, childishness pantomiming adulthood (reciting passages to defy a fictional character who ultimately turns out to be real). Eventually comes to own those words (the reason she can't remember them in the beginning is because she doesn't understand them, or otherwise can't empathize until the very end when she realizes that at every turn she has defied him - contrasting his words in the beginning i.e. "Don't defy me").

Sarah appears genuinely afraid of Jareth in the beginning, but recognizes that she's responsible for her brother so she stands against him, insists. He kinda gets too close at certain points, causing her to flinch. Fear or shyness? Both? Either way, contrasts their next encounter where he does get pretty close when he asks her how she likes his Labyrinth. Vaguely flirty? Idk he asks it like he's asking her how she's enjoying the party or some shit. Sarah, to her credit, doesn't flinch away, but instead antagonizes him by saying it's "a piece of cake". Brilliant idea, Sarah.

Ofc Jareth doesn't approve of cheekiness so he fast forwards the time on the clock and throws her a curveball with the cleaners. Though imo, I just got the sense that he did that because he really didn't want her to get through the Labyrinth as in a previous scene he expresses some worry about her getting anywhere in the Labyrinth (when she ended up in the oubliette specifically - wow I spelled that right on a first try). 
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