Learning to Be a Child of the 80s

M and I sat down to watch Labyrinth tonight.  M's comment:  "I wish I could have seen that when I was a child.  I think I would have loved it.  But it looks a little cheesey, these days, and the pacing is slow."

That was really telling to me.  See, my wife grew up in Japan without cable TV, or a nearby movie theater, or a VCR.  So she has never seen a lot of the movies that we (geeks, children of the 80s, and webizens) love and quote and reference.  A lot.  All the time, really.  So, when she says that she would have liked it but does not have the nostalgia factor built in, it makes me re-evaluate the movies I love.  

In this case, you have to take out a lot of geek-cool just to get to the movie.  Try to think of the film.  Now, forget the first time you saw it.  Forget the subsequent times.  Do not think about how cool it is that Jim Hensen and George Lucas made it.  Ignore that it is David Bowie playing the Goblin King.  Purge all post-1986 images of Jennifer Connelly from your mind.  Now watch the movie.

It's slow.  The music and dance numbers are cheesey.  The technical goofs regarding the set dressings and puppets are cringe-inducing in a couple of places.  So.  Do you still like the movie?  The story is still good.  The goblin designs by Froud are still cool.  The voice acting and puppetry is still top-notch. 

All this ran through my head and I decided that I still like the movie, but I can see my wife's point.  If my memory holds, Labyrinth will prove to be more timeless than, say, Ladyhawke and Time Bandits, but not as timeless as The Dark Crystal or Willow.

Either way, I intend to make my wife suffer through all of them, just so I can see if the 80s really had some great fantasy movies, or if my memory is just waxing nostalgic again.

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