Council of Geeks; IMDb; Jim Henson Company; Lucasfilm; Muppet Wiki; official website; Rotten Tomatoes; Sony Pictures; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube
This came out in 1986. I'm not sure when or in what capacity I first saw it, like if it was on TV or whatever. But anyway... now I have it on DVD. It's only got two human stars of any significance, the main one being Jennifer Connelly, who plays a girl named Sarah. I reckon this must be the first thing I ever saw her in. The other star is David Bowie, who plays the Goblin King, Jareth. And he provides pretty much all the music in the movie. Aside from them, the cast is mostly creatures created by Jim Henson's company. Anyway... Sarah is left home to look after her baby half brother, Toby, while her dad and stepmom go out for the night. She deeply resents this, and seems to blame Toby, and wishes goblins would take him away. And then they do.
So... Sarah is transported to a fantastic world, where she has to make her way through a labyrinth (which frequently changes), to get to the goblin city, and beyond that, Jareth's castle, to rescue Toby. (Of course, immediately after Toby disappeared, she regretted what she'd said, but you can't entirely blame her. I mean, no one who says things like that actually expects them to happen.) She soon meets a dwarf named Hoggle, who is sometimes helpful and sometimes not, because he's a coward, and Jareth is forcing him to hinder Sarah's progress, whether he wants to or not. (Sarah calls him "Hogwart" a couple of times, which I find amusing now because of Harry Potter.) Eventually, Sarah rescues a beast named Ludo, who becomes a friend and ally. Later still, they're joined by a foxlike knight named Sir Didymus, and his "steed," a dog named Ambrosius, who looks remarkably like Sarah's own dog, Merlin. (I wouldn't have gotten that the first time I saw the movie, but now I find the name "Ambrosius" amusing.)
I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. It's just all pretty crazy, in a way that's somewhat evocative of "The Wizard of Oz" or "Alice in Wonderland," but... crazier. So... what else to say? The special effects were probably kind of impressive for the time, but some of them seem a bit dated now. Particularly, I think, the scene with the "Fireys." For the most part I'm not wild about the music... definitely not Bowie's best work. But it's okay. (There's one song that puts me in mind of a bit of comedy from The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.) Oh, and I should mention that this movie has some vague sort of ties to The Dark Crystal, because of the Henson creatures, and the fact that Jim Henson directed both movies, and both movies had conceptual designs by Brian Froud. But otherwise they're unrelated. Um... the movie is definitely nostalgic for me, which probably makes me rate it slightly higher than I would otherwise. But it's still not really a favorite. But I appreciate the craziness and the weird creatures and everything. And... oh yes, there's some manga based on the movie, which I'd like to read someday. And I'm probably forgetting other things I'd like to say about the movie, but... if I think of anything later, I can edit it in. Whatever.