Review from Cosmopolitan

Here’s a transcript of the relevant portion of an article from Cosmopolitan, December, 1986, entitled “Cosmo reviews movies,” by Helen Duncan. Click below for scans and the snarky, poorly written text of the review.

Scans from the article.

Cosmo reviews movies

by Helen Duncan


Jim Henson’s creation of the Muppets was one of the most delightful achievements of our time, but, unfortunately, Henson seems to have got the notion that Muppets are only for kids. He’s trying to go upmarket and is in danger of losing his sense of humor.

The Dark Crystal did have a certain magic, although there were worrying signs that Henson and his team were beginning to take themselves too seriously. The lighthearted charm of the Muppets is further eroded by Labyrinth.

This is the story of a teenage girl who encounters adventures and enchantments while looking for her baby brother stolen by goblins. Henson says it’s a fairy tale for adults with a “deeper level” — “It’s about a person at the point of changing from a child to a woman. Times of transition are always magic.” The trouble is that the dazzling technology is more evident than the magic — it doesn’t really work as an adolescent fantasy. Looking back, I remember inventing much more intricate fantasies than having my stepbrother kidnapped by goblins, even if the Goblin King is none other than David Bowie.

Bowie makes less impact than you’d expect, appearing more interested in dressing up in his goblin costumes than the actual storyline. He certainly looks spectacular, but he never tries to convey the mixture of menace and attractiion of the character.

Jennifer Connelly is a pretty though slightly vapid heroine, but she has to play second fiddle to the puppet characters. These are wonderfully constructed and animated, but they don’t have as much life as Kermit or Miss Piggy. Labyrinth is something to study and admire, but you don’t fall under its spell.

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