Jim Henson's Labyrinth is one of those '80s children movies that I consider a classic. With star power and songs from the late David Bowie, interesting and creative puppetry and designs, and a compelling story, I've enjoyed the movie artistically and critically — but, it's not perfect. Of course, it's going to have its occasional awkward acting and questionable scenes (*glares at the fireys*).
I have one scene in mind that has puzzled me for years since I first saw this movie as a kid. I'm talking about the scene where Sarah is meant have her big realization — her big "growing up" moment. Yet, in my mind, that scene didn't add anything to the story or development of Sarah's character and felt hashed in to try to follow the hero's journey formula.
This all happens after Sarah experiences her dream sequence with the Goblin King, when she finds herself in a desecrated wasteland of miscellaneous junk, furniture, and do-dads.
In this scene, the junkyard and her room of with all of her toys and personal belongings is symbolic of her child-like objects and tendencies. Her fit of claiming everything is "junk" is her moment of releasing herself from her childhood and mentally maturing as an adult, her coming-of-age moment.
That's fine and all — a hero needs to have a deep inner realization moment to reflect on his/herself and his/her life — but this scene didn't properly do that. It's played off more to distract her from her quest to save her brother. Sarah becoming more mature is her "true" mission, the symbolic mission she didn't know she was chasing after all along. Instead, we're given a quick little scene of her just throwing things and getting sucked back into the quest.
Although I do understand that throwing a tantrum and calling things "unfair" is kind of Sarah's thing (as shown throughout the movie), it seems redundant in this scene. If she is more mature now, why is she having a fit like a 5-year-old? Shouldn't she realize that isn't appropriate anymore? None of that made sense to me.
Then What Should Happen Instead?
How about instead of this scene, her big coming-of-age moment happens in the Goblin King's castle? Think about it: We already have this powerful scene, when she realizes she has control over herself and what she wants:
Why not include her big moment in that scene? Combine her two moments into one epic speech that would shatter the fragile heart of the Goblin King.
Even better, why not add it right before she has her final standoff with him? Between navigating through the crazy stairs and the standoff with the Goblin King, there could have been a rebirth scene where Sarah wants to quit and go home — the pressure to succeed overwhelms her. But with the help and motivation of (pick the mentor of your own liking), she comes to the realization that the more mature thing to do is to continue on, save her brother, and fix her mistake. That can make a great coming-of-age moment if done nicely.
What is your favorite memory about watching Labyrinth as a kid?