Tag Archives: Bonfire of the Nerderies

Bonfire of the Nerderies – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy”

Mos Def and Martin Freeman in "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"

Where do you start with “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”?  Do you talk about its place in the great tradition of pomposity-puncturing, absurdity worshipping British Sci-Fi?  Do you try to decode the almost dizzying cross-continuity which exists between differing versions of the story?  Do you mumble something about always needing your towel and then move on?

It’s a tale which has seen iterations on radio, as an increasingly inaccurately numbered trilogy of novels, a fondly remembered BBC TV series, stage plays, comic books, a beloved PC game and this most recent of adaptations in 2005.

There’s something about it, a unique selling point which survives translation to different forms of media, in different decades and manages to appeal to generations who weren’t even a blip in their parents DNA when Douglas Adams began writing the BBC radio show in the 1970s.  It’s always potent, slightly counter-culture, wonderfully humane and surprisingly moving.

A Vogon demolition squad, pictured next month during the inevitable end of the planet…

At its core, “The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” is a simple tale of friendship, intergalactic travel, planetary strife, adventure, universally translating fish and invaluable towels.  The tone and humour of the stories is quintessentially British, but manages to be reasonably accessible and doesn’t require a hard-won degree in science fiction arcana to be able to understand it – it’s a common misconception, I think, that the “Hitchhikers” series requires the audience to do a lot of heavy lifting to follow things.

The story’s hero Arthur Dent is very much an Every Bloke and, therefore, an audience identification figure.  He’s a not terribly successful, unlucky in love but generally decent.  Arthur’s previously unadventurous and stultifying  path through life is rudely interrupted one morning by his best friend Ford Prefect who rocks up just in time to save him from the planet Earth being demolished to make way for an interstellar bypass (on that last point, I’m sure that some would say ‘not before time’…).

In the film, which I’m primarily basing this post on, Dent is played by Martin Freeman, an English comic actor most recently seen in Steven Moffat’s update of “Sherlock” but still perhaps best known for his role in Ricky Gervais’ doc-com, “The Office”.  I say ‘perhaps’ here as I’ve never seen “The Office”, in either the Gervais original or the American Steve Carell-fronted version.  Seeing this film was really the first major exposure that I can recall having to Martin Freeman, and I feel that he made a difficult role his own.

‘Difficult’ in this context as to a certain generation of Brits, Arthur Dent is Simon Jones, from the BBC TV adaptation.  He’s so ingrained in my consciousness that I tend to hear his voice, or David Dixon as Ford, when I go back to reading the Douglas Adams books.

Arthur Dent, in the British gentleman's armour of choice, a comfy dressing gown.

Freeman captures Dent’s bemusement at the incomprehensible world that he’s forced to leave and his wonder at the wider galaxy that he finds himself hurtling through.  He’s not an actor who mugs desperately to wring laughs where none exist but one who finds the funny in quiet moments and expertly conveys Arthur’s slightly creepy neediness when he meets the proverbial dream girl who got away, Trillian  and tries to win her back.

Trillian, played by Zooey Deschanel. If you just marked off "Intergalactic hipster glasses" on your bingo card, congratulations!

A tough job normally but one which is made exponentially difficult by the fact that Trillian is travelling in the presence of errant Galactic president and twin-headed alpha male Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell, channelling equal parts David Lee Roth and Bugs Bunny).  He’s  the kind of guy that will seduce your girl/boyfriend, steal your spaceship, kidnap himself and generally do his best to destroy your life, sometimes for kicks, mostly because he’s bored and hey, that seems like kind of fun thing to do.  Pan-cosmic sociopath or excessively fun dude – I’ve never made up on that one.

Arthur, then, is roaming the galaxy in the company of a gang of weird-beards, a depressed automaton, the girl of his dreams and knocking heads with the Vogon race who initially destroyed his planet.  Along the way, there’s a bit with a galactic religious cult leader (John Malkovich) which isn’t in the books (and doesn’t really go anywhere – perhaps a set-up for the sequels which should have followed this film?) and a visit to the smartest machine in the universe, Deep Thought (voiced by Helen Mirren).

My favourite bit in this adaptation?

Hey, hey! It's Bill Nighy!

Yep, Bill Nighy plays Slartibartfast – slightly hippy-ish builder of the Earth and other planets (So, Bill Nighy and a quiet big-up to Atheism in the same scene? No, I can’t think why I like this part of “Hitchhikers” so much…) and takes Arthur Dent  to his shop floor…

Arthur & Slartibartfast go to work...

…which results in one of the more underrated bits of (literal) world-building in recent science fiction cinema.

to quote another favourite film of mine, "They should have sent a poet..."

It’s this part of the film which has my favourite moment in the film – and possibly in pop culture – which hinges around Slartibartfast’s philosophical approach to some of existence’s more difficult-to-grasp vagaries:

“Perhaps I’m old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what’s actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, “Hang the sense of it,” and keep yourself busy. I’d much rather be happy than right any day.”

Those, my friends, are words to live by.  There’s nothing to look forward to after this comparatively short life  ends, much as we might want to believe there is.  There’s only the here, the now and how we treat each other whilst we’re fumbling around for meaning in a world which resolutely defies any attempts to understand it.  And that’s what this movie gets so right,  in my opinion – though this film was in development for decades, with countless script drafts and iterations discarded to time, so much of Douglas Adams’ singular voice and humanity survived the process and made it through to the final film.

Though the film wasn’t successful enough to justify Disney subsidiary Touchstone Pictures green-lighting further adaptations of the novel series, director Garth Jennings and his producing partner Nick Goldsmith can be justifiably proud of what they achieved here.

The S.S. Heart of Gold. Ain't she purty?

The span is galactic, but the characters are very human.  The story zips about all over the place but never really loses focus.  Changes are made to the core story but the story’s concerns and truths are not jettisoned to make things more accessible to a mainstream audience.

I love this version still, and was more than happy to watch it again as I wrote this piece.  Here’s hoping that some upstart film maker manages to build on this foundation in the future and revive the stories for a new generation – I really, really want to be able to see Disaster Area rock out on-screen one day…

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Edgar Wright watches “Buckaroo Banzai” with Kevin Smith. Meanwhile, my head explodes.

Even if you watch it, this film won't make sense to you. Yes, it's THAT good.

Over on Topless Robot today, lovely Rob tells the story of how he got Edgar Wright to watch “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension” at his upcoming “The Wright Stuff 3” film fest in Los Angeles.

It makes a fine read and anything which reminds us of the very unique and singular joy of “Buckaroo Banzai” has to be celebrated, right?  And if ever there was a film calling out to be the subject of a “Bonfire of the Nerderies” post…

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Bonfire of the Nerderies – “The Last Starfighter” (1984)

Blame this edition of Bonfire of the Nerderies on “Ready Player One”.  Ernest Cline’s novel has many references to gems of 80’s pop culture – think the likes of “Real Genius”, the John Hughes catalogue, “Family Ties”, “WarGames” – and given its unabashed love of all things gaming, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that one of the movies referenced by hero Wade Watts in the course of his adventure through the OASIS is Nick Castle’s blissfully geeky, video game classic, “The Last Starfighter”.

Every nerd gamer kid's feverish imaginings/preferred career choice comes to pass...

My relationship with this prime 80’s sci-fi fantasy began with a cultural artefact quite specific to that decade – the tie-in novelization for the film, as written by the poet laureate of film adaptations, Alan Dean Foster.  Back in the day, when the internet had yet to become a part of most people’s lives, if you wanted to go deeper into a film than by just going to see it at the cinema multiple times (video recorders were a luxury to my family, as was the idea of owning a film on VHS – just fuggedabout it!), you had to get creative.

Advance gossip and stills found in magazines like the oddly glamorous, exclusive, decidedly American SF magazine “Starlog”  offered one peak behind the curtain – getting your pre-teen mitts on a copy of an eagerly-anticipated film’s novelization was another.  To invoke “Galaxy Quest” once more, these ‘historical documents’ provided the pre-dot.com nerd crowd with privileged insight into the eccentricities of the film-making process, based as they so often were on the shooting script of the film, rather than the actual end product.

Scenes which didn’t make it into the film!  Inky black-and-white stills in the middle of the book!  Production credits!  Oh the joys that such books offered us in the days when you had to actively work to find out things in the pre-Google age.

There's good reading in this book, let me tell you...

So, let’s talk about the film proper.  At its core, “The Last Starfighter” operates on a undeniably high-concept premise – resolutely earth-bound trailer park kid Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) is so good at video games that his preternatural abilities get him unwittingly drafted, trained and positioned as the initial and only line of defence against a ruthless alien invasion force.

Insert 'Monsters of Rock' joke here...

If you read that synopsis and thought “A-ha! That’s ‘Galaxy Quest’ that is”, well I can’t argue with that. There’s a definite shared DNA between the two films – the galaxy is threatened by a menace which can only be averted by a team of unlikely heroes patently unsuited for the task – and both films are at least as interested in relationships and comedy as they are in the science fiction spectacle promised by their titles.

Where the films differ is that “The Last Starfighter” is an unashamed adventure at its core and has an appealingly wide-eyed, glib hipster-repelling tone which probably wouldn’t fly in an age which is more cine-literate than the 1980’s was, more cynical and less likely to engage with a story whose hero is essentially a normal guy with nothing really going on except his ability to get to the final boss on an arcade cabinet.

(For younger readers, there were these things in the 1980’s called arcades and your writer grew up in a British seaside town where arcades where quite the thing if you wanted to play video games in an environment composed of equal parts bright lights, deafening sounds, omnipresent cigarette smoke and imminent danger from the petty criminals who seemed to use such venues as a safe place to offload whatever ill-secured booty they had recently shoplifted.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?)

Upright cabs - it's no wonder that I've got back pain in my dotage...

Alex’s life is promptly set-up as going nowhere when we learn that his hopes to get out his trailer park malaise by applying to college has been torpedoed when his request for a student loan is rejected – he’s stuck in the slow lane, doing mind-numbing maintenance work and not being able to offer his girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stuart) anything like a better life.

Alex’s life changes forever when he meets Robert Preston’s character Centauri, a wily old goat who claims to be from the company which makes the Starfighter game, but in fact built the game as a recruiting device to find suitable candidates to fight in a galactic war.  They are to be trained to fly a real Gunstar ship and defeat the evil Kodan race who – cough, Borg, cough – wish to enslave alien races and assimilate them.

Won’t people, you know, miss Alex when he’s not around to sort out the electrics in the trailer park or unblock the latrine?  No, Centauri’s thought of that – he leaves behind a robot double of Alex to look after things whilst the real article’s away on the front line – what could possibly go wrong?

Badder than an X-Wing, quicker than a Viper, more ungainly than a Tardis...image via the invaluable "Last Starfighter" Wiki

Well, there’s a bit of a hitch when an alien assassin shows up to kill what is believed to be the real Alex and the minor problem of Alex realising that fighting in a galactic war isn’t as straight-forward as it is on a CRT screen. Will he stay the course and save the galaxy, Earth, Maggie and his family?  Will the Gunstar’s top-secret, never-tested-in-battle weapon system work when it needs to?  Will Robot Duplicate Alex really blab to Alex’s mum about his kid brother’s secret stash of girlie mags?  (See what I mean about pre-internet?).

The outcome of this film is never really in doubt – this is not a film which wants to appeal to the seen-it-all-before film student in the audience (beyond, perhaps, casting Robert Preston in a riff on his role in “The Music Man”) or play with the conventions of genre in any meaningful way – but the charm with which it tells its tale of an unwilling hero finding the courage to confront evil head on is probably why it wins so many comparisons to the original “Star Wars” trilogy – it’s hard to imagine this film existing without the then-recent-in-memory Lucas films establishing that there was an audience for gee-whiz sci-fi.

Though the visual effects have, of course, dated somewhat in the nearly thirty years since it’s debut, “The Last Starfighter” is definitely an important film when discussing the history and development of visual effects, with its pioneering use of computer generated ships in the space battles.

The acting is fine with Robert Preston sublime as the disreputable Centauri and I still have a real soft spot for Dan O’ Herlihy’s work as Alex’s navigator, the prosthetically-enhanced alien Grig:

Ah, the genius of prosthetic make-up artists...

In the lead, Lance Guest is likeable and handsome but somehow never really had the career that you might have expected him to – his IMDB listing indicates that he’s worked regularly since this film but never had much in the way of a featured role subsequently.  That’s if you count “Jaws: The Revenge” as being in the same ball park as his work here, and I really don’t.

So, to put this film in some kind of context, it’s definitely a better video game-inspired movie than most of the films we’ve seen recently, which are directly adapted from interactive source material.  It’s an adventure which is mostly family friendly – there’s the odd moment of teen romance, and the aforementioned allusion to Hugh Hefner’s signature publication but nothing to embarrass any parent who can sit through an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” with their kids – and essentially positive in tone, with Alex being a hard-working, industrious kind of bloke who just needs a fair break or two.  He doesn’t snap anybody’s neck, curse too much or behave like a boor – and to think, this is what Hollywood used to consider the essence of a heroic leading male.  Yep, it’s a time capsule case and no mistake.

Ain't love grand? Image via The Kid in the Hall blog

Does “The Last Starfighter” live up to my memories of it?  I’m not sure that any film from such a formative time in my life really could, but it’s still quite charming, funny in its way and boasts memorable aliens and an essential story structure which usually works whenever it’s used in equivalent adventures.  It manages to feature the then relatively new phenomenon of arcade video games in a way which suggests that they are not – shocker! – tools of Satan, destined to rob the youth of their spare change and immortal souls.

When your favourite video game blog seems to feature a daily story from some press release-happy special interest group wanting to blame games for every ill up to and including wholesale rat slaughter, any movie which shows games as fairly positive and life-affirming entertainments is more than fine in my book.

Word persists from time to time that this film is ripe for the remake treatment – you can see why this might be. The effects would obviously benefit from twenty-five years or so advances in the field and games are now so much a part of our culture that you wouldn’t have to do much heavy lifting to bring an audience up to speed on what these bleeping, colourful things are all about.

I’m going to go against the grain on this one by suggesting that a direct remake isn’t the best of ideas – the space-based shoot-em-up genre that the original film uses for the Starfighter game is one which is beloved mostly of a hardcore games audience and doesn’t necessarily translate to the modern-day as well as you might hope.

Think, instead of fantasy, role-playing games and epic dungeon raids with garish avatars running amok through a primary coloured realm peopled by weird creatures and level 80 rogues bestriding the land on sweet mounts – shouldn’t the remake take place in an MMORPG?

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Bonfire of the Nerderies – “Labyrinth”

Yes, I’ve had an idea for a series – all blogs have them, so why should I be any different in my rigid adherence to nerdy blogging tropes?

“Bonfire of the Nerderies” aims to talk about some key works of nerd culture – films, books, games, albums which made me the relatively well-adjusted geek that I am today.

As I’ve just received it on Blu-Ray for my birthday, it seems appropriate to begin this series with Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s 1986 fantasy yarn “Labyrinth”.

An adventure in glorious 80's nostalgia

In the mini-wave of 80’s fantasy movies – I’m thinking here of titles like Ridley Scott’s “Legend”, Peter Yates’ “Krull”, Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal”, Ron Howard’s “Willow” and Wolfgang Petersen’s “The Neverending Story”“Labyrinth” stands apart for me.  It could be down to the film’s dreamlike fantasy world.  Perhaps it’s the blend of talents behind the camera.  As well as Henson and frequent collaborator Frank Oz behind the camera, you have George Lucas producing and Terry Jones writing the screenplay, with the genius of Brian Froud’s art influencing the gorgeous character design for the creature cast.

Fun fact. People used to look like this in the 80's - for reals!

It could be due to Jennifer Connelly never looking more angelic than she did here, in the lead role of petulant teen Sarah, whose careless wish for her annoying baby brother to be taken away by a mythical Goblin King comes true, leading her on a dangerous journey through a kingdom populated by puzzles, uncanny creatures and delightfully visible matte lines.

From an almost forgotten era when CG barely existed and optical effects ruled...

Watching the film again this morning on a very nice Blu-Ray transfer – thanks a bunch, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – I was struck by how feel the story holds up some 25 years later.

25 flipping years, folks.  I am officially too bloody old.

Sure, there are some missteps to consider.  When we initially meet Sarah at the outset of the film – after a title sequence (remember those?) with a nifty CG owl flitting about – we see her adorned in Renaissance Fair garb and capering about in what can only be described as a spot of very earnest Live Action Role-Playing (solo questing, for the win, nerd mates!).

"City of Thieves" was better, if you ask me (image via Labyrinthfilm.com)

The LARPing I can buy – she’s been an only child, she now has a new step-mum and step-brother and she’s wanting nothing much to do with her family.  Retreating into a comforting world of fantasy and childhood toys is one thing – her attitude is another.  Though Sarah is supposed to be 15 – and her step-mother alludes to the fact that it would be nice for Sarah to be going on a date instead of togging-up like Precious Princess McWhimsy and heading off to the park for another run through the Labyrinth tale – she never really seems to act her age.

This could be deliberate.  Is she heading off the unsettling demands of an adult world which wants to prematurely make currency of your nascent sexuality whether it be by peer pressure, fashion trends or pop cultural influence by self-consciously withdrawing from the conventions of teen life?  Or is she just a honking great nerd, whose stuffed animals and children’s books will be replaced in short order by epic fantasy novels and Weta Workshop collectables?

When we see Sarah realise that she’s late for her pre-arranged Saturday night of parental babysitting and her subsequent reaction to a dressing-down from her proverbial nasty step-mother, it’s here that I really don’t buy Sarah as being a convincing teenager.  Her petulance and pouting over-reaction to being asked to look after her baby brother is what you might expect to see from an eleven year old, not somebody who might conceivably be taking her driving test in a year or two.

I could be reading too much into this, of course – Terry Jones could be satirising a particular kind of middle-class teen whose self-absorbed, too-intelligent-for-their-own-good nature is harmless but ultimately ripe fodder for comedy (she’s like a hot Adrian Mole!).   She’s a callow dreamer whose rich and vivid fantasy life is delaying her entry into an adult world which is fraught with fears and dangers more emotional and intangible than those in the novels she devours.

Sarah’s fantasy world and real life are thrown into awkward collision when her hissy fit request for her baby brother to be taken away is realised by the sudden appearance of the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie, in rare form), who kidnaps the boy and tells Sarah that if she wants him back, she has to travel through his Labyrinth – a land of puzzles, traps and deadly danger lurking around every corner.

Inevitably, it’s here that the movie really takes flight – in many fantasy or sci-fi movies made in the 1980’s, suburbia was a stultifying dead zone which had to escaped from at any cost and this is no exception.  Though Sarah is initially terrified by the prospect of her brother going missing, once she’s in the Labyrinth her love of quests, puzzles and brain teasers means that she’s singularly well-matched with the many obstacles which Jareth places in her path.

In the manner of any fantasy story which calls for a brave heroine to journey through a strange land, she has to have a team of friends to call on for help at distinct junctures – it’s a formula which always works.

In “Labyrinth”, we have Hoggle, a goblin gardener whose initial reticence to help Sarah and cowardice in the face of Jareth’s taunts are eventually defeated come the climax.  There’s also Ludo, the Orange-furred gentle giant who looks like a cross between an Orangutan and an Aberdeen Angus bull and who has the underrated ability to sing to rocks and have them do his bidding.  Finally, there is Sir Didimus – a curious Yorkshire Terrier-like fellow who reminded me of Don Quixote, if Don Quixote rode around on an old English sheepdog and liked to give goblins a right old beating.

Sir Didimus, Hoggle and Ludo.

If you’re reading that description and thinking “Wizard of Oz”, then you’re not alone.  If anything, “Labyrinth” does remind you quite a bit of Frank L. Baum’s children’s classic – four individuals, stronger together than apart, travelling through a strange land, peopled by creatures analogous to those present in the heroine’s home land, seeking enlightenment and resolution in a city at the end of the long road: If you’re going to be influenced by something in your work, why not be influenced by the gold standard?

Mixed into Sarah’s quest is her uneasy relationship with Jareth – he’s given her what she wants, a world to escape to and a child gotten rid of – but he’s the potential architect of her undoing and wants nothing more than to hold her prison eternally, to enslave her in his world.

If you want a Goblin King in your movie, who else are you going to call?

I’m guessing that Jareth is supposed to be a catch-all stand-in for the delights of fantasy and the ways that a world of the imagination can be infinitely preferable to the world that you normally live in – a theme explored in stories as diverse as Terry Gilliam’s brilliantly bleak “Brazil”, Zack Snyder’s schoolgirl fetish-tastic “Sucker Punch” and Ernest Cline’s glorious “Ready Player One”.

As ever in these stories, the world of fantasy offers only temporary respite from the demands of adult responsibility – sooner or later, the heroine has to accept that the real world is where she is supposed to be and that the world of her imagination is not going to be somewhere that she can live forever.

After a confrontation with Jareth in an MC Escher-esque stair puzzle in his castle – she defeats him by telling him that he has no power over her, finally remembering a line from the book she reads at the beginning of the film, one which had always eluded her memory until now – Sarah returns to the real world and places Toby to his crib, managing to reach some kind of peace with her new family and to in turn put away some of the childish trinkets in her room which symbolize her arrested development.

Refreshingly, the film doesn’t conclude on a note which suggests that Sarah’s pathway in adult life is going to be entirely devoid of the fantastical – she sees her friends in her bedroom mirror and is then reunited with them in real life as the credits roll, which I took as an indicator that Terry Jones screenplay wants us to take away the idea that an appreciation of the fanciful and absurd are healthy, and that we should allow space in our day for imagination and fantasy: There’s got to be something more than mortgages and ‘reality’ t.v., after all.

Watching the film as an adult certainly gives you a different perspective on it.  You may actually feel that Sarah is actually something of an annoying dolt at the beginning of the story – as a child, you’re certainly supposed to identify with her but as an adult it’s almost impossible to.  She’s overly needy, precious and selfish, treats her family as obstacles to her childish fantasy life and behaves appallingly to an infant who can’t possibly appreciate the impact that he involuntarily has on her life.

Experience is the making of her and she’s a (mostly) better person at the end of her journey through Jareth’s labyrinth – is it reading too much into things to imagine that he’s actually the personification of Sarah’s selfishness and that by defeating his puzzles she is unconsciously trying to get rid of the negative character traits which prevent her from making the journey from naive child to young woman?

I appreciated the on-screen elements of the film, too.  There’s something charmingly hand-hewn about this film – a quality implicit in the genre films of the 1980’s, which had to build grandiose sets, fabricate creatures from latex and painstakingly matte paint their worlds in a time before the bulk of the heavy lifting could be done on computers and server farms by equally gifted digital artists.   You could argue, I guess, that Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy did a lot to preserve the best bits of both disciplines – computer generated worlds populated by creatures portrayed by actors in elaborate make-up and costumes.

As a work of fantasy, I think that this still holds up – it’s nice to see a film like this where the protagonist is a girl and her whole character isn’t defined by her sexuality – and it’s world is one that I really enjoyed returning to.  It’s full of whimsy, lovely incidental details (did you ever catch the milk bottles outside the door of Jareth’s castle?  I did this time around) and a sense of dreamlike wonder that a lot of films of the era shot for but didn’t quite reach.

It wants in some respects because Jennifer Connelly wasn’t as great an actress in her formative years as she subsequently became.  She’s a little wooden, to be honest.  Nowadays, we might cite acting on green screen as an issue, because the elements she was reacting to were not there during filming, but this film appeared to be mostly practical to a casual observer.  The sets are there, the creatures are there – I would imagine that you don’t have to do much work as an actor to inhabit a fantasy world when it’s actually built for real and  70% in front of you.

Bowie is, of course, Bowie.  He’s never been the best musician turned actor, but he’s an eternally enthusiastic and charismatic performer who does best in pieces like this, which trade on his slightly ethereal nature for much of their effectiveness and put him front and centre in a world which is resolutely off-kilter and uncanny.

Would I recommend this to you if you have young ones and want to turn them onto some of the geeky films which you enjoyed as a child?  I think so.  The creature effects and some optical FX may be showing their age – the synth-heavy scores and original Bowie tunes certainly are – but I think that there’s enough energy and verve present in the late Jim Henson’s storytelling to carry younger viewers away and keep them interested, even if they’ve never seen a pre-CG era film.

In conclusion – a classic fantasy movie, with interesting undertones and a charmingly realised world.  Add it to your DVD rental queue and wallow in some excellent 80’s nostalgia.

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