The Paramount Theater showed Labyrinth tonight in honor of the late David Bowie, and we went to see it. It was one of my wife’s favorite childhood movies, so we’ve watched it together a lot of times, but all my viewings have been as an adult. I’ve never really loved it. The puppetry isn’t that impressive to my eye, director Jim Henson fails to bring much out of the teenaged Jennifer Connelly, and Bowie’s soundtrack is only intermittently catchy. It’s never a painful watch, but it’s the kind of movie I’m sometimes at risk of falling asleep during.
But not on the big screen, on film, the way the Paramount showed it tonight. The screening was marred by this summer’s recurring projector-outage bogeyman, but they got it back on track in fairly short order without switching to digital. I was genuinely impressed with Labyrinth. I certainly believe that all movies are better on the big screen, and many that were shot on film are better on film, but I would not have expected Labyrinth to provide such a clear illustration of those truisms. One of my major criticisms of the film, that the sets look like sets, is totally disarmed when high-definition isn’t an issue. Through the grain of film, the sets look pretty dang good! Classical and fantasy-like. I’m sure our DVD is in the original widescreen format, but seeing it at full scale showed me little Easter eggs I hadn’t noticed before, mostly in Connelly’s bedroom: she has an album or book cover with a drawing of the tunnel-cleaning machine that’s an early obstacle in the movie’s titular maze.
So, projection issues aside, the Paramount has given me yet another favorite viewing of an old familiar film.