I didn't like the movie when I first saw it, although having watched it again a few years ago, there are bits I like (love the creepy hands). Fantasy Magazine thought:
...the movie ended up as the tale of a Mary Sue who is totally misunderstood by her parents, God! and ends up ripping the heads off furry marionettes in the middle of a sexual awakening.
Now, while I'll admit that Sarah was an oppressively competent and admired little whiner, that wasn't my big problem with the movie. Since I was in my mid-teens when I watched the first time, I didn't figure out why I didn't like it until much later.
It's the ending. Specifically, it's the scene where Jareth proposes to Sarah and she turns him down.
I know, I know. It was necessary. I fully agree that she had to turn him down for the story to work, and I would have been creeped out if the fifteen-year-old had accepted. That's not the problem.
The problem is that she didn't even think about it.
How often does one meet a goblin king? How often does one defeat him? How often does he offer to lay his kingdom at one's feet? Sure, it's an offer that can't be trusted, but should that make the idea any less tempting? Shouldn't one take just a second to wonder what it would mean if it were something one could accept, just one little moment to imagine?
But no. She just takes the baby and runs. She never even looks back. Stupid girl. Stupid, stupid girl. Far too stupid to spend two hours of my life with.
At least there were muppets.