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The 1982 fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

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Movie Fairy Tale Told Right.

  • Feb 27, 2002
Jim Henson was one of the greatest artists and filmmakers of the 20th century. It took awhile for his genius to be appreciated in the United States, but over a decade since his death people are finally beginning to recognize the mastery of his creative mind. For example, THE DARK CRYSTAL. The film had a fairly decent run when it was originally released in theatres in 1982. However, the film wasn't acknowledged or heralded for the creative and complex masterpiece that it is until recently.

THE DARK CRYSTAL was a humongous undertaking. It is a film that takes place in a fantasy world, filled with frightening and mystical creatures; yet does not star one human being. The entire cast of the film consisted of nothing but puppets: some rather large and cumbersome, some that human performers were fitted in, some that were small, some that were animatronic; but all puppets nonetheless. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before and through the work on THE DARK CRYSTAL, Henson pushed puppetry and animatronics to a whole new level.

THE DARK CRYSTAL is about a young male Gelfling (think of an elf, but much smaller) named Jen and the journey he undertakes to save his world from an eternal dominion by a group of dragon-like creatures called Skesis. Jen's entire race was wiped out in a holocaust by the Skesis in an attempt to prevent a 1000 year old prophecy from being fulfilled. Jen is the last of his race, or so he believes. Jen leaves the race of Mystics who have raised the child since his parents' murder and sets forth on a journey to the great Palace to heal the Dark Crystal by inserting The Shard that had been broken from the crystal a millenium ago. Along the way he meets a variety of fantastical creatures from a one-eyed wise woman, the a race of miniture-round-headed people called Podlings, to a female Gelfling named Kira.

The plot of the movie is excellent and is told in the manner of such classic works as THE LORD OF THE RINGS, STAR WARS, and THE ODYSSEY. The world that Henson created is one of magic and fantasy, yet the story contains a great deal of Truth within it. It is a tale of adventure, love, sacrifice, and redemption; which speaks to the divinity in us all.

The movie is acceptible for an entire family to watch and contains several morals. However, children younger than five may find some of the creatures frightening. Nevertheless, THE DARK CRYSTAL is a fairy tale and like all true fairy tales, it does not gloss over the fact that evil is an ugly and nasty business. This movie is one of the best by one of the greatest.

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More The Dark Crystal reviews
review by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I had mixed feelings about The Dark Crystal. The puppet animation holds up surprisingly well even in the age of digital animation. Some of the scenes are beautiful, such as the heroes rowing on the lake with papyrus. The movements are generally smooth and not jerky. It shows Jim Henson's genius with puppets. My problem with the movie is with the human side - the script and voice acting. Sometimes, it seems the scriptwriters got lazy and just copied scenes from Star Wars, including characters suspiciously …
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2009
One of the most spectacular fantasy films ever!!! This Jim Henson-directed film features all puppet characters & philosophical depth. =D
review by . January 16, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Beautiful from beginning to end.     Cons: Too often passed over!     The Bottom Line: A Henson masterpiece suitable for most ages from child to adult. Younger kids may find some characters or situations frightening.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. I was raised on the innovative form of animation given to us by the marvelous Jim Henson. From Kermit the Frog to the goblins in the Labyrinth, …
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Jim Henson's fantasy epic The Dark Crystal doesn't take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but like Star Wars it takes the audience to a place that exists only in the imagination and, for an hour and a half, on the screen. Recalling the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, Henson tells the story of a race of grotesque birdlike lizards called the Skeksis, gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. A prophecy tells of a Gelfling (a small elfin being) who will topple their empire, so in their reign of terror they have exterminated the race, or so they think. The orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal (which gives the Skeksis their power) and restore the balance of the universe. Henson and co-director Frank Oz have pushed puppetry into a new direction: traditional puppets, marionettes, giant bodysuits, and mechanical constructions are mixed seamlessly in a fantasy world of towering castles, simple huts, dank caves, a giant clockwork observatory, and a magnificent landscape that seem to have leaped off the pages of a storybook. Muppet fans will recognize many of the voice actors--a few characters sound awfully close to familiar comic creations--but otherwise it's a completely alien world made familiar by a mythic quest that resonates through stories over the ages.--Sean Axmaker
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Director: Frank Oz, Jim Henson
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: Dec. 1982
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Jim Henson, David Odell
DVD Release Date: October 5, 1999
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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