The Dark Crystal (3/31/12)

Dark CrystalMovie Seventy One

The Dark Crystal is a Jim Henson creation and the entire cast of the film are puppets. Unlike their Sesame Street cousins, these puppets are pretty horrifying to look at.

The Dark Crystal came out the same year as I was born (1982) so I’m not exactly sure when I first saw it but I do not remember being terrified of it. This is a bit confusing because as a twenty nine year old watching the movie again, the puppets themselves are grotesque and the movie is kind of frightening, even if unintentionally.

The film is about several warring races and the power of titular dark crystal. The Skeksis are the evil faction, they look like mutated buzzards, and the trollish Mystics are the good guys. There is also Jen, the last of the Gelflings, who were wiped out by the Skesis. The Dark Crystal follows Jen’s journey to find find the missing shard of the crystal and the adventures along the way.

I imagine The Dark Crystal was a huge risk for Henson since he was known for Muppets and Sesame Street at the time. It is not a film that I could easily recommend for young children and I’m not even sure who would be the target audience for the film. It has almost a Tolkien-esque feel to it but it isn’t executed on flawlessly. Nostalgia was much kinder to The Dark Crystal than I was expecting. It had been many years since I had seen it or Labyrinth and I was expecting to enjoy The Dark Crystal a lot. Also, it’s worth noting that my wife and I decided to watch this after seeing the amazing documentary Being Elmo, even though Kevin Clash did not work on this film, we had a better appreciation of puppetry.

I give it 3 Fizzgigs out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


15 responses to “The Dark Crystal (3/31/12)

  1. I Own It, And I LOVE IT!
    It’s A Flick I Was Raised With, Being Born In 1980.
    I Was A Major Muppet Show Fan, And My Parents Thought This One Would Be Good To Watch.
    They Had NO CLUE What It Was About, Other Than It Was A Jim Henson Flick.
    So They Figured It Was Safe.
    The First Time I Saw It, I Was FREAKED.
    You’re Very Correct, Them Thar Puppets Were GROTESQUE hehehe
    Now, I Watch It Without Fear or Fright.
    It’s Just A Happy Flick To Me, Because Of The Memories It Evokes.
    Good Stuff, Fo SHO.

  2. I almost picked this one for my Bargain Binsday thing this week. If its still there next week, I’ll probably grab it.

  3. I still have not seen this one…I always thought it looked silly, which doesn’t make sense since I love the Muppet movies. I should add it to my list.

  4. Born in 83, so yeah same love for Henson and Co as well as Dark Crystal. I do like Labyrinth better, but this is still a great movie

  5. The ’80s were not a good time for fantasy films, though people like Jim Henson and George Lucas tried. Films like “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” “Willow,” “Ladyhawke,” and “Legend” SHOULD have been good because they were all imaginative and visually striking, but somehow were missing some critical element that made them successful. I was greatly upset when Jim Henson died; with his foray into serious films using him muppetry, it would have been interesting to see where he would have gone next.

    • Well said.
      I still remember exactly what I was doing when i found out Jim Henson died…
      No one has really carried the torch of his creations over the years, hopefully the new Muppet movie will change that a bit.

  6. I haven’t seen this in years, but I remember it very fondly. I’d rate it even higher than Labyrinth. I thought the creature puppets were extraordinary, very realistic to me at the time. It’s part of my childhood I remember with nostalgia.

  7. Pingback: March Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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