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.

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