|The Dark Crystal
|List Price: $2.99
Our Price: $2.99
- Not as great as I expected....
Ok, I guess I'm just weird. I'm a HUGE fantasy fan. I absolutely devour every bit of fantasy related material I can get my hands on...but this movie was disappointing to me.
I turned it off about 20-30 minutes into it...I was just too bored to stay awake.
While I appreciate the puppet-work and the eerie atmosphere, this move REALLY could have used more dynamic dialogue to pull the viewer into the story.
I was able to sit through the entire 12hr extended dvd version of Lord of the Rings without getting bored, but this movie just seemed to drag and drag to me...I couldn't get into it!...more info
- Would have worked better as a cartoon
The Dark Cyrstal opens up with a fairly good start. By the serious and profound voice of the narrator you'll be thinking that this is going to be good. But as the film rolls on its many flaws and weaknesses begin to show through.
Jim Henson is talented and it's amazing the different kinds of puppetry and animatronics he blends together to create this other world, but I'm sorry to say it just isn't good enough. The mystics movements are so slow that it's a wonder they make it to the Skeksis castle even by the end of the film! I know they're old but come on! Then theirs our hero the gelfling. It's impossible for him to evoke any sympathy or emotion from the viewer because since he's a puppet he's not capable of facial expressions! The only way we know that he is sad or happy is by his voice. The puppet even with that still seems lifeless.
Another problem is the story. Though we are told that the Skesis are corrupt wizards and the mystics good wizards, we NEVER see ANY wizardry from either of them whatsoever. If you are hoping for a great wizard finale, look elsewhere. They don't ever cast any spells; they don't ever have magic objects with them or concoct amazing potions; they're just there really.
Again with the puppetry. There is a scene where the Skesis' Garthim come barging into the ugly wise old woman's laboratory to get the gelfling. This was intented to be an exciting sequence. The gelfling just misses a Garthim's clutches before he gets on the old hag's rotating planet thingy, but because of the cheap, crude, silly movements of the character it looks too fake and lackluster.
This film would have worked so much better if it was animated by some talented artists. Having more believable and smoother movments from the characters, facial expressions, and beautiful artwork and scenery would have turned this sad yarn into what it was intended to be: an enjoyable fantasy epic.
Also a pet peeve of mines is the chamberlain Skesis. Oh my Lord! Give me a ax to hack that thing with! I know Jim Henson is trying to give individuality to his characters; give them certain traits to make them memorable and distinct from the others, but come on! All his stupid whining and 'Hmmmmmm..." sounds happened pratically every time he comes in the scene.
You can't say that I'm juding this film unjustly because I am an adult. You can't say that if I was a child then I wouldn't have noticed these things and would have enjoyed it. Sorry wrong. I hated this film as a child and still do. I thought that now that I am older and more open minded about things I used to dislike that I might care for this. Nope. Still stupid. Still sucks.
You want a good fantasy? See the Neverending story, Willow, Castle in the Sky, The Secret of Nimh, or even Henson's Labyrinth. They all work much better and are better films....more info
- Love the movie
I only had the basic DVD of this movie awhile back, but saw this one recently and I just had to get it for my birthday. Which I got the The World of the Dark Crystal book as well.
This one had much more documentaries than the other DVD and I especially liked the additional features and Brian's commentary audio track. It was interesting hearing him talk about parts of the movie.
I cant compare it to any other of the DVDs so your milage may vary but if you are looking to get this movie and dont have a DVD of it yet... Get this one....more info
- A great movie...simple
I felt I had to write a review for one reason. I'm tired of reading some of the stupid BS coming out of people's mouths.
First and foremost, it is made from the Jim Hansen's Studios, so that means it is more than likely a muppet type movie. So do not be tricked that it might not be. But it is an amazing example of what a full length muppet movie should be. It has an mix of mythology, love, danger, friendship, adventure, etc. It has a story line that means you do have to pay some kind of attention, but can still watch while doing other things. Something new is seen every time you watch it. The scenery or background at times that you do not catch paying so much attention to the central characters. The dialogue is not the best, but still better than many movies put out even today.
Second, stop trying to compare the movie to Lord of the Rings. You are talking bout two different decades. That is like trying to compare apples and oranges. They both may be part of the fantasy genre, but no where near each other. I do ask when writing a review, review the movie NOT what the movie is in relation to another. I read a review to to get a review of this movie, not of how good another one was. You could compare it in a sense to Labrynith or Legend, or even the muppet show to give an idea. It is a movie on itself, and this one is a great movie. I think it would be fine for a child, considering their are many children's movies out their far scarier. And to say a classroom would not watch it, you are lucky if you could get one in a classroom to sit and watch any movie.
Have no fear when thinking of watching this movie. It is a very well put together movie in most senses. And a classic, and cult classic, in it's own right.
Enjoy...and as a reminder to everyone else. PLEASE think things through when writing a review. Act intellegent and really leave feelings out of it, or personal preferences, as most people do not share your preferences....more info
This movie seems very popular with a lot of fans, but I have something different to say. I've seen it, once, when I was about 5 1/2. Maybe adults get a kick out of it, my 10 year old brother (at the time) enjoyed it. So, if you're an older viewer than maybe this movie is good, but please, keep it away from young children. This movie terrified me as a small child and I ran out halfway through nearly in tears. Please, doen't be overly anxious to share this with your kids, it may be best to wait a few years. It is one of the most terrifying memories I have as a little girl and I certainly wouldn't wish it to happen to anyone else....more info
- Just Right
This was a gift and it was just what she wanted. She will find it very useful to help her become a first class storyteller. She was very pleased.
Peter Gabb...more info
- Two hearts and one star
Wow. I love fantasy and I love Jim Henson, but I was really disappointed by this movie.
It's an architypical Joseph Campbell myth of the fight between Good and Evil involving two of the last of the race of Gelflings as they try to return a broken shard to the Dark Crystal to repair it before darkness takes over the world. The movie has a lot of heart, but at times it comes too close to Star Wars for comfort. Of course both of them are built upon the same rubric, but this film even has images, sounds, and characters almost exactly like Star Wars. It doesn't really make it feel special.
Also, the voice acting in the puppets didn't really come out as roundly as I feel other Jim Henson movies have been. This movie, if done with real actors with the same style of acting in motion as in voice, would probably be major camp.
However, despite my qualms, I just can't help enjoying it. Henson and Oz's visualness is at full form here, especially in the forest, full of thousands of different and colorful set pieces, creatures, and things breathing, moving, and living. Many things in this movie are creepy, majestic, magical, weird, gross, and funny all where they're supposed to be. The world itself seems to follow its own natural laws, which is always appreciated in a work of fantasy.
It gets points for heart and imagination, but otherwise Henson has done a lot better.
- LOTR fan? Watch this movie
This movie is one of my all time favorites. Henson's masterpiece. It's inventive, its interesting, engaging and the world is quite wonderful. There are lessons learned and many parallels between the world Henson created and our own. It's a wonderful fantasty film that really breathes a life all its own. It's also a film that can be enjoyed by all, adults and children....more info
- The Dark Crystal
It's a Jim Henson movie, that's really all I have to say. If you havn't seen it, you should. This is a must see....more info
- PRETTY DARN GOOD...
I was not at all interested in getting this movie until my fiance saw it. She says it was one of her favorites as a child, so I had to grab it up and see for myself. I must say, it was very interesting. NOT BAD AT ALL!...more info
- Fantasy Classic
This film is one of my early memories, perhaps the first (coherent) memory I have of anything. I remember suddenly being aware of fantastic, amazing creatures and scenes. I'm sure this had an influence over my development.
This is not a stupid, immature kid movie. It is filled with wonder, complexity and imagination. At times, it has an almost Miyazaki atmosphere. If there is any complaint, it is that the movie is too short. It is interesting, amazing and startling.
The story centers on a Gelfling - which is an amazing looking elf like creature. It is the task of the Gelfling to mend an object with mythic power known as the Dark Crystal. Adults watching the film will soon catch on to what is happening. The crystal was intentionally broken with supposedly good intentions. It was an attempt to split apart the essence of a semi-divine entity so that it could be rid of its evil side. However, it goes horribly wrong...
It is a film of contrasts and startling moments. Beautiful elf creatures in fantasy settings clash with scenes of torture and vile totalitarian behavior. Suddenly, the landscape itself could spring to life. Amazing patterns reveal themselves on the walls and pillars.
This might be a stunning film - even a scary film - for a child used to the shallow, derivative, watered down (overprotective) garbage that is the usual kids fare these days (like a certain kind of derivative, lame and played out computer animated movie or its equivalent). One thing is for sure though - after watching this for the first time in many, many years - The Dark Crystal is an absolute must see.
If you like this movie check out:
Nausicaa (or any Miyazaki film)
Lord of the Rings
Final Fantasy series
Legend (the Ridley Scott film)...more info
- A major accomplishment!
It took an infinity of imagination to make The Dark Crystal, a film so overflowing with invention that you literally have to watch it about 100 times just to take it all in. Everyone involved, from the director to the best boy gave the film such loving affection and made it the best it could possibly be. Kid's movies (if you want to call it that) these days simply are not what they used to be and probably never will be again. This is yet another thing that makes The Dark Crystal so damn precious.
The film is set in another world, in another time in an age of wonder. It has been 999 years and 1 year since the powerful, life-giving crystal cracked and stopping shining. Since then the land has become barren and the Urskeks (a race of God-like beings) have split into two separate races, the peaceful Uru 'Mystics' and the evil Skeksis-a horrific cross between bird and reptile. The three suns that shine upon the land are about to line up in a great conjunction that only happens once every 1000 years. If the crystal is not repaired before then the cruel Skeksis will rule the land forever.
Jen is a Gelfling (a sort of fairy creature), believed to be the last of his race. A prophecy tells of a single Gelfling defeating the Skeksis and restoring peace to the land. Raised by the Uru, Jen begins a journey to repair the crystal when the Skeksis Emperor dies (in a truly disturbing scene). On his way he meets Aughra, a sort of witch creature and Kira, another Gelfling and her race of Podling people (sort of like Fraggles). Though there is no specific love scene between them, there is a very nice romance developing through-out the story.
Filmed in gorgeous locations across England and Scotland (with the use of a lot of matte paintings of course) the film really, really does take you to another world. There's not a single human in sight (a perfect world or what) and, with exception to the awful Skeksis, almost every creature is cute and fluffy (such as Kira's Fizzgig). The production design, in particular the genius contributions by Brian Froud, is so immense and impressive that you wish you could jump through the screen and actually be there in order to appreciate it more.
Trevor Jones' breathtaking, beautiful score is among his best work (tying with Merlin in 1998) and is surely some of the best film music you are ever likely to hear. Ever! There was a limited edition of the score put on CD a few years ago but only 5000 were ever printed. It's sure to be quite expensive now but it's so goddamn worth it! Henson, Oz and Froud teamed up again a few years later to make Labyrinth which seems to be more fondly remembered as it's not as sinister as The Dark Crystal and has human actors in it to make it more accessible to those with narrower minds. I prefer this one though (no fruity songs, no David Bowie!) as it has a certain edge to it that Labyrinth lacks.
An epic. A masterpiece. An unforgettable classic. The Dark Crystal is magical, mystical timeless classic. I can't recommend it enough. If only we still had movies like this. I'll take risk-taking The Dark Crystal over PC drek like The Shaggy Dog any day.
The DVD is in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby/DTS 5.1 sound....more info
- Great classic
After watching this movie many times I wanted to have it on DVD. I was debating if I should get this version or the Limited Edition, but I read through another review that the limited edition didn't offer many extras, and for the price isn't worth it. This DVD is great, and at a cheap price, a must have for fans of this classic movie. Also there is a sequel coming out in a few years so it's a great time to refresh yourself on the world of the Dark Crystal....more info
- The Dark Crystal Collector's Edition
Nice packaging job and a few extras on the discs that are not available on the regular DVD. ...more info
- Holds up surprisingly well; fun for the whole family
Dark Crystal / B000R8YC1I
Having missed out on the majority of the 1980's fantasy flicks, for various reasons, I've been backfilling my knowledge in this area, with mixed results. I definitely enjoyed Conan - The Complete Quest and Red Sonja was fun, but Willow (Special Edition) was, in my opinion, a bit campy. I wasn't sure what to expect from a "kid's movie" like Dark Crystal, but I love the Muppets, so I was willing to give it a go.
Dark Crystal is, in my opinion, a surprisingly good film, even watched 'for the first time' nearly thirty years after its debut. The plot is easy enough for a child to follow, but engaging enough to maintain an adult's interest. The idea that extreme good and extreme evil are two sides of the same coin is not a new one, but it is fascinating to explore the implications here.
The characters are vibrant and imaginative; I was thoroughly sucked in by the quiet and kind Mystics, the bickering and vicious Skeksis, and the plucky and hopeful Gelflings. The puppet-work here is truly superb and really makes the viewer reminiscent for the old days - they just don't do puppet work like this anymore. (And though I love CGI-Yoda battles as much as the next person, there's just something more `real' about the puppets, somehow. But I'm showing my age now, I suppose.) Most appreciated of all, I was pleased and delighted to see that the heroine is - in many ways - even more capable and just as crucial to the fulfillment of the prophecy as our sweet Gelfling hero is. It is very nice to see a role for women in a fantasy movie that extends beyond "needs rescuing" or "looks great in a chainmail bikini".
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good fantasy film, particularly one that is child-friendly and fairly non-violent. There is some scary material here - such as the crystal that removes the "life essence" of the captives - but everything is put right in the end. I actually enjoyed Dark Crystal more than the more recent City of Ember, and for a movie that is past its twenty-fifth anniversary mark, that's saying something.
This movie provides captions for the hearing impaired....more info
- Good movie
At first thought I thought this video would be too scary for my kids (31/2 & 6), but my husband insisted that they would love it. Guess what? He was right! They know the whole storyline and tell me "Don't worry mom it's not real they are just make believe puppets!" ...more info
You can not go past theis classic masterpiece by Jim Henson and his pupet masters. Classic....more info
- A great movie
This movie is a wonderful blend of a good hopeful story with humor and understated special effects. The animation does not overwhelm the story as in many new movies....more info
- AWESOME for the generation who grew up with Jim Henson, however...
AWESOME collector for the generation who grew up with the Muppets, no doubt.... However, this movie may need to be carefully reviewed by parents before young children watch it.
I was born in 1979, very young when The Dark Crystal was big. My mother watched EVERYTHING before she let me view any movie or TV show to understand the point that was trying to be made and whether she felt the subject matter was appropriate for me. (This is what parents SHOULD do). Instead of just thinking, 'Oh, Muppets... Jim Henson... Must be OK for her to watch,' she previewed it and was surprised by the angle of the film. Well, the angle of the Skeksis (sp.) anyway.
The idea of sucking out 'The Essence' of small, inferior creatures to maintain life and youth was a message my mother didn't want me to be exposed to. Now that I'm an adult, I don't believe I would want my kids to see the movie at a very young age for the same reason. Plus too, that part of the movie is kind of scary, you have to see it to know what I mean.
I don't take a single bit of credability away from Mr. Henson and his group. For that time, they did a tremendous job on the production of this film, considering what we know today about special effects and so on.
I love this movie, I recommend it to anyone ages 15 and up. And parents, PLEASE monitor what your children are viewing and use the ratings system, but most importantly, use your best judgement on what you feel you want your children to learn from the media. PLEASE WATCH RESPONSIBLY!!! May you rest in peace, Jim. You made my childhood a memorable one!...more info
- Cult classic
One of my favorite movies of all times. This movie is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when the mind is set free of conventional wisdom. An excellent movie for any age group, from toddlers to adults....more info
- Enchanting and a bit pretentious
This is definitely one of those films that define a moment in puppet film history. They were able to carry off an entire movie entirely cast by puppets -- and pretty well. This is the link between Muppets to, say, Farscape. But the story does take itself a bit too seriously....more info
- Mystical Muppet Magic
The special effects aren't spectacular,but the story is engrossing.It is a mystical quest.It's not as complex as "Lord of the Rings",but it does have a deeper meaning.I won't reveal the ending,which IS truly unexpected.
There is a sense of yin&yang.The hero finds his mate;when a bad guy is destroyed,so is one of the Mystics,and vice versa.Unitarians speak of the "interdependence of all things"&this movie illustrates it.There are some truly gruesome scenes;however,it's also suspenseful.
For GOOD cheesy 80s fantasy fun,this movie IS reccomended!...more info
- Great film but poor picture quality!
I have always wanted to purchased this DVD but I was disappointed with the Collector's Edition Boxed Set. The film was digitally remastered both audio and Anamorphic video but picture quality was not restored. What a pity!
I guess there will be an Ultimate Edition coming, some time in the future.
The reason for saying this is, Orphanage Animation Studios is producing the sequel and the title is Power of the Dark Crystal which is scheduled to release in spring 2008. I am sure they will do something with picture quality of the current release of Dark Crystal DVD Editions as well as enhancing the CGIs and other special effects in the movie.
So for those who want to buy or add this movie into his or her DVD library, I suggest that you wait till the sequel release next year. You might get better picture and technical quality, or perhaps other extra features, if/when they re-release the film in the DVD market.
I watched this movie when I was 4 or 5 years old and I loved every second of it, it was scary and exciting and a very fun movie to watch. when I was 21 I saw it on sale I knew I had to buy it, great memories and it's a lot of fun to watch although am a lot older now and I don't have that something that made this movie so great the first time. If you are young at heart you should definitely buy it. Enjoy....more info
- Dark for Jim Henson, but a must for his hardcore fans!
A lot of people dont like this movie..then I meet a lot who do..I love this movie because I am a big kid and a fan of both fantasy in general and Jim Henson so it really is a dark thrill. Might be a little scary for VERY small kids under 5....more info
- "Another World, Another Time, in the Age of Wonder..."
So begins Jim Henson's 1982 masterpiece The Dark Crystal, an amazing fantasy film that primarily uses puppets as its main characters. The Dark Crystal is perhaps the Muppet creator's most thoughtful endeavor and is a must-see for all fans of fantasy films or for fans of Jim Henson. The level of detail and the precision of the artistry that went into this film is a testament to what a great filmmaker can do, and Jim Henson was (and still is) a great filmmaker.
The story concerns Jen, a Gelfling, who must save his planet by restoring the legendary Dark Crystal, which must be done before the three suns of his planet meet in the Great Conjunction. If he fails chaos and destruction shall reign eternal. He begins his mission after his mentor, the wisest of the Mystics, dies. To a young Gelfling like Jen, the world seems an enormous and strange place. He encounters numerous dangers but finally reaches the home of the ancient being known as Aughra. Aughra gives Jen the crystal shard that he seeks, but the forces of evil invade her home and Jen has to flee before she can tell him anymore about his task. Meanwhile the cruel Skeksis are hunting Jen, for it is prophesized that a Gelfling will bring about their doom. But Jen finds an ally in Kira, the only other living Gelfling to survive the Skeksis' slaughter of their race years before. Jen and Kira, along with her furry and ferocious pet Fizzgig, set out for the castle of the Skeksis. But can they survive the dangers of the journey and restore balance to their world?
Henson's film (I should also mention that it was co-directed by puppeteer Frank Oz) is a stunning achievement in pre-digital special effects and features a profound philosophical/spiritual undercurrent that has fascinated viewers for over 25 years. The film is exciting, stimulating and perhaps at times too intense for younger children. But overall it's one of the greatest fantasy films ever made!
The 25th Anniversary Edition DVD includes the following special features: a beautiful new high definition film transfer, a new commentary track with conceptual designer Brian Froud, The World of the Dark Crystal vintage documentary, deleted scenes, original work print scenes, character illustrations, the new Light on the Path of Creation & Shard of Illusion documentaries, and previews.
Jim Henson's the Storyteller: The Definitive Collection
Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection
The Dark Crystal: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The World of the Dark Crystal by Brian Froud...more info
- Time of the Gelfling
It has been a thousand years since the Dark Crystal was broken. The break caused the creation of the cruel Skeksis and the peaceful Mystics. A young Gelfling whose family was killed by the Skeksis has been raised by the Mystics. Now he learns that he has a destiny. He is to retrieve the missing shard of the Crystal and heal it. If he doesn't, then darkness will rule forever. It is because of this prophesy that the Skeksis destroyed his people. If there are no Gelflings then no Gelfling can end their power.
So begins a journey for the young Gelfling. He must visit a seer, avoid capture, reach the citadel of the Crystal, and figure out how to heal it. Along the way he discovers a female Gelfling and the two continue his journey togther. As the time of the prophesy draws near the Mystics also journey to the Citadel. For when the three suns come together the Crystal must be healed. Strange creatures and fantastic vistas await. Will the Gelfling succeed and bring peace to his world or will the cruel Skeksis rule forever?
Jim Henson teams up with the visual artistry of Brian Froud to create this fantasy epic. These puppets go far beyond anything previously known as a Muppet but seem closer to those Henson created for Saturday Night Live. The scope and vision of this film is one that you would not expect puppets (if they can be called that) to be able to pull off. This is epic fantasy in the truest sense and joins the ranks of the few epic fantasies that have succeeded in film. Check it out....more info
- A good reason to ensure your kids watch good tv!
If you care about what your kids watch, this is good enough reason. This is an epic tale of good vs evil, but also that others, no matter how seemingly insignifigant, can help you on your way. I saw this when I was 7, and goobled it up right away. With all the people claiming to believe in God, teaching religion, this is nowhere near as scary....more info
this is one of the greatest muppet movies of all time! I love this movie and can't wait to share it with my children....more info
- oppressive and unrewarding
It's hard for me to see how this movie is worth anybody's time these days.
"The Dark Crystal" may have been big news back when it came out (in 1982), but it's hard to see what it has to offer anybody in the age of CGI and complete digitization. It hasn't held up well.
Set in another world, the story concerns the quest of an innocent elf-like creature who must return a crystal shard to its proper resting place in order to save the land. There are no humans in this movie, only Muppet-like creatures. (In case you don't know, this film is considered the masterwork of the two masterminds behind the Muppets, Jim Henson and Frank Oz.)
Unfortunately for today's viewers, the technology available for breathing life into movie creatures has so comprehensively improved since this film was shot that the "Dark Crystal" cannot avoid showing its age at every turn. Fatally, for a fantasy, it's simply impossible to lose yourself in the world the film attempts to create, since in nearly every shot you cannot get it out of your head that you are essentially looking at a bunch of puppets, or, occasionally, some guy in a mechanized costume.
As for the story, I found it predictable and marvel at those who claim it is "imaginative." I award very low marks on originality: nearly every story element had been done to death long before this movie saw the light of day.
So who would like this movie? Children, I guess, -- or perhaps somebody who seems to have an unnatural admiration for all things Muppet.
But even then I have reservations. The film is so dark, photographically as well as thematically, that it will probably bum you out for the day. Even during those few moments when the sun in shining, the film still comes across as oppressively dark. True, the directors attempt to relieve the gloom in the final ten seconds or so, but by then it's too little, too late. So basically it's like muppets but without the fun.
Heck, this movie might be unsuitable even for kids. So unrelievedly grim and violent is it (stabbings, burnings, fallings to one's death) that it will probably give any kid under nine at least a couple of nightmares.
There are plenty of kids' movies out there these days that also have something to say to adults, but not this one. I cannot imagine anything appealing to adults in this movie, especially if you make the mistake of viewing the "making of" documentary, also on this DVD, which will completely breaks any spell the film had a chance at.
As for the story, I paid strict attention but was needled by crippling questions. The filmmakers seemed to do a terrible job explaining what's going on, where the crystal came from, how it works, how it got broken, or why anybody even needed it to begin with....more info
- WHY DO PEOPLE COMPARE THIS MOVIE TO THE LABRYNTH?
THIS MOVIE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LABRYNTH! AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIKE THAT MOVIE SEEM TO NOT LIKE THIS ONE. GOOD BECAUSE I HATE THE PEOPLE WHO LIKE THE LABRYNTH! IT'S LIKE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO LIKE FIGHT CLUB BUT NOT DEATH TO SMOOCHY! THEY JUST DON'T GET IT THE SAME PEOPLE PROBABLY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE SECRET OF NIMH! WHY DON'T YOU GUYS JUST KILL OVER AND DIE! GO WATCH YOUR ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW! STAR WARS? ARE YOU SERIOUS ? GET A LIFE! f*** STAR WARS! NOT THAT I DON'T LIKE STAR WARS BUT WHY WOULD YOU EVEN MENTION THAT MOVIE HERE? IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ONE!...more info
- Crystals and Creatures
The Skeksis think there dark rule is complete and that they had snuffed out the only hope that the world has for being spared an eternity in darkness, but the young hero has been hidden away, saved from the slaughter of his kind, the Gelflings. Throughout his journey you encounter strange and wonderful creatures and sinister ones as well, making The Dark Crystal, a classic fantasy film for the young or young at heart. Jim Henson's creatures are always fun to watch. and this is no exception. The characters and story are very immersing, making you want more as each moment unfolds. A wonderful tale showing what can happen when one party tries to harshly take control of a land and all of it's people, and how the smallest glimmer of hope can transform the gravest situation. I admit that it may date me in many respects, but something will eventually date us all, but I still love this film at 30 years old. The movie in Superbit, with optimized DVD quality and sound is a great find for those who enjoy fantasy films, and Jim Henson. In closing I would say this is probably my favorite Henson film....more info
- Out of this world
This movie is Jim Henson's magnum opus. There isn't a fantasy movie out there that brings you to a whole different reality like The Dark Crystal does. Yes the movie is all entirely by puppets and yes there isn't a human being in site. That's the beauty of it. With a combination of an excellent story, innovative (for its time) animatronics, beautiful sets and cinematography you get a truly dazzling experience that any fantasy fan would be a fool not to miss.
The biggest aspect of Dark Crystal is the setting. They created a whole different world with its own animals, plants and terrain. The level of detail put into creating this new world is staggering and you get some good scenes to soak yourself up in it. From the rock caves of the Mystics to the jagged spires of the Skesis castle to Aughra's planetarium to every landscape in between. You will get drawn into this alien world. The beauty of the sets and location shots is only enhanced with some fantastic cinematography and conventional effects.
Since we are essentially talking about a puppet show brought to you as a feature film let's talk about the puppets. Granted they might seem a bit archaic by today's standards, they were nothing short of incredible back in 1982. To have puppets act and react in such an organic and lifelike fashion was never done on film before. This is the first movie where you get that sort of eye and mouth movements we have come so used to with current animatronics. Famed artist Brian Froud created all of the creatures and characters for Dark Crystal and if you're a fan of his work you will definitely see it. When you look at the majesty of the Mystics you forget they are just people covered in foam latex.
Of course having a truly creative setting and truly creative characters would not be enough to make a great movie. Lord knows fantasy fans have seen plenty of examples that prove that point. However this movie has a story that is as classic as any fable you have read before. By the time you finish this movie if will feel like you just read a grand fairy tale... only about wondrous and fantastic creatures never seen before. It's not deep storytelling. Then again it shouldn't be considering the mythical theme.
The only version you need to get from this movie is the one that's been released from the beginning. They did it right the first time when it came to extras. Here's what you get:
The World of the Dark Crystal - a fantastic 60 minute documentary that covers everything from conceptual design, to creating the puppets and sets, to cinematography and more. You also get interviews with key staff like conceptual designer Brian Froud as well as Jim Henson and Frank Oz. This feature is worth having. Trust me.
Deleted Scenes - Essentially scenes of the Skesis Emperor's funeral. Not as exciting as the documentary and I can see why it was taken out of the final cut of the movie.
Original language workprint - This is cool. The first idea for the movie was there would be a totally original language(s) that would be spoken and then subtitled for our benefit. I think it would have been awesome to see that, but in the end the studio chickened out. At least we get a taste of what it would have been like in these test prints. Keep in mind they aren't scenes in full production so they look grainy and there is some harsh dubbing with Frank Oz filling in some voices.
On top of that you get dolby surround and Spanish mono, character drawings and profiles, separate music score, talent files and trailers. Not bad if you ask me. Don't bother with the Collector's Edition. All you get is essentially the original script, some storyboards and additional illustrations. Not worth the extra price. The Jim Henson Family Film Collection is a good alternative too, with all the extras mentioned on the original edition as well as two other Jim Henson films.
I will admit that some people might be put off of this movie due to the lack of human actors in front of you and the fact the puppet animatronics might feel dated. It's a shame people would feel that way because The Dark Crystal is fantasy storytelling at its finest. If you are a fan of the genre this movie is an absolute must. If you're a Muppet fan... well these aren't Muppets so don't expect Fraggle Rock when you see it. Any fan of grand storytelling who wants to be whisked away to a strange faraway land will find what they are looking for in The Dark Crystal. Do yourself a favor and check this movie out.
- One of a kind fantasy
This movie stands alone. There had been other puppet movies before, Notably those of Bill Baird. But Jim Henson went as far beyond Bill Baird as Werner Von Braun had gone beyond Leonardo Da Vinci.
The movie is basically a children's story, but like some of Tolkien's work, to which it could be compared, it has depths that make it enjoyable to adults as well. A real gem for the whole family.
The "making Of" featurette is well worth watching for any fan of fantasy films and should be "must view" for any one wanting to produce or direct anything in that genre....more info
- A work of art!
Once again, another one of those movies that you should at least see once just to see how much work was put into it!...more info
- When three suns align
Whenever you think of Jim Henson's Muppets, the fuzzy kooky variety shows and entertaining adventures of Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Kermit the Frog come to mind.
But these versatile puppets have been used for far more dramatic effects in "The Dark Crystal," an exquisite little fantasy story that happens to be entirely populated by puppets. Not a live person in sight, from start to finish. Henson and Brian Froud conjured up a gloriously detailed world -- full of fantastical flora and fauna, crystalline castles and strange creatures -- and wrapped it around a solid coming-of-age story.
On another world, there are two strange races that appeared one thouysand years ago -- the enormous, gentle, peaceful Mystics, and the nasty, vulture-like, vicious Skekses who ruin the surrounding lands. Both races are somehow connected to a massive crystal that was broken a thousand years ago, and now a shard is missing from it. What's more, three suns are about to come into conjunction, and the shard has to be back in place when that happens.
The Mystics have cared for one of the last Gelflings, an orphan named Jen whom they rescued from the insectile Garthim. As the conjunction approaches, they send him out to find the lost shard. Along the way, Jen gains the crystal shard for himself, and meets the only other living Gelfling, Kira. Now they must both evade the Skekses' Garthim henchmen and bat-winged spies, and somehow infiltrate their castle. But what will happen when the suns line up, and the crystal is completed?
Many fantasy movies slap together a story that has been told many times before, but increasingly without interest -- throw in swords, some monsters, a brave prince or farm boy, and some evil witch/queen/wizard/Dark Lord. But fortunately nothing is so simple in "The Dark Crystal" -- although the origins of the Skekses and Mystics are pretty obvious from the very start of the movie, the journey along with Jen is what really makes this interesting.
Instead of some pan-medieval land, "The Dark Crystal" aims at portraying a truly alien world, and Brian Froud's slightly weird designs make it seem so -- strange swamp reptiles, colorful anemones, vast crystalline castles, desiccated vulture-like creature, shrieking fuzzballs, and gorgeous forests full of strange plants and animals that tend to move and act in unique ways. "The Dark Crystal" leaves you feeling like you've been transported to some other planet.
Additionally, this film also has the honor of being the first major movie to entirely star puppets, with nary a human being in sight -- some of those puppets still walk in a herky-jerky Muppet manner, but their design is utterly detailed and believable, from Jen's sort-of-human, fawnlike features to the vast four-armed Mystics, and the rattling armored Garthim soldiers. And the special effects end up being pretty spectacular, especially during the chaotic literally earthshattering climax -- while the finale is rather predictable, it is no less awe-inspiring for that.
At times it feels like the characterization gets a backseat to the movie's visuals, but Jen and fellow Gelfling orphan Kira are fairly likable, naive young heroes who develop a cute little romance throughout the story. The various Skekses are given individual quirks and personalities (such as the annoying Chamberlain who won't stop humming). Not to mention the abrasive, lumpy witch Aughra, who's an absolute riot ("Whole world might burn up... hmph... end of Augra!") and Kira's toothy fuzzball Fizzgig.
"The Dark Crystal" has some predictable plot twists, but it is also a glorious visual feast and a coming-of-age journey with the Gelflings, leading to a finale both awe-inspiring and bittersweet. Definitely a must-see....more info
- A unique story that can never be repeated
Jim Henson is more genius than we know. Beyond Labyrinth, Big Bird and Miss Piggy comes a story far different and far more fantastical than anything ever exhibited on screen to date. It was a movie created many, many years before its time that explored aspects and concepts that exist in the philosophies of some of our oldest religions today...along with a great adventure story.
While exhibited in the guise of a children's fantasy film, if you dig deeper in the symbology and metaphors of the film there are great truths that exist. The oneness of life, humanity and spirit. The duality of good and evil. Mortality and immortality. Images of light and darkness. What a genious manner in which it was filmed, scored and portrayed. This is indeed Jim henson's finest cinematic work.
Some beliefs do acknowledge that in ancient of ancient times there was life in all things: rocks, plants, trees could talk and move, there existed a highly sophisticated and superior race of beings that suddenly vanished or became obliterated.
It is understandable that "The Dark Crystal" had failed at the box office when it first came out. Such a small scale epic could not compete in the shadow of the success of the original Star Wars. But this quieter film is still a spectacle of its own and, much like its Star Wars counterpart, has become a unique classic of richness and depth...one that can never be repeated again. I've enjoyed this movie since I was a kid, and it's never lost its appeal after 24 years. This is well worth the money spent to keep in your DVD library
- Get dream-fasted!
I remember seeing little parts of it when i was a kid in a film show back in the 80s and it intrigued and scared me. Last year i was fortunate to see this edition on sale and bought it and was beaming with expectation. So i finally saw the film, after all these years and i'm still intrigued and scared by it! It is visually beautiful and i think that's its strongest asset. The dialogue can be a bit corny sometimes and the story is very straightfoward (that's not criticism). The score by Trevor Jones is astonishingly inspired and memorable. I wish i could find the soundtrack cd sometime soon cause it's just amazing! On the whole a wonderful, lush, inspiring motion picture any fantasy fan must own!...more info
- Can you say "groundbreaking"?
They don't make family films like they used to. Remember "Return to Oz" and "The Neverending Story"? Well, they were brilliant compared to the family films of today. This film, "The Dark Crystal", is also brilliant in its own right. There are no human characters, the setting are definitely otherworldly, and the villains are definitely not kid-friendly. What I like most about this film is the way the characters are created (Jim Henson did a find job with the Tolkienesque muppets). What I like least about this film is that, like other reviewers have mentioned, the film tends to drag in some parts (most notably the first twenty minutes). But that flaw aside, this film along with many other dark family films ranks somewhere near the top of my list.
- Cool movie
One of my favorite movies, great for the kids and not bad for an 80's flick....more info