Day 51: The Dark Crystal (1982)

the dark crystalA friend of mine had been asking me to see the Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal for quite sometime considering I had never seen it. So, I decided to watch the film considering it was released the year I was born. On the planet Thra, a crystal controls everything on the planet, but one day a piece of the crystal is broken off and two races are born. There is the Sketsis, a group of malevolent creatures who use the power of the crystal to continuously replenish themselves and then they are the mystics who are natural element wizards and they are peaceful. For 1000 years, the Sketsis rule the planet with their dark crystal until one year. Their emperor cannot heal with the power of the crystal and there is a race of being known as gelfing (elf like creature) named Jen (puppeteered by Jim Henson and voiced by Stephen Garlick) who is part of a prophecy that could bring down the Sketsis for good. It is his mission to bring the crystal shard and put it back in the crystal to bring normalcy to the planet before it’s too late. The film also stars Lisa Maxwell (Free Bill) as the voice of Kira, Barry Dennen (Jesus Christ Superstar) as Lord Chamberlain, Michael Kilgarriff (Doctor Who) as the voice of the general, Jerry Nelson (The Muppet Show) as High Priest, and the film was directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

dark_crystal_primaryFirst I have to say that you have to take into consideration that this was the early 1980’s and there really wasn’t any CGI. With that being said, this film was absolutely innovative as far as animatronics were concerned. The amount of work that went in to building the sets and working all of the creatures is absolutely insane and it definitely made everyone else step up their game. The film is just visually stunning as everything in all of the sets to the actual creatures is filled with so much detail. I was definitely impressed with that aspect of the film and I was also impressed with the acting. The one thing that absolutely annoyed me that I probably would have looked past as a kid is how annoying Jen really is. He is told right from the beginning that he is to get the crystal shard and connect it before it’s too late. He is constantly question why he is doing it like he is questioning his very existence. That was the one part of the film that just bothered me every single time it occurred on screen. Of course, my complaint could have been about something else like when the garthlings move, you can see human legs moving it underneath or the weird rabbit looking creatures that you can tell are being moved with stilts. Those things didn’t necessarily annoy me because I realize the time this film came out. Now the film may have been marketed towards kids back in the day, but the film is a little dark which was fine by me. The same team that did this film would go on to make The Labyrinth, so they were doing something right. If you live fantasy movies from the 80’s or love puppets and things of that nature, then check out this film. I am going to give an A- for a final grade.

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