Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire
Director: Jim Henson & Frank Oz
Release Date: 17 December 1982
Length: 93 minutes
Movie Rating: PG
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 5/5 stars
“Jen (puppeteered by Jim Henson), the last of the Gelfling race, is charged with healing the Crystal of Truth – now called the Dark Crystal after it was cracked, leading to an era of terror – by finding a missing shard in Aughra’s (Frank Oz) observatory. The wicked Skeksis will rule eternally if Jen doesn’t complete his mission before the Great Conjunction of the three suns. Jim Henson & Frank Oz co-direct this classic fantasy film.” — Netflix.com
Okay, so I am now confessing to being a complete and total dork. I LOVE this movie. I grew up watching it in the 1980s and fell in love with it when I was a child and still love it now. The storyline is pure fantasy with a young adventurer being sent out on a quest to save the world. Along the way, he makes friends and discovers more about his heritage and the important role he must play in restoring his world. There are all kinds of interesting and unique creatures that populate Jen’s world, as well as some pretty aggressive and personality-filled plants. Everything is just a bit weird, but colorful and eye-catching. The individual races are clearly thought out and delineated, with many unique characteristics that are easy to understand and appreciate. Of course, most of the characters feature over-the-top costumes and hair in keeping with the time period this movie was made in, but that is what makes it so fun and otherworldly feeling!
Everything is carefully crafted and wonderfully made with great attention to detail. I can tell that this movie was made by masters of their craft and, even though the styling is a bit dated, everything else appears with the same amount of quality as when this film was first released. The music is one of my favorite parts of the film – it is absolutely beautiful! With a sweeping symphonic soundtrack, the music takes this film up a notch and makes it something truly special. The plot is interesting, though quite simple and I always find it intriguing. The ending makes you think a little bit about what is really inside a person. None of us are truly good or bad, we are all a combination of both. The characters are fascinating and you can’t wait to see what is going to happen to them! I thought it was interesting that the writers chose to give most of the special magical powers to the female gelflings, like Kira, but Jen (the male gelfling) was not at all offended and was happy to take whatever assistance Kira could provide!
While this movie is acted solely by puppets, I would not say that this movie was created for children. I think that this is a brand-new fairy tale that was created for adults to watch and enjoy. Children will enjoy it, of course, but they will miss a lot of the subtleties and probably won’t really know or appreciate what they are watching. This movie is readily available to rent, buy cheaply or watch streaming online on websites such as Netflix. If you enjoy fantasy at all, you really should not miss this movie. It is a lesser-known gem that many people don’t even know about!
This movie features some dark and scary creatures. The evil Skeskis eat animals alive, suck the essence out of creatures, send out robot creatures to do their bidding, enslave cute little villagers, and fight over power and dominance. There is violence, some dark sequences and some scary elements. I recommend this movie for children ages 8 and up with parents watching the first few times to help explain the plot and keep them from getting too scared.