The Dark Crystal (1982)

Article 3752 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-10-2011
Posting Date: 11-22-2011
Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz
Featuring the talents of Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz
Country: USA / UK
What it is: Epic fantasy, Muppet style

A gelfling is sent on quest to recover the shard of a damaged crystal and to restore it when the three suns are in conjunction. However, the evil Skekses want to prevent this…

I’ve been a long fan of Jim Henson’s muppets, though over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s with certain reservations; I much prefer the strain of anarchist absurdism that runs through them to the touches of whimsy and cuteness. This was a real departure for them, and I have a real affection for it. The story itself is standard epic fantasy fare, but the visual splendor of the art direction and the design of the many strange creatures that inhabit this world give it a real sense of magic and fantasy. The creations are most effective when they stray as far as possible from the human form; the ones that are most human (the Gelflings and Podlings) are the least effective. However, the Garthins and the Landstriders are truly amazing, the bizarre one-eyed witch Aughra makes a serviceable Yoda substitute. My favorite shots are probably the scenes of the Mystics in their painfully slow pilgrimage across the land to the crystal.

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