The Dark Crystal (1982)

The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal Review

The Dark Crystal is a 1982 fantasy adventure film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It is one of the director’s darkest movies and has a cult following to this day.

It is about Jen, a member of an elflike race known as Gelfling, who must find a powerful, broken gem in order to restore balance to his alien world. The story itself is very typical and very easy to predict. But it is still very interesting and imaginative with such a fine beginning with nicely used narration and solid ending, albeit familiar. It is solid in terms of storytelling, but not great as it is far more memorable on a visual level.

The characters are to me the biggest problem of this movie and the reason why I never connected with it and why I found it disappointing. They are all pretty forgettable and just so flat due to quite poor character development. Jen is a clichéd hero and boring as hell whereas Kira is slightly better, but still not that good. The other characters are a bit better for sure, but they are all lacking and neither of them is memorable or particularly likable.

The acting is also not as good, some actors did a fine job, but others, most notably the main character, are quite mediocre. And the movie lacks energy and effervescence in its execution. It almost seems depressing and even boring at times. It is also not particularly emotional and is rather cold from time to time. Those are some of the biggest reasons why The Dark Crystal disappointed me and why I found ‘Labyrinth‘ to be a better movie.

But it is visually stunning, there is no denying that. The imagery is simply gorgeous to behold and the puppetry is absolutely magnificent with excellent designs and great attention to detail with clothes, hair and everything else wonderfully done. They also move in a realistic manner and are just breathtaking to behold. The score is also really good, the pacing is mostly okay and the directing from Jim Henson is quite good. I loved the mythology in this film and I found the world-building superb. All of the alien races are excellently imagined and depicted and the picture is so wonderful to watch, but also authentic and filled with stupendous creativity. The dialogue is also solid and the tone is troublesome for the lack of humor, but it is still interesting how it went darker which was not a failed experiment by any means. But the overall scenery and look of the film along with its imagination and world-building is the biggest reason to see it without any doubt.

The Dark Crystal is disappointing because the character development is poor, it is lacking in terms of storytelling and the film lacks energy in its execution, but it is visually breathtaking with excellent scenery and terrific puppetry and the world-building is stupendous and the imagination is evident leading to a flawed, but unique movie nonetheless.

My Rating – 3.5


      Interior & Exterior Stills from The Dark Crystal

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