More Films to See Before You Die: #96 The Dark Crystal

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The Dark Crystal (1982)

Directors: Jim Henson & Frank Oz

Cast: Jim Henson , Kathryn Mullen and Frank Oz

Synopsis: Another planet, another time. 1000 years ago the Dark Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos began. Now the time of the great conjunction of the three suns is near. If the crystal is not healed now the control of the evil Skekses will last forever. Jen the last of the Gelflings nearly exterminated by monsters controlled by the Skekses starts his dangerous journey to find the missing shard of the crystal. While on his journey Jen meets another Gelfling, Kira who agrees to help Jen find the shard and heal the crystal. Hot on their trail is a banished skekses named Chamberlain who wishes to help the Gelflings in their quest. After Kira is kidnapped by the Skekses guards the Garthim Jen must find the courage to save both her and his world.

Trivia: Pre-production work revolved around Brian Froud’s designs without a finished script. When Froud originally presented Jim Henson with concept drawings for the crystal, Henson seemed totally perplexed. When Froud asked why, Henson said he had no idea what the designs were for. As it turned out, Froud had misunderstood Henson during early production conversations – Henson intended the film to be called “The Dark Chrysalis,” referring to the Skekses dominance over the world. Henson, however, loved the concept art and integrated the idea of the crystal into the storyline.

Why Should You Watch This?: I love Jim Henson’s work on the Muppet show and movies with the uniquely happy world he created. His and Frank Oz work on The Dark Crystal is such a refreshing change of form its hard to believe this is the same production team. The world they have created here is very dark and mysterious and will appeal to people of all ages. This is a good companion piece to The Labyrinth but unlike that film The Dark Crystal doesn’t have a single human appear in it a rarity for a live action film. This movie is a real treat to watch and come highly recommended.

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