Jen is a gelfling, who believe that he is the last of kind. He has been raised by the Mystics, a peaceful race who number only 10. The Skeksis and vulture like race and also number only 10.
There is a prophecy that states a Gelfling will heal the crystal. The Skeksis rule over the Dark Crystal and do not want to lose their powerful position, so have been killing off all the Gelflings.
Jen needs to find the Crystal Shard and to head to the Dark Tower to heal the Dark Crystal. Along the way he meets up with Kira, another Gelfling who also believed she was the last of her kind. Together they head to the tower to fulfil their destiny.
First watched in the 80s
The film was released in 1982, and i believe i would have watched in 1983. Being in the UK, we got films a lot later than today's releases. I would also have watched it on VHS (kids, as your parents), and this most likely on my birthday, so late 1983.
I remember at the time really enjoying the film and blown away by the special effects and puppetry. I was scared of the Skeksis, and was happy when they died.
Of course, Fizzgig was the star of the show, and i really wanted one. I was disappointed when i realised that it was not real, and that i would not be getting one as a pet or as a toy. But not to worry, a certain Star Wars film in 1983 would soon out everything right for me.
35 years later
I purchased the Blu Ray version of the Dark Crystal. The quality was brilliant and i am certain Sony would have tidied up the quality of the film. The special effects were obviously left as they were, which is the right thing to do with this film. There were some computer generated special effects in the film, but they were limited. The technology at the time was not brilliant, so a modern audience will be able to tell when it was happening.
The pleasure was to see the puppetry has held up very well. Yes, modern technology could have given the Gelflings more realistic facial movements, but the quality of the puppets and the operators is legendary. Frank Oz, Jim Henderson worked on this film with a large and talented cast of puppeteers. The Mystics and Skeksis were brilliant, and the Skeksis still freak me out a little (it must be their vulture looks).
The story is fairly basic, and Jen gets hold of the Crystal Shard very easily. That is not the only problem i have with the film - the mystics walk slowly, and appear to be going a long way to the tower. However, they arrive shortly after Jen arrives, and he took the quick 'stilt' monsters, and they moved fast. This is a minor gripe.
I would imagine the puppeteers had a great time dressing the sets and coming up with creatures, fauna and flora. The sets were a feast to the eyes. I imagine i would have missed a lot of this when i was younger, but i appreciate it now.
The risk they took with making this film paid off, and i sometimes wish that film companies would take a little more risk now to make high fantasy movies. Make them right like this, and they will have a massive masterpiece on their hands.
This is a film that has stood the test of time, and i thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. While the story was basic, and i knew about the Mystics and Skeksis, there were many elements of the film that i had forgotten. I believe that this film would still interest the young of today, but i believe people in the middle age bracket will enjoy this as a reminder of what movies were like when they were younger.
My Rating: 8 / 10
80's Fantasy Movies
Here are some of the other Fantasy films from this decade.