The Dark Crystal (1982) Review

in movies •  6 months ago 

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I'm about to start playing the new game, so I thought it would be fun to look back at The Dark Crystal as I've not watched it for a good number of years now. While older than me, it was a film I grew up watching quite a bit, and have always had some fairly fond memories of.

The story is very simple and ends up being a fairly weak aspect of the movie. Something happened that broke a magical crystal, and the life of the world was slowly being drained away. Two races came about when this happened, the Skeksis and the Mystics, light and dark mirrors of each other as it were. There is a prophecy a Gelfling will restore the crystal and end Skeksis rule of the land, and that is the core of the plot with no real twists. You don't go into a Jim Henson movie expecting a strong plot.

That said, the show makes up for a bit of a clique and lackluster plot with some pretty believable characters. Despite being puppets, they all show a pretty impressive array of emotions through their actions and facial expressions, even if at times they come across looking a bit static. The hero feels real as well, getting constantly frustrated with the fate thrust upon him after the man who raised him died. His journey feels like a constant struggle, and it's wonderful to see him continue to fight on regardless. The lacking main plot almost doesn't matter as you care about Jen and his journey.

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With that said, even that isn't really the main reason to watch the show, it's just kind of there to give the movie some actual substance, which it does very well. The main draw of the movie comes down to the outstanding visual design. It doesn't matter that everything in the movie is essentially a giant puppet show, it all feels so majestic and foreign. Even though at times the visuals can feel a bit dated, and movements can feel stiff, the imagination and creativity behind every scene is something truly hard to match.

And what's more, is that there is so much variety in what you see. From bright and colorful forest landscapes to the treacherous mountains covered in all kinds of bizarre wildlife and creatures, to the dark caverns and hallways of the Skeksis castle, you really do feel like you've seen a massive expanse in such a short time. It never feels like you are jumping around too quickly either, and the whole world still manages to have a kind of cohesive element that makes it all feel like it does take place in the same world.

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This isn't to say the story itself doesn't have it's great points, as mentioned before it does a great job of making you care about Jen. It also does a fairly good job at handling it's side cast, even if at times it feels a little too coincidental they are able to join Jen on his quest. As silly as it can be he just happens to come across the only other living Gelfling and it's a lady, the two have a lot of great chemistry together as characters, and a lot of personality on their own.

The Dark Crystal is worth watching just for the stunning imagery on display, even now it holds up. Back up by an okay story with some very well written characters, it's something worth looking back on. Now let's see if the new game (And one day possibly the Netflix Series if I get around to it) is going to be able to do justice to the original.

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