“The Dark Crystal” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

4 March, 2018

Year of Release: 1982
Jim Henson, Frank Oz
David Odell
Director of Photography: 
Oswald Morris
Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz 

Synopsis: Fantasy adventure in which an elf-like boy is sent on a quest locate and restore a lost piece of magical crystal which has the power to dispel darkness from the universe and restore peace across a divided land.

The Dark Crystal Review:

A classic team-up from puppeteering icons Jim Henson and Frank Oz, “The Dark Crystal” is a film made to soothe the wounds of a divided world, remaining relevant in a contemporary context while reeking of old-school hippie juju. Barely out of the 70s and unsure whether to charm or terrify its audience, the movie fawns over “Star Wars” like a younger sibling showing great admiration for its superior, imitating every beat while exploring a world of its own with a skewed version of reality.

A weekend movie with kiddie appeal, “The Dark Crystal” utilises the magic of puppetry to offset its inherently dark themes, something both Henson and Oz take pride in as the masterminds behind Yoda and Kermit the Frog explore new directions with familiar application. Ripping off a ton of fantasy epics while simultaneously building its own inimitable fairy-tale universe, the film turns winged monkeys into beetles and bats in a Tolkienesque take on “The Wizard of Oz” made to suit the sensibilities of a still prominent counter-cultural era. Predating “Labyrinth”, “The NeverEnding Story” and “The Princess Bride”, “The Dark Crystal” feels familiar yet establishes the framework for 80s fantasy, remaining in existence as an untamed yet endearing snapshot of conceptual foundations within the broader spectrum of cinema.

Undeniably dated with its mixture of cable puppetry and concealed live action performance, “The Dark Crystal” is a time capsule with historical allure, presenting a timeless story in a format now mostly shunned from the big screen. Like watching an elaborate stage play reliant solely on the impressive nature of full-scale animatronics, the movie is the literal embodiment of the phrase ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ with a design that cinema hasn’t seen for decades and an innocence that extends beyond its simple message of peaceful coexistence.


Review Date
The Dark Crystal