The Dark Crystal

On a distant planet in a time long ago, a Gelfling named Jen (Jim Henson) undergoes a destined quest to heal the planet and restore the magical crystal that keeps everything in balance.

The Highs
The Dark Crystal must have been incredibly difficult to accomplish in a technical sense. It was really awesome to see what Henson and crew did with the creatures and aspects of the alien planet. Probably the very best part of the film, the world of The Dark Crystal really came to life.

Some of the performances were incredible. Frank Oz as Aughra was a delight to behold, and Fizzgig (Dave Goelz) is easily the most likable character in the entire film.

The Lows
Unfortunately, many aspects of The Dark Crystal fall flat. The story itself is certainly nothing to get excited about, and never deviates from standard fantasy cliches. The prophecy of a Gelfling being the one to repair the crystal is never really explained, and is simply a weak story to hold the rest of the film together.

Speaking of the plot, the entire thing is very reminiscent of Star Wars, right down to the Skeksis instructing their slaves to submit to the power of the dark crystal. It’s understandable that Henson and Oz wanted to capture some of the popularity of that franchise, but The Dark Crystal is entirely too similar.

Some of the voice performances were downright awful and, unfortunately, that mainly includes the two protagonists. It is also infuriating that Jen literally narrates everything all of the time. I don’t know if it was hubris or lack of budget that led Henson to voicing Jen but, in my mind, it was a serious mistake.

The sad thing about The Dark Crystal is how dull it actually is. Outside of the world and the creatures that inhabit it, nothing else is remotely interesting about this film. Due to the limitations of the puppets used, there are no exciting battle sequences or thrilling moments. Also, in a bizarre turn of events, the protagonists Jen and Kira (Kathryn Mullen) are the worst looking puppets in the entire cast.

Final Thoughts
The Dark Crystal is a mediocre tale set in a unique and enthralling world. While the story and the characters themselves are nothing to get excited about, the film is worth a watch simply for the technical marvel that Jim Henson and the rest of his crew accomplished.

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