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The Dark Crystal: A Slow but well-aged Fantasy Tale

The Dark Crystal is a 1982 film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The Story goes as follows:

In the world of Thra there is a Crystal. During The Great Conjunction a thousand years ago, The Dark Crystal was cracked and two new races were born: The Skeksis, who represent Will and the Desire to act and The Mystics, who represent Wisdom and the understanding of right action. The Skeksis have ruled Thra from their castle ever since and the land has become devoid of the life it once had.

There is, however, a prophecy that dictates a Gelfling shall restore the Dark Crystal to it’s original form during the next great conjunction. Fearing this, the Skeksis killed all Gelfling save for Jen, who was raised by the Mystics so he could fulfill the prophecy and let good rule Thrall once more. And Kira, who will help him in his quest.

The greatest strenght of this movie is no doubt it’s extensive use of Puppetry, no surprising considering this was a Jim Henson movie, which allows this film to have a very distinct look, even when compared to other films created by the Henson Company, including cult classics such as Labyrinth. The world of Thra is a truly Alien world, even the most humanoid of the species, the Gelfling, are still clearly non-human. And that gives the film an identity of it’s own which, for the most part, has allowed it to age pretty well for a movie 30 years old.

The story is simple, there are no big twists and it’s a classic Good Vs. Evil tale. This is, however, not to say the setting itself is simple. This is a movie with a lot of World-building and Lore in it. most of which is only hinted at.

What drags this movie down is the Uncanny Valley that goes down with the main characters, who have one expression in the entire movie. which is particularly noticeable when you see how expressive the Skeksis are.

It is also a slow movie, with a lot of scenery to show, which can be a factor for a lot of people, but it’s still pretty to look at. And the Music does a wonderful job.

Bottom line, The Dark Crystal is a fantasy tale that doesn’t try to tell a complex story, but still sets itself apart from other works of the genre by creating a world it can call it’s own. if you are a Fantasy fan, this movie is for you.

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