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The Dark Crystal

Where to Watch The Dark Crystal

PG
1982

Set in a fantastical world unlike any other, The Dark Crystal is a visionary creation of Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the master puppeteers behind the Muppets. Released in 1982, it took viewers on an unforgettable journey that was not only a cinematic marvel of its time but also a creative leap in storytelling through intricate puppetry. The unique combination of traditional filmmaking techniques and artistry, backed by performances by Kathryn Mullen, and the directorial genius of Henson and Oz, transforms The Dark Crystal into a rich textured, visually captivating and extraordinary piece of film history.

The story unfolds on the distant planet of Thra, where harmony once reigned under the watchful influence of a powerful crystal. However, a catastrophic event causes the crystal to crack, giving rise to two distinct and diametrically opposite races. The first are the Skeksis, malicious bird-lizard-like beings with a hunger for power, ruling Thra with an iron fist from the Castle of the Crystal. The second are the mystical Wizards or Mystics, peaceful and philosophical creatures forced into a nomadic life by the oppression of the Skeksis.

The Dark Crystal is a tale of destiny, courage, and hope. The plot follows Jen, a young Gelfling, raised by the gentle Mystics after the Skeksis decimated his species. Jen believes he is the last of his kind until his dying master reveals his destiny: to find the lost shard of the Dark Crystal and restore balance to the world. Haunted by this daunting mission, Jen embarks on a perilous journey as Thra’s last hope.

Jen's voyage takes viewers through the breathtaking landscapes of Thra, such as deep forests, sweeping deserts, towering mountains, and treacherous swamps, each teeming with numerous fantastical creatures. This adventure introduces us to Kira, another surviving Gelfling, and her loyal pet Fizzgig. The bond Kira and Jen form strengthens them emotionally and physically as they face untold dangers and uncover dark secrets.

While essentially a fantasy adventure, The Dark Crystal is interwoven with a variety of themes from universal conflicts of good versus evil, power and corruption, to environmental allegories. The stark contrast between the Skeksis' decadence and the Mystics' harmonious existence mirrors nature's balance and mankind's potential for both creation and destruction.

What makes this production distinctly admirable is Jim Henson's ambitious decision to use puppets and animatronics instead of humans. By daring to do so, he and his team created an entirely new universe inhabited by non-human characters, richly detailed and carefully designed, a feat unprecedented in its scale and complexity. It’s important to note that the lead performers, such as Jim Henson and Kathryn Mullen, are skilled puppeteers who breathed life into these intricate creations, lending them a whole range of human-like emotions.

The Dark Crystal, albeit a creation from the early '80s, still retains an ageless appeal due to its commendable artistic vision. The visual aesthetics of the film are a testament to meticulous craftsmanship. From creature design to intricate landscapes and sets, every aspect of this cinematic endeavor has been painstakingly constructed to contribute to the immersive experience.

The film also pioneers the use of animatronics, an innovation of the Henson Creature Shop, giving unprecedented mobility and expressivity to the puppet characters. This integration of complex technology with traditional forms of puppetry was a milestone in the film industry, casting a long influence on many subsequent fantasy films.

Scored by Trevor Jones, the film's music perfectly encapsulates the mystical essence of Thra, adding depth and dimension to this surreal world. The combination of orchestral symphonies, tribal drums, and electronic sounds create an epic soundscape that patriotically complements the narrative.

Despite its fair share of darkness and tension, The Dark Crystal never loses its essence. It is a grand adventure, an exploration of courage against adversity, and a vivid wake-up call about the perils of greed and power lust. The movie's enduring popularity attests to its timeless quality, capturing audiences' hearts worldwide and influencing a new generation of fantasy storytellers. It stands as an incredible achievement of film artistry, a testament to the boundless imagination of creators who dared to dream beyond their era's limitations.

The Dark Crystal is a Adventure, Kids & Family, Fantasy movie released in 1982. It has a runtime of 93 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.1. It also holds a MetaScore of 66.

How to Watch The Dark Crystal

Where can I stream The Dark Crystal movie online? The Dark Crystal is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Peacock, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Dark Crystal for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.1/10
66/100
Director
Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Stars
Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw, Barry Dennen, Michael Kilgarriff, Louise Gold
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