The Dark Crystal is a fantasy that was brought to life through the hard work of Jim Hensen, Frank Oz and Brian Froud. The story centers on the character Jen, the last Gelfling. A race ordered exterminated by the Skeksis and brutally slaughtered by the Garthim – large insect-like soldiers loyal to the Skeksis. It is through him we are introduced to and move through this rich fantasy world. That being said this movie is about so much more than his journey. We learn about the Skeksis and the Mystics, originally called the Uru – two dying races that have existed for one thousand years.
As we move though the film we learn that the Uru and the Skeksis are really two sides of the same coin. They are the good and the evil. The right and the wrong. And they are connected on a metaphysical level that we learn more and more about throughout the course of the film. We also learn that Jen is in fact NOT the last Gelfling when we are introduced to Kira, another Gelfling who survived the massacre that devastated their race.
I was 10 years old when I first saw The Dark Crystal in the theaters and thirty years later, it is still one of my favorite films of all time. Interestingly enough however the things I loved about it as a child have grown as I have. This film is a masterpiece of film making. The first live action film not to have a single human character in it – this film engulfs in an entire world that comes from the imagination. What we have to keep in mind is that this was done without all of the technology that we have today. The broad landscapes we are shown are partially set dressing and partially glass mat painted backdrops brought to life. The characters were all human controlled, extremely complex puppets (with very few exceptions). The artistry involved in every aspect of the film is nothing less than awe inspiring.
This film holds it’s own today against the giant special effects films that are being cranked out year after year. If you have not seen it I highly recommend it. It is a family friendly sorry that is compelling for all ages.