Jim Henson's fantasy epic The Dark Crystal
doesn't take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but like Star Wars
it takes the audience to a place that exists only in the imagination and, for an hour and a half, on the screen. Recalling the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, Henson tells the story of a race of grotesque birdlike lizards called the Skeksis, gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. A prophecy tells of a Gelfling (a small elfin being) who will topple their empire, so in their reign of terror they have exterminated the race, or so they think. The orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal (which gives the Skeksis their power) and restore the balance of the universe. Henson and codirector Frank Oz have pushed puppetry into a new direction: traditional puppets, marionettes, giant bodysuits, and mechanical constructions are mixed seamlessly in a fantasy world of towering castles, simple huts, dank caves, a giant clockwork observatory, and a magnificent landscape that seem to have leaped off the pages of a storybook. Muppet fans will recognize many of the voice actors--a few characters sound awfully close to familiar comic creations--but otherwise it's a completely alien world made familiar by a mythic quest that resonates through stories over the ages.
The DVD features the 50-minute documentary The World of the Dark Crystal, with interviews and illuminating behind-the-scenes glimpses. The VHS edition includes a shortened 15-minute version of the documentary. --Sean Axmaker
The Dark Crystal is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It tells the story of Jen, an elflike "Gelfling" on a quest to restore balance to his alien world by returning a lost shard to a powerful but broken jem. In the exclusive The Dark Crystal Collector's Edition, you can go deeper into this magical story with all-new special features such as an included replication of Jim Henson's actual notepad from the film, a special forward by Cheryl Henson, character illustrations, and more. Enjoy this timeless adventure again and again- a must-have for any lover of Jim Henson's groundbreaking film.