The Dark Crystal (1982)

2015 #124
Jim Henson & Frank Oz | 89 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | USA & UK / English | PG / PG

High-fantasy adventure about some elves trying to stop a crystal from destroying their planet.

It’s by Jim Henson, so there’s fantastic puppetry and strong design… but the story and the manner of its telling — the dialogue, structure, and characters — alternate between boring, annoying, and laughable. The hero is irritating, the dull villains are given too much focus, the plot borders on nonsensical, it takes forever for barely anything to happen, and the sequence where our heroes accidentally share their memories has to be the cheesiest thing since fondue.

Some people properly love this, but I thought it was just awful.

2 out of 5

This drabble review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2015. Read more here.

2 thoughts on “The Dark Crystal (1982)

  1. I think the ‘love’ comes from nostalgic memories of childhood, which I can share as I was about ten when this was in cinemas and I, like other kids at the time, was a Star Wars starved youngster in need of a fantasy fix before the main deal came back around. I liked it well enough back then, but it hasn’t aged very well. I would argue that the Skeksis (as I think they’re called) are actually pretty sinister, otherwise a fair comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand that feeling — I was about 9 when CutThroat Island came out and I loved it, mainly because I loved pirates, and I never understood the hate for it. I watched it again a few years ago and its lack of quality was suddenly very clear. So in that respect, fair enough, but I think some people still like Dark Crystal in a non-nostalgic, non-ironic way. Horses for courses ‘n’ all, but I agree with you that it’s aged poorly, and I don’t think it stands up for the viewer today.

      The Skeksis do look pretty great, very creepy, but it was their storyline I thought was dull. I think it was meant to be some kind of political intrigue type thing, with displaced leaders and whatnot, but it just didn’t work for me.


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