The Dark Crystal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Dark Crystal Reviews

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½ July 10, 2016
January 10 2016 is a day that will be remembered by music fans, as it was the day that Ziggy Stardust left this world. Due to that tragedy I been wanting to revisit "Labyrinth" but finally I got the time to rewatch it, but you can watch "Labyrinth" while ignoring its spiritual brother: The also cult classic "The Dark Crystal".
Normally I write a small synopsis but with this film it would take numerous paragraphs to even explain where this film take place (it takes 10 minutes of narration to explain the world), so let's put is simple. A young elf like creature name Jen is the last of his race (Gelfling) and he is tasked by his dying master to restore a crystal in order to avoid the eternal ruling of the evil vulture looking race, the Skeksis and their Mirelurk looking servants.
Unlike its spiritual brother, "The Dark Crystal" is not a childhood classic for me, as a matter of fact I have never watched this film prior to 2016, so I has more than anxious to learn why this film has achieved cult status, and I was actually kind of impressed. "The Dark Crystal" counts with quite possibly the most creative looking puppets of Jim Hensonīs career, the overall world is like a twisted combination of certain sections of Tolkienīs Middle Earth and Endor, the story is a mashup of the basic premise of "Lord of the Rings" (go to point A with this McGuffin in order to save the world) but the rest is a nightmarish version of a Biblical story, the majority of the voice over work is excellent as each voice feats the character design, themes that covered a varied number of topics, and overall it is pretty damn entertaining which is quite an accomplishment for a film that doesn't have a human presence onscreen. With all that being said, "The Dark Crystal" has numerous problems: The main characters look creepy (they look humanoid but they land into Uncanny Valley territory), the characters are not memorable as they all lack personality, the main characterīs voice acting is just so bland, the few attempts at comedy found within this film don't work at all, the tone is too dark for children (some of the imagery will give your kids nightmares) but too silly for grownups, and it suffers from major pacing issues.
"The Dark Crystal" is a film that lives up to its name as it is a truly dark film for children, but still is an enjoyable and visually mesmerizing film that has its moments. While it is easy to see why "Labyrinth" is more beloved, I would argue that "The Dark Crystal" is a better film as it isn't as 'childish' as the David Bowie film, thus making it more enjoyable for the adult demographic.
May 22, 2016
Una aventura fantastica que entretiene con el minimo de aspavientos y con cierto sabor a Tolkien. Buena opcion para una tarde de fin se semana.
April 29, 2016
One of the best Jim Henson movies I have ever seen. The puppetry is great, the character design is amazing, the plot is plausible. All in all, friggen awesome.
½ April 17, 2016
The Jim Henson classic of innovative puppetry.
March 5, 2016
I first saw this as a kid, and was rather disturbed by it. Watching it again now, I still found it disturbing, but could better appreciate the craft that went into it. The movie looked amazing on blu-ray, and really showed-off the excellent production design. I found the story lacking which prevents it from being a classic, but it is certainly worth a watch.
February 5, 2016
A much better fantasy film than Labyrinth. Sure it doesn't have the most complex characters, but it is still a powerful film that can unnerve even the older audiences.
½ January 25, 2016
Normally, technique is only secondary to the plot and the characters. On a rare occasion like this, the methodology and skill of the director equal or even surpass the story content. From the genius mind of Jim Henson comes a deeply immersive and magical futuristic fairytale. The Dark Crystal is a visual splendor made without any onscreen human actors. Henson uses puppets, costumes, and stunning surreal set designs to bring to life a magnificent unique world. Complementing the amazing visual richness is a superb soundtrack composed by Trevor Jones. The story is extremely simple, but it has the beautiful simplicity of a children's fairy tale. I love the clear division of good and evil how the puppet designs keenly celebrate that. The good-hearted characters draw you in and show kindness and joy despite being inanimate puppets. The evil characters look even more amazing. They look as scary, mean, and disgusting as their personalities. Henson rightfully understands that children want to be scared sometimes, and that it is a good for their development. Some adults may complain that there are not deep emotional complexities in the characters. Those people are missing the point; it is more about splendor, excitement. For me, it makes me feel like I did as a child and hearing a great story or watching a fantasy movie for the first time. That is a difficult thing to pull off; few movies achieve it as an adult. It is a delightful movie directed at children, but adults will enjoy as well. The skill in constructing and executing a unique vision like this is a real accomplishment. My only regret with this movie is that I did not see it as a child.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2016
There is nothing that can justify the amount of effort put into creating something so visually stunning (the production design is spectacular) but none into such a tedious narrative that has no imagination, no energy, no sense of pacing and is full of annoying characters.
December 29, 2015
Pretty good muppets but the story is a bit boring. It's not as funny as most muppet movies, it could have been without losing anything from the film so a wasted opportunity. I reckon the story is a bit dark and complex for kids too.
December 20, 2015
The Dark Crystal was, for the time, a hugely ambitious production taking all the skill and knowhow of Muppet master Jim Henson to bring some remarkable creatures to life. The imaginatively realised puppet characters are superbly done and have a subtlety and expressivity often lacking in more modern CGI creations. The whole setting for the action is a marvellously created fantasy world that, again, displays the expertise of the special effects team well. It is a world populated by scurrying insects and lush vegetation, much of which was created especially despite the briefest of appearances. The plot is simple and straightforward, a tale of good versus evil and a hero's quest, but there is enough to keep it engaging, especially for children who the film was aimed at. The Dark Crystal is one of those movies that lives fondly in the memory of those of us who went to the cinema to see it when it was first released and I would think it would still hold some appeal to audiences today.
½ December 11, 2015
Right in front of the derivative fantasy writing, Jim Henson's mastery direction of puppetry is the utter face of this one-of-a-kind film that followed a fantasy genre prompt with a not-so light turn. (B)

(Full review coming soon)
½ November 30, 2015
"The Dark Crystal" is one tripped up fantasy film. Maybe it amazed people in 1982, but this film feels very campy and seems like an ideal candidate for Mystery Science Theater 3000. As I watched, I couldn't figure out who it is intended for. It is too dark for children (seriously, the entire thing is like one long nightmare) and I can't see teens or adults taking it seriously. I suppose that Jim Henson must have truly believed that this art form could extend beyond the realm of comedy, but that is the main thing missing from this film. The Muppets work because they provide comical dialogue and slapstick humor. If you put them on stage reading Shakespeare in a serious tone, nobody would watch. Take away the Muppets' jokes, familiarity of their characters and add non-stop disturbing imagery, and you have this film. Not to mention that the story is entirely bizarre and the ending is so obvious that there is nothing to keep you watching. Unless, of course, you are stubborn and looking forward to writing an unflattering movie review once it is done. Henson learned a lesson with "Labyrinth" by adding catchy music and quirky characters to keep it from being too serious, but even that film doesn't seem to appeal to its child audience. I would definitely recommend passing on "The Dark Crystal." If you want to experience the genius of Jim Henson, stick with the Muppets and save your children from this nightmarish puppet show.
November 10, 2015
very cool looking. story is a bit flat.
November 9, 2015
The Dark Crystal is disappointing because the character development is poor, it is lacking in terms of storytelling and the film lacks energy in its execution, but it is visually breathtaking with excellent scenery and terrific puppetry and the world-building is stupendous and the imagination is evident leading to a flawed, but unique movie nonetheless.
November 5, 2015
What? I can't even. I can't even begin to attempt to even. It's nightmare fuel for a fantasies fantasy.
½ October 31, 2015
There are certain films that are so ridiculous that they force you to consider the confines of the medium; The Dark Crystal is certainly one of those films. An earnest, dark fantasy centering around archetypal characters and told entirely with puppets/animatronics, the fact that this exists at all is mind-blowing, and the fact that it works as well as it does is a testament to the imaginative minds of its creators who sublimate their standard hero's quest narrative with gorgeously rendered landscapes and grotesque monsters. The imagery launches what could've been a colossal mistake into the realm of the cult classic, it's dated effects and new-age musings on the interconnectedness of all living things only serve to underline its appeal in that regard.
October 14, 2015
fantastic work from Jim Henson, and a great idea from George Lucas. Its a good story. Amazing effects.
October 13, 2015
One of my all time top 10 favorite childhood movies...it was also great in college, with the help from the herb.
September 30, 2015
Screw the Muppets, this movie (along with 'Labyrinth') is Jim Henson's best work in my eyes. This film still haunts me from my childhood. From funny one-eyed Aughra & adorable Fizzgig to the disturbingly scary Skeksis, I love this dark creepy fantasy world Henson created & wish he'd revisited it before he died, instead of focusing on crappy Sesame Street. Hard to believe this came out in 1982, imagine what it would look like with today's technology which begs the question, why aren't movies like this being made today? Rather sad how children these days would rather watch bright computer graphics than real-life animatronics and are missing out on unique treasures like this.
½ September 6, 2015
Apparently the puppets were designed for this movie before any work had been done on the story itself. It shows. It's a collection of tired fantasy cliches wrapped around a bunch of sketchy and unappealing characters.
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