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  • Dark Crystal [VHS] [1982]
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Dark Crystal [VHS] [1982]

204 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire
  • Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
  • Writers: Jim Henson, David Odell
  • Producers: Bruce Sharman, David Lazer, Duncan Kenworthy, Gary Kurtz
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • VHS Release Date: 14 Jan. 1986
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CIMU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,342 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the creators of the Muppets, directed this puppet fantasy set on a planet without light. Jen, the last of an elfin race, can only restore light to the world by retrieving the missing shard of the Dark Crystal. His quest is complicated by evil forces who want to use the crystal to destroy all life.

From Amazon.co.uk

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 JRR. 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 recognise many of the voice actors--a few characters sound awfully close to familiar comic creations--but otherwise The Dark Crystal is a completely alien world made familiar by a mythic quest that resonates through stories over the ages. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Anne on 18 Nov. 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This was a highly original concept from the team behind the Muppets. I first saw it with my young sons back in 1982 and 27 years on it still possesses that magical quality to entertain people of all ages. Blu-ray certainly has enhanced the picture quality as opposed to the previous DVD version though I could not detect any difference in the sound. A treat for all to enjoy.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 July 2004
Format: DVD
This is a classic, a captivating and charming movie that remains in a class of its own. There's a spectacular array of creatures and a memorable plot with marvellous twists.
The fact is that all the species and characters come across as very real and believable - from the kindly and wise Mystics to the human Podlings to the awful and hideous Skeksis. The meal scene in the Skeksis castle is particularly vivid and memorable, although it's not for the squeamish! The visit to the lair of the witch Ogra is also quite humorous and spectacular, and I loved the little doggie, if it is a dog.
One of my favourite scenes is where the two Gelflings fall over a cliff and the girl spreads her wings, upon which the relieved boy exclaims: "But I don't have wings" to which the girl replies: "Of course not - you're a boy.". This is in the class of Lord of the Rings about 20 years before the latter was made, although it's probably not fair to compare the two.
Dark Crystal convinces with its world of believable puppets and impressive scenery, which adds a unique flavour to the film. I cannot fault this little gem on any aspect: the old myth is infused by new life here because of the amazing turns in the plot. The scenes are so colourful you cannot forget them, the characterization is of the highest calibre, and the cinematography is breathtaking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Albatross TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 April 2013
Format: DVD
The Dark Crystal is the brainchild of Muppets-creator Jim Henson. Yes, he's best known for creating Kermit and Miss Piggy, but, judging by his impressive body of other work, there's more to him than just chasing chickens with meat cleavers.

The Dark Crystal is an amazing film that's never really achieved mainstream status. It wasn't helped when it was released in the cinema up against ET, so it could never compete with such hype. It's set on a far away planet where a pair of `gelflings' (think innocent fairy-type creatures) must repair the titular Dark Crystal and send an evil race of creatures to their doom.

The Dark Crystal is often compared to Labyrinth (and you can also buy the pair on a double-disc set), but, apart from both of them being fantasy films starring Jim Henson's puppets, I really think they're very different films. Labyrinth is more cheesy, with its dance numbers and comic relief. The Dark Crystal has none of that. It's played straight all the way. Don't expect any laughs here. In fact, there are some downright disturbing and creepy moments (drinking people's `essence' comes to mind).

I would say that the film is perfect in every way, but, despite its brilliant (and incredibly lifelike) puppets and sets, in my opinion it has one major drawback - the two central characters - the gelflings themselves. Every secondary creature is brilliantly created and comes across as real beings. We either love or hate them accordingly, able to forget that they aren't real. But not the gelflings. Not only do they look and move like Thunderbirds without any knee or elbow joints, but the vocal artists don't seem to be able to inject much life into them.

However, that's just my personal small gripe. I still think it's a classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By brainleek007 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I can remember seeing the trailer for The Dark Crystal when I was probably 7 or 8 years old and being absolutely gobsmacked at the visuals - and a bit scared too. I knew I had to see this film!

It certainly didn't disappoint and remains a film I watch with great fondness. Technically this film is something else, the designs are lavish and suitably fantastic with a look and feel that's unique amongst fantasy, and probably all, children's films.

Is this really a kid's film though? The themes are dark for sure and the Skeksis are genuinely horrible, but like the best fairy stories it doesn't shy away from the darker side of life. But I have to say I think it would freak out particularly sensitive youngsters.

The plot is pretty basic. The orphan Gelfilng Jen has to leave his adoptive 'Mystic' protectors to ultimately 'heal' the titular Dark Crystal whose shattering so many years ago has led to the current threat over the land. So it's your basic young lad needs to save the world whilst becoming a man (well, an adult Gelfling at least). There's talk of a prophecy and a portentious conjunction of three suns but it's all fairly generic. The real strength of the film lies in its setting and its visual design.

I should mention that this film is 100% puppets and no human actors appear at all - at least not as humans but a few performers in suits may be apparent. The film makers were meticulous in their efforts to make this convincing and have succeeded admirably given the restrictions on manipulating rod puppets.

The Bluray release is a definite upgrade over DVD. The film was made in 1981 but the presentation is clear and sharp with a lot of detail visible. Is it one to demo your system with?
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