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The Dark Crystal [DVD] 
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Enjoy incredible footage from the Henson archives in THE DARK CRYSTAL. Travel back in time to the faraway planet of Thra. Cheer on the Mystics as they fight to overthrow the evil Skeksis and take back control of their planet! When Jen, a member of the Gelfling tribe, sets out to find the crystal's missing shard, his dangerous journey brings him face to face with monsters at every turn. Determined to restore peace to their planet, Jen will not back down! From the brilliant imagination of Jim Henson, this masterpiece of animation recounts the timeless tale of good vs. evil and has become a cult favorite of children and grown-ups alike!
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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? Well no, but it's by far the best home presentation of this film you can get.
A mention must be made of Trevor Jone's score which really is quite beautiful. It adds a lot of character whilst sounding unique and linking up to the visuals well - the opening motif of the film being a case in point; very otherworldly and a bit haunting - a great score overall.
Extras listed are a bit different to the old region 1 DVD I have of this film but the old 'making of' feature is still present and this gives possibly the best overall view into how the film was made. It's shame to have lost the isolated musical track but then again, you do get a truhd 5.1 soundtrack so...
I had noticed talk the interweb over the last few year of a possible sequel (something about a 'girl of fire' from within the planet's core posing a threat to all mankind) which seemed to have got quite far down the development path only to read earlier this year that the project had effectively been cancelled which is a real shame.
Anyway, for any fan of the film this bluray is a worthy purchase.
The story is about a Gelfling, a fantasy creature that looks like a small elf, by the name of Jen. He believes he is the last of his kind. He goes on a quest to find a shard of the Dark Crystal so he can rejoin it to the crystal and repair the world. On route he encounters a series of strange characters. Including another Gelfling called Kira. The story is written for older children, but also works for adults as it is not too childish.
All in all I recommend this to anyone interested in fantasy movies or books.
The story is way outside the box and is nothing like you will be used to these days. This is old school story telling at its best and the entire movie is done using puppets. It is strange to see how much I have actually bonded with this movie as an adult just by watching it when I was a kid. The two main characters are extremely likable and you want them to make it. the Skeksis are nasty, disgusting dark scrawny vulture type creatures that desire nothing but power.
This movie is one that you will never forget.
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