To say that I’ve seen The Dark Crystal a few times would be an understatement. I’m more or less using this as a way to express just how much I love this movie. And the timing is perfect for this, Netflix announced a prequel series coming soon and I couldn’t be more hyped for it. In the mean time, I feel as though the world should know about this under-appreciated gem (or just anyone bored enough to read this, which you guys are the world to me).
Before Jim Henson gave us the The Goblin King and the world of Labyrinth, there was Jen. Thought to be the last of his kind, the Gelflings, he is told by his noble guardians, The Mystics, that he is the only one that can save the world from the evil Skesis and restore the power of The Dark Crystal. He sets out on an epic journey to thwart the evil in the world and he will need the help of everyone, including the most unlikely of allies.
Does that sound insane? That’s because all of it is, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Every scene bleeds with the passion Henson had for this project. He always wanted to make a dark movie using his puppetry. There is no movie quite like it, even its spiritual successor. There many times where everything you see on screen is a puppet, from the largest animals to even the plants. Each creature is unique to the next, and behind each one is talent hand picked by Henson to make his dream a reality.
Love isn’t blind though, there are quite a few problems right away. I love Jen as a character, he is the essential hero type who stumbles on his journey to save the world but pushes forward. In making his design, I can only imagine Henson wanted to give him human characteristics so that he could be more relatable to audiences. In doing so he made Jen just…too human-like, but just enough so that you have to question if he is more human or elfish. Yes, he is a Gelfling, thus who are we to judge, but at times you are just distracted by how he looks then focusing on the journey at hand. If Jen doesn’t disturb you, then the Skeksis will. They are grotesque and are evil personified, with one in particular that makes a loud hum that will follow you long into the night. Yes, all of these choices were intentional but can deter a normal movie goer from wanting to finish what is a unique experience.
If none of that bothers you, then you are in for a movie marvel. I can’t get enough of the lore, the characters, the journey. With a new series arriving on August 30th, there really is no better time to find this incredible piece of art. So the question now is, can you save the world from the power of The Dark Crystal?