This movie, when I told my friends I was going to see it and review it, replied with the same response:
“That movie messed me up as a kid.”
Even when I got to the theater, Faye Guerra of Psycho Cinema introduced the movie by telling us this had f*&%$# her up as a kid. So I was very curious to see this film.
The Dark Crystal, by Jim Henson and David Odell, is a true science fiction story. It has a wonderful story, that makes the viewer start to imagine what life would be like in such a world as Thra. The Dark Crystal is magical, that nearly 1,000 years ago cracked somehow. Two main races appeared after that event: the evil, power hungry Skeksis, and the peace-loving, gentle and good Mystics.
The story has the classic theme of good versus evil. Jim Henson and Frank Oz did a fantastic job of showing the evilness taking over the world. Most everything is ugly and twisted in Thra, except the valley and where the Podlings live. Our reluctant hero, Jen, believes he is the last of the Gelfings. Like Frodo of the Hobbits, he is the only one who can find the shard from the broken crystal and make the magical Dark Crystal whole again. Once he does that the world will be correctly balanced, and the evilness of the Skeksis will be gone, restoring Thra.
As I watched this, many thoughts entered my mind. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see this when it came out in 1982! I was 9 years old, and I loved the Muppets. I also loved science fiction. I had been a fan of Doctor Who and Star Trek and Star Wars since I was 4 years old. I enjoyed the story of the Dark Crystal too. It was like if I had come up with the story! It has elements that reminded me of so many things. Aughra reminded me of William Hartnell as the original Doctor Who. The ruins of the Gelflings brought to mind the ruins I had seen of the Roman Empire; their writings like the hieroglyphics of Egypt. The battle of good and evil is often told in sci-fy stories.
What I really loved was the way in which Henson made the Skeksis so evil. These wizards are buzzard-like in appearance, and twisted and grotesque. They are truly disgusting in appearance and in deeds. They killed all the Gelflings. They turn the Podlings into slaves like in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They want to maintain their youth by draining life essences from Podlings and anyone else they can capture with their huge, oversized, horseshoe crab looking soldiers. I would say don’t eat a meal while watching this movie if you’re squeamish – they are disgusting when they eat. What really impressed me was the use of mediaeval practices to show the effect of the evilness. The Skeksis eat like a lords in a mediaeval castle, with the head table and the fire pit and eating with their “hands”. The happy, innocent Podlings enjoy life with mediaeval feasting and music.
Jen is helped by many friends he meets on his journey: Kira turns out to be another Gelfling, Augrha, the Podlings, even Fizzgig. I enjoyed this movie thoroughly! I think if I saw this as a 9 year old, I would still have loved this movie. I don’t know why my friends said this movie messed them up. It is creepy at times, and only Jen, Kira, and Fizzgig are cute. The Podlings are cute too. The story is timeless, and so if you enjoy history, sci-fy, and a good epic story you will like this.