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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sean Kelly

Revisiting 1982 – The Dark Crystal

The Dark CrystalIt is time for the eleventh (and penultimate) entry in my year-long series in which I revisit some of the most classic films to be released 30 years ago in the year 1982 (the year of my birth).

This month I will discussing the film that is probably the most ambitious film made by Jim Henson.  That would of course be his epic The Dark Crystal.  As always, there may be SPOILERS during my discussion.

Let’s Begin

Jim Henson is probably best known as the creator of The Muppets.  At the time The Dark Crystal was made, there were already two Muppet films – 1979’s The Muppet Movie and 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.  With The Dark Crystal, Henson began to expand his puppetry to include more than just The Muppets.  Indeed, this film marked the beginning of a number of non-Muppet projects for Henson in the 1980s, including his next film Labyrinth, as well as the TV series Fraggle Rock, The Storyteller, and The Jim Henson Hour.

The Dark Crystal is notable in how every single character is a puppet, with no human characters.  Even though there are no actual humans in the film, the lead characters of Jen and Kira have a very humanoid look to them, which I am sure helps with the audience’s connection to the characters.

One thing that is very apparent about The Dark Crystal is that it is a very weird and dark film.  While it is still technically a family film, the film is probably more likely to scare young kids than Kermit or Fozzy.  In fact, I was somewhat shocked that the evil Skeksis race outright kills Kira in the film’s climax (and throws her pet Fizzgig down a pit).  Of course, both end up alive and well by the end of the film (thanks to either rescues or magic), but it is still not something that you often see in family films (especially ones involving puppets).

Jim Henson was actually discussing making a sequel to The Dark Crystal, the script of which was finally written by co-writer David Odell in 2006.  Sadly, The Power of The Dark Crystal has been lingering around in development hell and sees no some of being made anytime soon.  However, it would definitely be interesting if this type of human-less puppet-lead film were made today.

Well, that’s all I have to say about The Dark Crystal.  Next month will be my final entry in this series and I will of course be talking about the film that went on to win the 1982 Oscar for Best Picture – Richard Attenborough’s epic 3 hour+ biopic Gandhi.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).