Title: The Dark Crystal
Country: USA, UK
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Music: Trevor Jones
Puppetry master Jim Henson’s sui generis puppet movie of a Sci-Fi conquest in a remote planet, spellbindingly grotesque and darkly cultish. The bizarre figures of the creatures can be fairly startling as a family treat to meet children’s eyes, as an adult, watching this 32-year-old film for the first time is a true eye-opener.
In an otherworldly planet Thra, a magic crystal is cracked and the order is sabotaged, hence Thra is ruled by the sinister Skekses, a vulture-like species controls the dark crystal and their benevolent half is the tortoise-shaped wizards called Mystics, when the Skeksis emperor dies, the equivalent senior Mystic master vanishes in the thin air simultaneously, presently there are 9 Skekses and 9 Mystics left.
There is a also the prophecy, a Gelfing (a species looks like a minuscule elf) will end the reign of Skekses before the time when 3 suns meet (aka. the conjunction) by acquiring the crystal shard, otherwise Skekses will acquire immortality. Jen, is a young Gelfing raised by the Mystic master, believed he is the only Gelfing left, he is on a predestined conquest to retrieve the shard from Aughra, a one-eyed female seer of an unidentified species and reinstate the order before the conjunction. En route to the Skekses’ castle, he meets a female Gelfing Kira and her pet dog Fizzgig, in tandem they fearlessly fights their way through the siege from Garthim, Skekeses’ crab-like minions. In parallel, the nine Mystics are edging to the castle as well to partake in an in-time emergence, coalescing with Skekses and putting an end to the dualistic instability.
The film is a marvel of its time, which cannot be imitated, although it is a banal adventure with predictable and toe-curling plot twist, nevertheless, it is the pure artistry that we do admire and revel in (thinking of the dining sequence of Skekses, , Jim Henson and co-director Frank Oz create the fantastical kingdom based on illustrator Brian Froud’s concept, an offbeat exploration into the invention of the weirdest creatures in puppetry, and it works on an intricate level of scale which is a hallmark of its own genre, although puppetry movie is an ebbing breed in the cutting-edge digital era, no one would ever try to cook up such an elaborate piece of craftsmanship anymore.