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The Dark Crystal (1982)

aka The Dark Crystal

"Another World, Another Time... In the Age of Wonder."

Directed By:  ,
Written By: 
Details: 93 mins · English · PG (USA)


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A dark story with loving attention to detail.

Seeing The Dark Crystal on the big screen in 70mm as part of a 70mm festival was a real treat. The format provides great depth and texture to the impeccably detailed art direction and puppetry performed by Jim Henson and his team. You often find yourself in awe of Henson’s loving attention to detail, in a way that’s almost distracting from the narrative. All of the film’s creatures are uniquely designed and its villains are creepy in the kind of way that even give adults nightmares. Its story is also sufficiently, well, dark, with a plot about evil lizard-like creatures who want to suck the life out of everything around them. For such a short movie however, The Dark Crystal feels incredibly long and slow in ways I hadn’t remembered from previous viewings. Its pacing becomes an unfortunate detriment to an otherwise engrossing story about good versus evil in an epic battle to bring balance and peace in a war torn land.

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I had this recommended very highly to me, and as I love Jim Henson's Labyrinth I was keen to give it a chance. Unfortunately it fell very, very short of my expectations. The plot was basically non-existent, and it seemed like it was more meant as an opportunity to show off what you can do with puppets than a movie in its own right. I saw the first episode of the new series as well, and it was slightly better, but still didn't grab my fancy enough that I'm going to continue with it.

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At my house you don't just watch dark crystal you have to watch labyrinth as well, the first time I watched this movie I honestly didn't think it was very good,I've discovered you have to watch it when your older to realize how great this movie is in its own way.

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Small Jen
No_movie_poster Kira
Small Aughra, A Keeper Of Secrets / Chamberlain
Small Fizzgig, A Friendly Monster
Small Scientist
No_movie_poster Ornamentalist
No_movie_poster Jen (voice)
No_movie_poster Kira (voice)
Small Aughra (voice)
No_movie_poster Fizzgig (voice)
No_movie_poster Chamberlain / Podling (voice)
No_movie_poster General (voice)
No_movie_poster High Priest / Dying Emperor (voice)
No_movie_poster Gourmand (voice)
No_movie_poster Historian (voice)
No_movie_poster Slave Master (voice)
No_movie_poster Treasurer (voice)
No_movie_poster Urzah (voice)
No_movie_poster Podling (voice)
No_movie_poster Podling (voice)
No_movie_poster Narrator / Urskeks (voice)
Small Aughra
Small Fizzgig
No_movie_poster Kira, A Gelflin


No_movie_poster Ralph Kemplen Editor
No_movie_poster Trevor Jones Original Music Composer
Small Frank Oz Director
No_movie_poster Oswald Morris Director of Photography
Small Gary Kurtz Producer
Small Jim Henson Director
No_movie_poster David Odell Screenplay
No_movie_poster David Lazer Executive Producer
Small Jim Henson Production
Small Jim Henson Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Ralph Kemplen Editing


"Another World, Another Time... In the Age of Wonder."


A thousand years ago on "another world", a magical crystal cracked, and two new races appeared: the tyrannical, reptilian Skeksis, who use the power of the "Dark Crystal" to continually replenish themselves, and hunchbacked natural wizards called Mystics.

Jen, an elf-like Gelfling taken in by the Mystics after his clan was killed, is told by his Mystic master that he must find the crystal shard, and that it can be found in the home of Aughra. If he fails to do so before the three suns meet, the Skeksis will rule forever. The Skeksis' emperor and Jen's master die simultaneously. A duel ensues between the Skeksis Chamberlain and General, who both desire the throne. The General becomes emperor and the Chamberlain is exiled. Learning of Jen's existence, the Skeksis send large crab-like creatures called Garthim to track him.

Jen reaches Aughra and is taken to her home, which contains an enormous orrery she uses to predict the motions of the heavens. Jen discovers the crystal shard by playing music on his flute to which it resonates. Jen is told of the upcoming Great Conjunction when the three suns will align, but he learns little of its connection to the shard. The Garthim destroy Aughra's home and take her prisoner as Jen flees. Hearing the calls of the crystal, the Mystics leave their valley to travel to the Skeksis' castle. Jen meets Kira, another surviving Gelfling who can communicate with animals, and her pet Fizzgig. They discover that they have a telepathic connection, which Kira calls "dreamfasting". They stay for a night with the Podlings who raised Kira after the death of her parents. However, the Garthim attack the village and Kira, Jen, and Fizzgig flee when the Chamberlain prevents one of the Garthim from attacking them. Most of the Podlings are enslaved.

Jen and Kira discover a ruined Gelfling city. Finding a relief with prophetic writing, Jen discovers that the shard, a part of the Dark Crystal, must be reinserted to restore the Crystal's integrity. The Chamberlain tells Jen and Kira that he wishes to bring them to the Skeksis to make peace, but they refuse. Riding on Landstriders, the Gelflings arrive at the Castle of the Crystal, where they see the Garthim that attacked Kira's village. Kira and Jen unsuccessfully attempt to free the captured Podlings. Kira, Jen and Fizzgig infiltrate the lower parts of the Castle. The Chamberlain confronts them again and tries to convince them to make peace; however, the Chamberlain wounds Jen and takes Kira to the Castle. The General restores the Chamberlain to his former position. On the suggestion of the Skeksis' resident scientist, the General decides to regain his youth by draining Kira's life essence, recalling that its potency allows a Skeksis emperor to maintain his youth for longer periods than that of the Podlings on whom they have been forced to rely since the Gelfling genocide. Kira maintains a telepathic connection with Jen, who tells her to call out to the animals imprisoned in the laboratory. They break free from their cages and the Skeksis scientist falls to his death, upon which his Mystic counterpart simultaneously vanishes.

The three suns begin to align as the two Gelflings reconvene in the Crystal chamber. The Skeksis arrive to prepare for the immortality that they will gain from the Conjunction if the Crystal is not restored. Jen is discovered and drops the shard, but Kira throws it back to him and is stabbed to death by the Skeksis' high priest. Jen inserts the shard into the Crystal, unifying it as the Mystics enter the chamber. As Aughra, Jen and Fizzgig watch, the Mystics and Skeksis merge into tall glowing beings, one of whom says "we are again one", speaks to Jen of their history, and revives Kira. After leaving the Crystal for the two Gelflings to "make [their] world in its light," the beings depart, and the land is shown rejuvenated and the Castle transformed into a palace of crystal.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1982-12-17 : United States of America

DVD : 1999-10-05