“The Dark Crystal” is one tripped up fantasy film. Maybe it amazed people in 1982, but this film feels very campy and seems like an ideal candidate for Mystery Science Theater 3000. As I watched, I couldn’t figure out who it is intended for. It is too dark for children (seriously, the entire thing is like one long nightmare) and I can’t see teens or adults taking it seriously. I suppose that Jim Henson must have truly believed that this art form could extend beyond the realm of comedy, but that is the main thing missing from this film. The Muppets work because they provide comical dialogue and slapstick humor. If you put them on stage reading Shakespeare in a serious tone, nobody would watch. Take away the Muppets’ jokes, familiarity of their characters and add non-stop disturbing imagery, and you have this film. Not to mention that the story is entirely bizarre and the ending is so obvious that there is nothing to keep you watching. Unless, of course, you are stubborn and looking forward to writing an unflattering movie review once it is done. Henson learned a lesson with “Labyrinth” by adding catchy music and quirky characters to keep it from being too serious, but even that film doesn’t seem to appeal to its child audience. I would definitely recommend passing on “The Dark Crystal.” If you want to experience the genius of Jim Henson, stick with the Muppets and save your children from this nightmarish puppet show.
[Pictured: Creepiest. Protagonists. EVER.]