Monday, January 28, 2013
Movie Review: The Dark Crystal
When the crystal that keeps a world in balance is cracked and a shard of it is lost, an evil race takes over. A prophecy says that if a hero from a certain other race can find the lost shard and return it to the crystal, the wicked rulers will be overthrown, but if the lost shard is not returned to the crystal by a certain time, the evil race will rule the world forever. Afraid of the prophecy, the evil rulers set out to kill all of the race that the hero is destined to come from, but one boy from the persecuted race is saved and raised by peaceful mystics. When the boy is older, he sets out on a quest to find the crystal shard, encountering many strange creatures and sights, facing great danger, being hunted by the evil race, and finding an unexpected ally to help him on his quest.
The Dark Crystal is a masterpiece of fantasy filmmaking, using puppetry and elaborate sets instead of animation to create a unique and visually captivating world. A scene in a fantastical swamp is so memorable that it would make this film worth seeing for fantasy fans even if the rest of the movie was dull, but fortunately the whole film is well-done. The story is a lot like a fairy tale, so the world and races and characters are based on essence rather than great depth, but are more than vivid enough to be effective. The creatures in this film, from the cute dog-like Fizzgig to the majestic landstriders, are fascinating to see. The mystical stuff that goes on can sometimes not really make sense, but since it’s fantasy, and since the rest of the film is so brilliant, it’s just a minor flaw.
This film has “dark” in the title, and it can indeed get dark. The emperor of an evil race dies a creepy death and then crumbles into dust. A character can take out her eye and hold it in her hand or set it places. Monsters go on the rampage and kill or enslave innocent people and creatures. An evil race uses dark magic to suck the essence out of slaves and make them zombie-like, and the emperor of the race drinks the essence to try to stay youthful. A gelfling girl is cruelly stabbed. There are a lot of scenes that could be scary to some viewers. Other content is minimal. After escaping from monsters, two friends of the opposite gender innocently sleep next to each other all night. A female character wears immodest clothing. The high level of mystical content may bother some people. If the dark tone, intensity, and violence aren’t too much for you, this is a classic fantasy film that you are likely to enjoy.