1983, 94 Minutes, Directed by: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

Recalling the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, Jim Henson tells the story of a race of grotesque birdlike lizards called the Skeksis, gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. A prophecy tells of a Gelfling (a small elfin being) who will topple their empire, so in their reign of terror they have exterminated the race, or so they think. The orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal (which gives the Skeksis their power) and restore the balance of the universe.

Straight-forward fantasy story with some well-done puppets and special effects by the Muppet Man, Jim Henson. The story involves a quest (where would fantasy tales be without them?) and some unbearably cute creatures - there's little humor, particularly the kind that made The Muppets so memorable.

Come to think of it, there's little spark as well . . .

If you like fantasy, or if you're at a loose end what to do with the kids for an afternoon - pop The Dark Crystal into your VCR. Otherwise stay clear.


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