Saturday, 22 June 2013

Film Review: The Dark Crystal

Back when we watched the Star Wars films a couple of months back I mentioned to Mr Click that we really needed to get Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal and so a couple of weeks later he surprised me with both films on blu-ray. The Dark Crystal is a Jim Henson film from 1982 and it's one that I have vivid memories of growing up watching. It was made four years before I was born and it was a firm favourite from an early age.

It's a fantasy film which features several different races; the Skeksis and Mystics are kind of parallels of each other, evil and good, who were once one race which split when the Dark Crystal was damaged. The Skeksis bring about the almost complete obliteration of the Gelfling race (which is a sort of almost-human in appearance) with the exception of Jen, who is found and raised by the Mystics, and Kira, who is found and raised by Podlings (who are sort of little potato people). Together they have to journey to restore the Crystal to bring harmony back to their world.

It's notable for being one of the first films to be a live action film without any human actors visible on screen. The blu-ray has some really interesting documentaries about the making of it and the processes it went through that shaped it into the film it became. It's not a Muppet film at all, though there are some characters in it who look similar to characters from Labyrinth. There are a variety a characters ranging from little Fizzgig (who is about 90% mouth) right up to these big rabbit creatures on stilts.

I'm not sure exactly what it was that drew me to it as a child. I've always had a healthy love for all things fantasy so I suppose that probably played a part. I remember loving Fizzgig and we named our cat Kyra after Kira, the female Gelfling.

It still has the power to scare me. One of the baddies in the film, working for the Skeksis, are a sort of giant bug with a bunch of tentacle-y legs and even now they send a shiver down my spine. I remember it being one of those films that I wanted to hide through bits of it. I'm sure it gave me more than a few nightmares, but I was a bit of a morbid child and I kind of enjoyed that.

So many films that you love as a child lose some of their magic when you rewatch them as an adult. I watched it for the first time with Mr Click several years ago and I don't think he enjoyed it so much then, but since buying it and watching it together recently we've gone back to watch it a second time too, so I think he's feeling whatever I felt all those years ago.

Considering its age, the 'special effects', such as they are, are pretty special and I think it has aged well. I'm glad that we've got it in our collection because I know that it's one I'm going to watch over and over again. I can't wait to introduce my children to it and I've only just scraped the surface of the special features. I'm looking forward to playing the quiz game that you can play on the blu-ray as you're watching the film, it looks like good fun.

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