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DARK CRYSTAL, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
After the mysterious Dark Crystal is damaged by an Urskek 1000 years in the past, an age of chaos begins as the evil bird/lizard Skeksis rule the planet. The peace loving Mystics have raised an orphan Gelfling, Jen (Jim Henson, voice of Stephen Garlick), who embarks on a mission to find the missing shard in time for the momentous conjunction of the three suns - if he can only find the mysterious Aughra (Frank Oz, voice of Billie Whitelaw) and work out what the prophesy means for him to do. He meets another Gelfling survivor, Kira (voice of Lisa Maxwell) who joins him on his quest; but if they don't succeed, the grotesque Skeksis will rule forever.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The Dark Crystal was a family favourite on its original release; it's still a wonderfully invented world full of characters that transcend their puppet limitations thanks to the energy and creativity of the Jim Hansen and Frank Oz team of puppeteers and voice actors. Brian Froud's conceptual design is another major contributor to the fantasy that oozes from the production.

Some of the standout scenes include the attack on Aughra's magnificent eagles nest housing an eternally moving contraption representing planets in a fantasy universe; and the debauched banquet scene where the Skeksis chomp, devour, gobble and slurp in a hideous chorus of gluttony.

The quest undertaken by Jen to return the shard to its home in the Dark Crystal (unavoidably comparable to the quest in which a hobbit has to return a ring with mystical powers to the fires of Mount Doom), is the old quest of good versus evil. And the film contains mystical and spiritual elements with messages about nobility and courage ... but all of it wrapped up in a wonderful adventure made the more fantastic by being neither animation nor live human action ... but live puppet action.

And let's not forget the wonderful critters who pop up - from the marsh, from a tree trunk or from the undergrowth, crazily humorous creatures whose bright eyes glow with inner life even if their shaggy or shiny outer surface seem alien. (Kids will wet themselves laughing when Kira's fluffy pet, Fizzgig, throws a tantrum.) The nastiest, of course, are the Skeksis, beaked like oversized, deformed vultures, with a shrill voice and no doubt foul breath.

Published: May 29, 2008



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

DARK CRYSTAL, THE: DVD (G)
(US/UK, 1982)

VOICES: (puppet performers) Jim Henson, Kathryn Muller, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne, Mike Quinn, Tim Rose, Billie Whitelaw

NARRATION: Joseph O'Conor

PRODUCER: Jim Henson, Gary Kurtz

DIRECTOR: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

SCRIPT: David Odell (story by Jim Henson)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oswald Morris

EDITOR: Ralph Kemplen

MUSIC: Trevor Jones

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Harry Lange

OTHER: Conceptual designer Brian Froud

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by conceptual designer Brian Froud; new behind the scenes documentary; original making of featurette;

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

DVD RELEASE: May 28, 2008







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