Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Film Review: The Dark Crystal

The sixth film from the ‘Worlds Apart’ film programme was The Dark Crystal, which was directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The film was released in 1982.

Upon The Dark Crystal's launch, the film received generally negative reviews form critics, mostly due to the fact that the film had a dark nature which wasn't as appealing to children and parents. But this film has slowly become a more accepted piece of art filming since then as Brian Orndorf sates in his review for DVDtalk; 

"Crystal" is a miraculous rush of innovation and storytelling patience, and, in the last 25 years, the feature has grown from a 1982 misfire to a cult wonder to a bona-fide classic that's timeless in stature and masterful in execution."

Truly this has become a classic, directed and orchestrated by master puppeteer Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets. A film like this had never before, and not since, been attempted which makes it unique in that sense, but Henson's overwhelming creations really stand out and make this film an overall one-of-a-kind artistic masterpiece.

And Henson and Oz do such a fantastic job with their puppeteering which is something a review by  Time Out Film Guide says;

"Henson, creator of the Muppets, has put all his energies into creating a spectacular range of live-action creatures who prance and gobble their way across the screen with an unprecedented conviction." 

Because of the almost immaculate coordination and planning from both directors (albeit the very rare voice over glitches as such) and in conjunction with the the amazing portrayal of a fantasy world full of magic and mysteries it is easy for one to lose themselves in the Henson-Oz world. The actions of the puppets from afar seem so fluid and effortless sometimes that they could almost be mistaken for something real - they make for a convincing portrayal. And that is what makes this film so good in the fact that you can almost see the realism shining through the fantasy to make a realistic-fantasy mix. 

The only let down to this wonderful film that could be picked upon is the plot. It is very cliche as Ryan Cracknell picks up on in his review for Film Threat;

"It’s a story as old as time redone in books and films over and over again."

Cliches are not a bad thing if they work well and are used in moderation, but the plot goes full swing with a story that recurs so often that it can make the film a bit of a drag and really quite annoying. It spoils the effort that Henson and Oz put into the films creation which is a shame because everything is well crafted and executed.

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