Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal is something you will never see these days; a fantasy film with all of the characters played by puppets. Every kid knows Jim Henson and Frank Oz from the Muppets, but they did some pretty radically different stuff like this. It's pretty strange, with an odd tone that lasts through the whole thing, but I came off enjoying it. It took me some time to really grasp what was happening, maybe because I might have missed part of the opening narration. There's a group of ten elders and another of ten evil looking things, and each elder is directly connected to one of the evil guys in some way. The evil guys want to use the dark crystal to gain immortality or something, but the hero, a small guy who's obviously body doubled by a real child whenever he needs to move rapidly, can stop this by returning a missing shard of the crystal to its source. Anyway, he goes on a journey to do just that and sees some strange things.

It's kind of hard to describe what makes the movie enjoyable. It's fairly slowly paced despite the short running time and it's a bit hard to care about what happens to puppets. But it was pretty funny at times, especially the bickering and infighting among the bad guys. The noises they make, the awkward feats of strength. There are some pretty visually interesting moments, lots of unique creatures and architecture. The two main characters are likable enough, and there's really nothing in the movie that would bother anyone too much. Definitely see it if you're in the mood for something a bit more genuine than the latest CGI-fest.

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