The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American–British fantasy adventure film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and stars the voices of Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw, and Percy Edwards. The plot revolves around Jen, an elf-like ‘Gelfling’ on a quest to restore balance to his alien world by returning a lost shard to a powerful but broken gem. Although marketed as a family film, it was notably darker than the creators’ previous material. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking. The primary concept artist was the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive faerie and dwarf designs. Froud also collaborated with Henson and Oz for their next project, the 1986 film Labyrinth, which was notably more light-hearted than The Dark Crystal.
The film received a mixed response upon its original release, but has earned a better reception in later years, becoming a favorite with fans of Henson and fantasy. It currently holds a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Kevin Thomas gave it a positive assessment in the Los Angeles Times: “Unlike many screen fantasies, The Dark Crystal casts its spell from its very first frames and proceeds so briskly that it’s over before you realize it. You’re left with the feeling that you have just awakened from a dream.”
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