reviews

review: The Dark Crystal

Lovely world and creatures, boring boring booooring generic chosen-one-must-save-the-world-there's-been-a-prophecy-and-no-one-ever-bothered-to-tell-you-before story. Complete with Mary Sue who can talk to animals and has unexpected wings and knows more than the "hero", a mentor who dies before telling the "hero" anything very useful, and random telepathy. The bad guys are (marginally) more interesting than the good guys, because at least they've got a bit of a power struggle going on. But even they are mostly irritating. As are the voice-overs and the hero's habit of talking to himself/thinking audibly.

And I feel terrible for saying all this about a Jim Henson movie, because I love him and his stuff, but it's true.

Technically, it's a masterpiece of puppetry. But as an example of story-telling, it's rubbish.
I just ignore the story and focus on the world, the creatures and Fizgig, because he's so dang cute :D. Plus you've got to remember that this was a fantasy movie made during a time when fantasy movies, including ones with the "chosen one" story line, were pretty rare (the only other fantasy movies of note that comes to mind is The Never-Ending Story and the Lord of the Rings cartoons. Star Wars could be counted, I guess, since it has a small touch of fantasy to it). So the concept probably wasn't quite the annoying cliche then as it is today. In fact, to some, it was probably a fresh idea.

But I will admit that even though I was only five at the time, I was still annoyed by the girl having wings, a rapport with animals and a lot of know-it-allism. I'd felt, then and now, that when she came on the scene the movie might as well have been about her.

I still love the movie, though. It was a major influence on my love of world-building. The story, like I said, I mostly ignored ;)
As you say, the world-building is pretty awesome, which is the only reason I watched it at all. It just makes me sad that the story doesn't live up to its setting. (But then, I suffer majorly from fixit-itis: I actually started making a list of ways to make the story actually work---and then I remembered how many projects I have already sitting around and told myself to stop being obsessive.)
Ditto, on all counts. It's the sort of movie you watch with friends in order to make silly commentary the entire time, because you don't have to actually listen to any of the dialogue (and in some cases, you just don't want to) in order to get what's going on. It's fun to try and figure out how they did the puppets, though. There are some scenes that I still can't quite figure out. :D
The copy I got had a pretty neat 1 hour documentary on the making-of, which I found a whole lot more interesting than the actual movie.
hahahaha, yeah, I saw the movie around the time it came out, when I was quite young, and even *then* I thought the story was boring and the characters were bland (as evidenced by the fact that I remember nothing specific about either story OR characters now, despite having seen the movie several times over the course of my childhood).
The thing is, there really isn't anything much specific about it---at least nothing worth remembering. (Random energy-draining of prisoners, what? Hero's species is better and stronger than other species, what?) And the characters are pretty much your cookie-cutter look-i'm-naive-and-kinda-dumb-but-i'm-going-to-save-everyone! hero and lookit-i-can-talk-to-animals-and-fly-and-have-inexplicable-telepathy-sometimes! heroine, with a side order of i'm-eeeeevil-just-because bad guys and i'm-good-but-can't-do-anything-useful good guy mentors for the hero (which is probably why he's so clueless the whole time).

Er, sorry. That was probably more of a response than you expected or wanted.

Edited at 2009-07-22 11:34 am (UTC)
Well, I remember enjoying it when much younger. But I've spent a lot of time reading/talking/thinking about stories and how to tell them so that people will want to hear/see/read them, and ...

It's a very pretty movie! The creatures are cool!