The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition Jim Henson and Frank Oz

The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition Jim Henson and Frank Oz
There really is nothing like it. This 25th anniversary edition of Jim Henson’s finest cinematic moment not only unveils even more about the mystique but it gears us up for next year’s anticipated sequel, The Power of the Dark Crystal. Henson’s opportunity to delve into a darker side using his puppetry created a technological landmark and one of the most bizarre children’s films ever conceived. The film takes place in Thra, a land where doomsday and permanent darkness are about to hit unless a lone Gelfling named Jen can evade the nasty Skeksis and return a missing shard to the Dark Crystal. If you’ve never seen it that must sound like gibberish but it’s a difficult film to describe — it’s a magical journey with a moral you need to experience with your own eyes. Henson and crew imagined an intimate little universe filled with all sorts of madcap creatures (my favourite is rolling dog-like critter Fizzgig) but as the extras reveal, there’s so much more to the film — there’s a whole other world behind the scenes filled with technical and artistic wonderment. Sadly Oz is absent from the DVD’s extras but conceptual designer Brian Froud, who basically designed the entire planet of Thra and all of its creatures, provides an absorbing commentary, explaining how people were initially confused about the film’s story. It’s fascinating to hear about some of the brainstorming: Henson wanted crocodiles living in the palace but Froud transformed the Skeksis into more of a bird/dinosaur hybrid. Apparently shooting a nude puppet (the intro shot of Jen sitting by the pond) was "typical Jim.” Interesting. The same can be said about Froud pointing out how the fuzzy Skeksis treat was merely a wind-up toy with fur glued to it. "The World of…” is a dated, previously released featurette with on-set footage that gives insight into the film as myth. New feature "Reflections” breaks into two parts: one concerns Henson’s journey to do something completely different, while the other examines the complexities of creating the film with puppets. Froud amusingly remembers kids asking him recently, "What was that?” in regards to the film’s use of puppetry over CGI. Plus: deleted scenes. (Sony)