The Dark Crystal [Blu-Ray]

Frank Oz & Jim Henson

BY Brendan WillisPublished Oct 1, 2009

Twenty-seven years after its original theatrical release, The Dark Crystal still remains one of the most intricately detailed fantasy worlds ever committed to film. Created before CGI effects could bring a filmmaker's imagination to life, The Dark Crystal relied on the skills of Jim Henson and his master puppeteers to create the magical land of Thra. And now with this remastered Blu-Ray transfer, audiences can clearly see the eerie detail of Henson's work in hi-definition for the first time. The basic premise of the Dark Crystal is a formulaic fantasy tale involving a prophecy that foretells the destruction of the evil Skeksis Empire by a young Gelfling, which of course causes the Skekis to wipe out the Gelfling race. An orphaned Gelfling boy is raised by a wise and benevolent race known as the Mystics, who teach him the ways of good. The Gelfling follows his prophesied destiny and adventures across Thra, meeting a host of strange and wonderful characters on his journey to save the world. It's the magic of a simple story told incredibly well that makes The Dark Crystal an enduring classic that will continue to appeal to children for years to come. The Blu-Ray adds a few special features that weren't on the 25th anniversary DVD released a few years ago, including "The Book of Thra," which allows viewers to press buttons on their remote during certain scenes of the movie in order to unlock features. "ShekTek's Crystal Challenge" has the viewer answering questions while the film plays, with wrong answers draining the life-force from an on-screen health meter. There are also a picture-in-picture storyboard comparison track and a feature that explains Henson's original idea of having the Skeksis speak in an un-subtitled, fictional language ― test audiences were right to criticize this interesting but flawed idea. Commentary by designer Brian Foud and the two documentary features from the previous Dark Crystal discs are also included for good measure. For fans of the Dark Crystal, or of modern, dark fairytales like Coraline and 9 too young to have seen The Dark Crystal, this is a highly recommended purchase.

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