Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Dark Crystal, The

US puppet movie (1982). Universal/ITC. Pr Jim Henson, Gary Kurtz. Exec pr David Lazer. Dir Henson, Frank Oz. Spfx Roy Field, Brian Smithies. Miniature fx Brian Smithies. Screenplay David Odell. Novelizations The Dark Crystal * (1982) by A C H Smith and The Tale of the Dark Crystal * (1982) by Donna Bass. Voice actors Barry Dennen (Chamberlain), Percy Edwards (Fizzgig), Stephen Garlick (Jen), Michael Kilgarriff (General), Lisa Maxwell (Kira), Brian Muehl (Dying Master), Jerry Nelson (High Priest, Dying Emperor), Joseph O'Conor (Narrator), Billie Whitelaw (Aughra). Extra credit "Special Thanks to Dennis Lee and Alan Garner." 94 mins. Colour.

For 1000 years the cruel Skeksis have ruled the world. Now there are only ten left – soon to be nine, for their Emperor is dying. Far off in the forest the benign and shambling Mystics are likewise waiting for their Master to die. As he does so he charges the (seemingly) last of the Gelfling race, Jen, with finding and returning to its place a lost shard of the once-shattered Dark Crystal; otherwise, according to Prophecy, the Skeksis will rule forever. Aided by the girl-Gelfling Kira, Jen at last succeeds in his Quest. The surviving Mystics and Skeksis fuse, one-to-one, and become transcendent creatures; reunited, they leave the world and the Dark Crystal – now the Crystal of Truth – to Jen, Kira and their descendants.

TDC, though not an unalloyed triumph, is in its unabashed (though often derivative) mythopoeia – along with Dragonslayer (1981) – among the most successful attempts to bring High Fantasy to the screen. [JG]

further reading: The World of the Dark Crystal * (1982) by Brian Froud, J J Llewellyn and Rupert Brown; The Making of The Dark Crystal (1983 chap) by Christopher Finch.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.