This is one of those cult items that I’ve never “gotten,” and trying it again for this review didn’t change that. I think this is one of those Generation X things that requires the viewer to have grown up on Sesame Street (or worse, Fraggle Rock) to appreciate. For someone whose only childhood exposure to the Muppets was Rowlf the dog on the old (pre-sausage) Jimmy Dean Show, this ersatz Tolkien with puppets looks and plays like ersatz Tolkien with puppets.
The whole story line about Jen (voiced by Jim Henson) off on a quest to find the missing shard of a crystal — the absence of which is causing a blight on the land — is sort of Tolkien by way of the Arthurian legends. There’s a certain creepy atmosphere to the proceedings, but getting past the fact that it’s a puppet show that’s rather flatly directed and staged is another matter.
However, there’s definitely an audience for this movie (you know who you are) that will be glad of the chance to see it. Rated PG.
— reviewed by Ken Hanke
[Walk-in Theatre presents The Dark Crystal at dusk on Friday, Oct. 14, in the parking lot behind the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville. The film is sponsored by Orbit DVD and the merchants of the Bledsoe Building. Admission is free — and once again, please leave pets and alcohol at home.]