The Dark Crystal (1982)

Directed by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Gary Kurtz

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Kathryn Mullen, Dave Goelz, Bob Payne

"I am still emperor, I am...aaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhh!!"

A dazzling example of fantasy filmmaking, and further proof that Jim Henson and his Muppet Workshop team were geniuses, this movie still stands today as one of the best in its genre. Though not a CGI fueled extravaganza, an entirely creditable otherworld exists in The Dark Crystal due to the talents of a large cast of performers and artisans. The story, sets, costumes, and performances are all perfect.

The two last Gelflings in existence journey to the castle of the evil Skeksis to place the crystal shard into the dark crystal and fulfill the prophecy that a Gelfling will end Skeksis rule. "When single shines the triple sun/What was sundered and undone/Shall be whole, the two made one/By Gelfling hand or else by none."

The tale is simple, but one that is richly told and illustrated. The film bears up to repeated viewings because there are so many details in design and nuances to the performances that make the movie always enjoyable to watch. It works on many levels, and adults will love this as much as children do (though there are plot elements that will disturb some younger audiences - this is not a "Muppet Movie".)

Highly recommended.