The Dark Crystal (1982) & Labyrinth (1986)~ Jim Henson ~ Movie ~ New DVD
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The Dark Crystal (1982)
The Dark Crystal is a 1982 dark fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It stars the voices of Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw, Percy Edwards, and Barry Dennen. The film was produced by ITC Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company and distributed by Universal Pictures. The plot revolves around Jen, a Gelfling on a quest to restore balance to the world of Thra and overthrow the ruling Skeksis by restoring a powerful broken Crystal.
It was marketed as a family film, but was notably darker than the creators' previous material. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking for its time, with most creatures, like the Gelflings, requiring around four puppeteers to achieve full manipulation. The primary concept artist was fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive fairy and dwarf designs. Froud also collaborated with Henson for his next project, the 1986 film Labyrinth.
The Dark Crystal was produced by Gary Kurtz, while the screenplay was written by David Odell, with whom Henson previously worked as a staff writer for The Muppet Show. The film score was composed by Trevor Jones. The film initially received mixed reviews from mainstream critics; while being criticized for its darker, more dramatic tone in contrast to Henson's previous works, it was praised for its narrative, aesthetic, and characters. Over the years, it has been re-evaluated by critics and has garnered a cult following.
Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, with George Lucas as executive producer, based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. It revolves around 16-year-old Sarah's (Jennifer Connelly) quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant half-brother Toby, whom Sarah accidentally wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie). Most of the film's main characters, apart from Bowie and Connelly, are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
The film started as a collaboration between Henson and Froud following their previous collaboration The Dark Crystal (1982). Terry Jones of Monty Python wrote the first draft of the film's script early in 1984, drawing on Froud's sketches for inspiration. Various other scriptwriters rewrote it and added to it, including Laura Phillips, Lucas, Dennis Lee, and Elaine May—although Jones received the film's sole screenwriting credit. It was shot from April to September 1985 on location in Upper Nyack, Piermont, and Haverstraw, New York, and at Elstree Studios and West Wycombe Park in the United Kingdom.