YMMV / The Dark Crystal

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The Skeksis, life draining tyrants who destroyed an entire race to preserve their lives or senile old aristocrats who are desperately trying to keep their own identity, but their other halves sent an agent to prevent this from happening.
    • They don't constantly plot the destruction of Thra, they eat (with very poor table manners) and have their own hobbies; and anyone (with a Middle Ages mindset) would try to prevent their own demise even if they weren't completely accurate on it.
    • Then again, they also make a habit of kidnapping entire villages of people, throwing them into a dungeon, and then hideously stealing their life force, leaving them little more than zombies. And the fact that they tried to prevent the prophecy by committing genocide on the Gelflings.
  • Award Snub: How in the blue blazes did the film not get a Best Original Score nom from the Academy Awards?
  • Awesome Music: The WHOLE soundtrack, especially the main theme.
  • Cult Classic: Reviewers have said that this is a visually stimulating film, but is one of Jim Henson's most underrated works.
  • Dueling Movies: With Krull.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The lesson of the Ur-Skeks seems to be that the bad parts of oneself are just as important as the good
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the heroes is named Kira?
    • According to The World of the Dark Crystal, the Mystics are also called "urRu", which sounds vaguely similar to a smiley emoticon written as "uwu".
  • Narm / Narm Charm: As technically groundbreaking the film may have been, writing and dialogue were not its strong points. It's common for many viewers (particularly those watching for the first time in the present day) to be instantly put off by the film for its incredibly clunky and awkwardly-delivered dialogue. Others, usually those who grew up with the film, view the inelegant script as part of the film's charm.
    • Drew McWeeny commented, when his and Scott Weinberg's 80s All Over podcast got around to this movie, "I've made fun of movies with better scripts than this" — but he and Scott took a third option, feeling that the film is so beautifully mounted that it rises above the failings of the script.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Many a reviewer on Netflix admits that it hasn't exactly stood the test of time. Some even regret ruining their fond memories and wish they had never re-watched it. Reversed by the hosts of 80s All Over, who like the film now more (despite its script) as adults than they did as kids.
  • Special Effects Failure: Nude Jen in the opening is the only time a character looks like a bad puppet.
    • Also the Garthim. They are meant to stand on many legs, but you can clearly see the two humans' legs in the costume doing all the work.
  • Squick: The Chamberlain near the beginning gives us a glimpse of what a Skeksis looks like completely naked. It's not pretty.
  • Tear Jerker: Kira's death. It's an in-story one too, for Jen, although the bright light of the Conjunction probably contributed as well. Turns to Tears of Joy when she is restored.
  • Uncanny Valley: Realistic puppets in general invoke this, but this movie may escalate it into Nightmare Fuel. The Gelflings are particularly just-human-enough to be eerie, as are the creepily baby-like Podlings. Many of the other creatures are similar enough to real animals, anthropomorphic or otherwise (vultures, crabs, etc.) All together, they are prone to give the viewer a slight case of the willies, at the very least.
    • The Gelflings are closer to human in appearance than any of the other puppets — and perhaps for that very reason, some viewers tend to find them the least convincing.
    • The Gelfling muppets have no capability for facial expressions, which is darn odd for the main character when considering the amount of effort put into the others.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: SkekEkt the Ornamentalist. Word of God says this is exactly what they were aiming for with all of the Skeksis.
  • Vindicated by Cable: A rather underwhelming theatrical release but it did much better in syndication and DVD — enough to warrant two Expanded Universe prequels in other media.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Admit it, the effects and world building on display here is darn impressive.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: That is, not for young kids (age 3-5). Despite Jim Henson being the director, this movie is no Sesame Street (or The Muppet Show for that matter). The story is pretty dark for a Jim Henson production and there are some scenes in it that can be considered unsuitable for young viewers, like when the Skeksis drain the Podlings (and Kira) of their vital essence.
  • Woobie: YMMV, but for the first hour of the movie the Chamberlain isn't shown doing anything evil, except for that creepy whimper of his. And twice he tries to talk peace with the heroes. It's hard not to feel a little for even a bad guy when he says he comes in peace and in return the hero stabs him. Also he was stripped of his rank and clothing, so it was easier to pity him.
    • Jen and Kira being the only known survivors of the Gelfling race.
      • The Mystics, being the good halves of the Urskeks that make up them and the Skeksis, have seen several of their fellows die suddenly without much reason and likely knowing what the Skeksis are planning, but are too peaceful (and apathetic) to do anything.
      • The Skeksis. Unlike the urRu, they were absolutely delighted with the separation from the Urskeks, and have no desire to merge with their other halves. They're self-serving, hedonistic, outright murderous creatures, but they're also locked in a desperate struggle to simply carry on existing.
      • In the case of the urRu, it was And I Must Scream. Being the passive side of the Urskeks, they lived in half-memory, almost like Alzheimer's disease, unable to act until instinct told them to go. They were miserable as well, but unable to properly express it.
      • Aughra is very much the spiritual guardian of Thra. She is forced to watch her world be ravaged, polluted and violated for a thousand years.
      • In fact, every single character is a woobie to some degree.


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