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YMMV / The Dark Crystal

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  • 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.
    • It's possible to see Jen as a Decoy Protagonist, with Kira as the real chosen one and hero of the story, given how little Jen actually does to advance the plot by himself and how Kira is almost always the one who saves them and even sacrifices herself when Jen cocks up the shard-inserting job at the end.
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  • Award Snub: How in the blue blazes did the film not get a Best Original Score nomination from the Academy Awards?
  • Awesome Music: The WHOLE soundtrack, especially the main theme.
  • Cult Classic: The film was a modest grosser at the box office and is considered as one of Jim Henson's most underrated works. It has developed a steady cult following since its release, so much so that a prequel series was eventually made.
  • 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".
  • Most Annoying Sound: The Skeksis Chamberlain's Verbal Tic, "Hmmmmmm!". Lampshaded by the General, who is quick to say "I hate your whimper!" to him.
  • Narm Charm:
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    • 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.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Jen and Kira are awfully bland as far as protagonists go and are arguably the two least visually interesting puppets. Contrast the menacing, unique, and colorful Skeksis (who many argue are actually less creepy than the Gelflings), and this trope is something of a no-brainer.
  • Special Effects Failure:
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    • Nude Jen in the opening is the only time a character looks like a bad puppet.
    • Ditto for Kira using the sling to take out the Crystal bat.
    • 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.
  • 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 also have no capability for facial expressions, which is odd for the main character when considering the amount of effort put into the others.
  • The Un-Twist: The Chamberlain seems all set to make a Heel–Face Turn after his banishment, but then just... doesn't.
  • 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 for Kids"?: Probably not for really little kids, though. Even though Jim Henson and Frank Oz directed this movie, it's no Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. The story is pretty dark for a Jim Henson production, with some scenes that can be considered unsuitable for young viewers, like when the Skeksis drain the Podlings (and Kira) of their vital essence.
  • The Woobie:
    • 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's 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.

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