The Dark Crystal

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The Dark Crystal Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
A fantastic but more intense Muppet adventure.
  • PG
  • 1982
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 26 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Encourages children to pursue their dreams despite obstacles. Themes include courage and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kira is a strong female character. Jen is a selfless hero.


Fighting and occasional killing, mainly among bony nonhumans; gelflings are threatened repeatedly with death and/or zombification. Monster attacks and menace in abundance. The evil skeksis strap down benign "pod people" and turn them into zombie slaves.


An innocent romance develops between Jen and Kira.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Dark Crystal, although a Jim Henson puppet creature feature, is no Muppet Movie. Instead, it takes place in a dangerous otherworld where dark forces have taken over, and human-like beings called gelflings are rounded up, strapped to chairs with big needles, and drained of their "essence" for decrepit, dinosaur-like skeksis (pretty scary creatures, but also big buffoons). This movie isn't for everyone, and surely not for sensitive little ones , but for the right tween just getting into fantasy books, this will rock their world.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydanny800 April 4, 2019

The Dark Crystal was not for little kids

i think the dark crystal was a amazing movie but it was not for kids because it was really creepy and dark a giant beatle tries to kill the main character a ske... Continue reading
Adult Written bygarbageknight July 5, 2021

AMAZING MOVIE not really for kids under 10.

So this is a Family review, Adults that love fantasy will love this. It is GREAT! but i let my 8 year old watch it, and it scared him with some parts. He had ba... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDustin Henderson September 20, 2019

The Dark Crystal Includes Amazing Visuals and Disturbing Violence

The Dark Crystal is the brainchild of Jim Henson. When it was first released, it was not widely accepted because of its stark differences from Jim Henson's... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJeffyJonnsen June 12, 2021

It has a cool, suspenseful title.

Its pretty predictable and its easy to tell when there's going to be a jump scare. Besides this though there's a good buildup, and it is a heartwarmin... Continue reading

What's the story?

On a faraway planet, a handful of decrepit, dinosaur-like creatures called Skeksis rule, thanks to the power and longevity granted them by a large, cracked gem -- THE DARK CRYSTAL. Long ago the Skeksis massacred a peaceful race called Gelflings because of a prophecy that warned about a Gelfing being able to "heal" the crystal and end the Skeksis' reign. Jen, a lone Gelfling raised by gentle monster mystics, is sent by his dying master to find the missing piece of the Dark Crystal and fulfill the prophecy. On the way, Jen discovers that he's not the last of his kind -- he finds Kira in a community of fun-loving "Podlings." But the Skeksis know of the Gelflings, and send warriors to intercept the heroes. With her village destroyed, Kira joins Jen on his quest for the Skeksis' castle.

Is it any good?

It's predictable -- you know the quest right up front -- but it's also a wonderful fantasy movie to get wrapped up in. Chanting, gentle mystics; long-legged Landstriders; a pushy she-ogre; and a roly-poly pet Fizzgig will keep fantasy-loving adults and kids old enough for the scary parts engaged.

Though some viewers (especially younger kids) may be tempted to close their eyes during the onslaught of the horrible garthim or the gruesome scene of podlings being drained of their "life essence," the sumptuous design will dare them not to look away. The team behind The Dark Crystal (including one of the original Star Wars producers, Gary Kurtz) supposedly researched the lore of numerous different cultures to help conceive their fantasy world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Jen accomplished his goals with the help of others, including Kira in The Dark Crystal. How hard or easy is it for the people in your family to accept help? What would you have done in Jen's place?

  • How is this story a hero's journey? What other stories follow the same formula?

  • How do the characters in The Dark Crystal demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and Jim Henson creations

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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