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 10+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 24 reviews

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

An innocent romance develops between Jen and Kira.

Language
Consumerism
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.

Wondering if The Dark Crystal is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

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 byRarityfan2019 November 4, 2019

80s coming back

Good for an 1980's fantasy movie night.
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
Kid, 7 years old April 6, 2020

Never

My job right now is a movie critit 'making videos on my YouTube Wich is called Easton plays ! and making videos on my tik tok Wich is eastonkent but I did... 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

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love fantasy and Jim Henson creations

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate