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The Dark Crystal

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

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 17 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 & Scariness

Fighting and occasional killing, mainly among bony nonhumans; sweet little 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.

Sexy Stuff

A romance develops between Jen and Kira, but it's treated innocently.

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 under 7, but for the right kid just getting into fantasy books, this will rock their world.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPirogue May 13, 2011

Good for adults and kids to watch together

If you are religious and don't like other religious messages reaching your children, you may want to steer clear of this puppet-filled movie. One might say... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 year old Written byhopemcg February 19, 2012

A wonderful movie

My 5 year old daughter LOVES this movie. She finds some of the areas scary, but it is more "thrilling scary" than "nightmare scary." She f... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byclaycoz December 28, 2009

one of the best

when i was a kid and even now i love this movie and i would suggest it to kids getting into fantasy books and movies. There is not allot of violence but there a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bypicardisbetter April 30, 2015

Some creepy elements, but that's what makes it good

To any parent about to let their child watch this film, go ahead. But fair warning the skeksies and mystics are a little disturbing, not to mention one scene wh... 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 small children) 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

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For kids who love fantasy and Jim Henson creations

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