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In Short: Tristar's excellence lives on as they provide a very solid special edition of "Immortal Beloved"

The Movie:
I remember seeing "The Dark Crystal" when I was very young and being amazed by the level of the special effects in the picture and how lifelike the creatures seemed that the film created. It still seems like more of an adult picture since it's a fairly dark and moody picture, but the level of imagination involved in not only the effects but the storytelling remains fascinating to me even to this day.

The story revolves around the dark crystal, the force that brought together a world ages ago. When the crystal is broken, the world seperates into two waring groups: the mystics and the skeksis. Jen, a young gelfing, finds himself the one that is meant to bring the crystal back together and to restore peace to the land.

Although kids today may not be used to seeing a film like this, I think that many will be able to appreciate the kind of imagination that went into the making of this picture. Adults who have already seen it will be impressed with the quality of the image on this disc, and adults who haven't seen the film will likely be just as entertained as their children are.


The DVD

VIDEO: This is a very good effort from Tristar, doing the best that they probably could with the materials that they had to work with. Images are suprisingly sharp and crisp; for the most part, they are also quite clear. Colors are suprisingly strong and natural. The brighter colors are especially beautiful. Detail is also quite good throughout.

As I mentioned before, this is not a perfect-looking presentation. Although the picture is generally quite clear, there are also a number of slight to medium scratches and marks(as well as some noticable dirt), but they seem to be more isolated to certain parts of the movie, while other parts seem free of them, or simply the flaws are less noticable. There's a bit of grain as well here and there, along with a few very slight instances of shimmering. Still, this is very likely the best that the film has ever looked on home video. A very good effort by Tristar

SOUND: This is quite an enjoyable sound mix, presenting nicely placed sound effects and a very pleasing sense of the environment. There is very little surround use, but the sound that is presented through the front channels is very "open" and I found the sense of space consistently enjoyable. The quality of the audio itself is fair, sounding not terribly rich or dynamic and at times, a tad thin. The score, by Trevor Jones, sounds quite good. Still, for a film that's now around 17 years old, it sounds very enjoyable.

MENUS: Fairly basic main menus; easy to navigate, but on a film like this, there could have been some touches of animation thrown in.

EXTRAS::
The World Of The "Dark Crystal": This is a really excellent documentary that was likely made and released around the same time the film came into theaters. We are lead through all of the steps of production, from viewing the original concepts to seeing the production itself filming. There are quite a few interviews with all involved, and the interviews are consistently quite informative and entertaining as those involved share their viewpoints and offer their perspective on what attracted them to the project and what their work was in the movie itself. As always in an inventive film like this, it's fascinating to see scenes of the artists at work, then to see the actual final product.

I wish some current documentaries or featurettes would really take as much a look in-depth at the making of the picture as this one does. With any picture, it's always very cool to see great work and effects, but to be able to really peel back the layers and get a greater perspective of the work involved and all of the steps that have to be taken to make a picture like this, it gives the viewer an even greater appreciation of the enormous tasks that have to be completed before a film like the "Dark Crystal" can go into theaters. This documentary runs about one full hour and is an outstanding extra, taking the viewer through every step of the way during the production of this feature.

Deleted/Alternate Language Scenes: There are about 4 minutes of deleted scenes included on this disc as well as a few scenes that are the original language scenes. This footage is taken from an original work print and is not in terribly good shape, but is still watchable.

Art Gallery: This is a very cool extra, with tons of outstanding drawings of the concepts for the creatures. A lot of the screens have text information about the character. What really impresses though is the detail and beauty of these drawings, which are breathtaking.

Trailers: The American, European and Teaser trailers for "The Dark Crystal" and the theatrical trailers for "The Storyteller" and "Labyrinth".


Where To Find It:
Where To Find It:

Amazon.com Reel.com Soundtrack

Dark Crystal
Dark Crystal, The -



Final Thoughts: This is a film that the whole family can enjoy and I think that those who are already fans of the movie will be pleasantly suprised by how good the image quality is. The extras are also quite informative and entertaining. Recommended.





The Film: 89/B+ = (445/500 possible points)
Video: 86/B = (344/400 possible points)
Audio: 84/B = (336/400 possible points)
Extras: 92/A = (276/300 possible points)
Menus: 75/C = (150/200 possible points)
Value: 89/B+ = (267/300 possible points)

TOTAL POINTS:1818/2100
Average:87%/B


DVD Information




Dark Crystal
Tristar Home Video
2.35:1/Dolby Digital 5.1/2.0
English/Spanish Subtitles
Production Notes/Bios:Yes
Dual Layer:Yes
Rated:PG
94 Minutes
1982
Released On:10/05/99
Anamorphic:Yes
Region:1

LINKS TO ONLINE STORES:
*CDNOW.COM
*Amazon.com
* Reel.com
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*Bigstar.com