February 23, 2010
The Dark Crystal Film Analysis
Making its debut 1982, The Dark Crystal, created and directed by puppeteers Jim Henson and Frank Oz, was a fantasy film that involved intricate puppeteers and animatronics. Aside from The Muppets and Sesame Street, which involves more comedic skits to relay their message to its viewers, The Dark Crystal was a different kind of muppet movie because it used fantasy, fiction and action to tell its story. With this change in Jim Henson’s usual way of story telling, the fantasy aspect of the movie becomes associated with the narrative patterns and functions of Propp. As the story line progresses throughout the film, some of the 31 functions of characters discussed by Propp is revealed. Also, with a fantasy/fairy tale working simultaneously with puppetry, it provides a connection with youth while developing their imagination with fairytale images. The Dark Crystal uses fantasy, fiction, action and puppets to demonstrate the narrative patterns associated with Propp all while developing new dimensions for children’s imagination. The narrative patterns demonstrated in this movie closely relate to Propp’s 31 functions of characters, fitting the template of the average hero’s journey in most films of the same genre. The films starts off with a narrorator and prologue, letting the viewer know the background and setting of the current situation on this estranged planet. The Fung 2 protagonist, Jen the Gelfling, is presented a “difficult task” by his master who is a Mystic. He is asked to restore order to the once beautiful land before a shard from the “dark crystal” was removed which demonstrates the twenty-fifth function of being presented with a difficult task. With very little knowledge about his quest, Jen leaves his home among the Mystics and begins his quest, demonstrating the...