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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Catch Henson’s puppet-filled ‘Dark Crystal’


When he died in 1990, Jim Henson was the subject of more melancholy obituaries than I could ever hope to read. Most of the writers had grown up watching Henson's work on television, especially the shows "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show."

Most of the obits also mentioned Henson's film career, though only a few mentioned his 1982 film "The Dark Crystal."

The Internet Movie Database describes the plot of that film, which Henson co-directed with Frank Oz, this way: "A thousand years ago the mysterious Dark Crystal was damaged by one of the Urskeks and an age of chaos has begun. The evil race of grotesque birdlike lizards the Skeksis are gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. Meanwhile the orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of the peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal that gives the Skesis their power and restore the balance of the universe."

Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune was impressed. "You have to love a fantasy whose greatest peril is the Bog of Eternal Stench," he wrote.

A reviewer for Urban Cinefile was even more impressed: "A wonderfully invented world full of characters that transcend their puppet limitations thanks to the energy and creativity of the Jim Hansen and Frank Oz team of puppeteers and voice actors."

And now comes your chance to see this puppet-inspired, fantasy extravaganza. "The Dark Crystal" will screen at 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 25 and 28, March 3 and 6 at Regal Cinemas' Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene Riverstone Stadium cinemas.

May the Henson be with you.

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