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Jim Henson Collection: The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Storyteller DVD

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Jim Henson's fantasy epic The Dark Crystal doesn't take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but like Star Wars it takes the audience to a place that exists only in the imagination and, for an hour and a half, on the screen. Recalling the worlds of JRR. Tolkien, Henson tells the story of a race of grotesque birdlike lizards called the Skeksis, gnomish dragons who rule their fantastic planet with an iron claw. A prophecy tells of a Gelfling (a small elfin being) who will topple their empire, so in their reign of terror they have exterminated the race, or so they think. The orphan Jen, raised in solitude by a race of peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal (which gives the Skeksis their power) and restore the balance of the universe. Henson and codirector Frank Oz have pushed puppetry into a new direction: traditional puppets, marionettes, giant bodysuits, and mechanical constructions are mixed seamlessly in a fantasy world of towering castles, simple huts, dank caves, a giant clockwork observatory, and a magnificent landscape that seem to have leaped off the pages of a storybook. Muppet fans will recognise many of the voice actors--a few characters sound awfully close to familiar comic creations--but otherwise The Dark Crystal is a completely alien world made familiar by a mythic quest that resonates through stories over the ages. --Sean Axmaker

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Collection of adventures directed by Jim Henson. 'Labyrinth' (1986) sees suburban girl Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) as she is forced against her will to babysit her baby brother, and wishes for the goblins to come and take him away. When this wish unexpectedly comes true, the Goblin King (David Bowie) tells Sarah that she can rescue her brother only by negotiating the labyrinth which leads to the Goblin Castle. Left with no choice, Sarah sets out on a dangerous adventure in a land where nothing is what it seems. 'The Dark Crystal (1982) tells the story of a mysterious crystal that was broken 1,000 years ago when creating two new races, the evil Skeksis and the kind Mystics. With fueding all around him, Gelfling Jen (voice of Henson) - the only one left of his kind - dreams of the day when he can restore peace to his planet. A Mystic tells him that in order to return Thra to its former glory Jen must heal the crystal before the three suns align. If he fails, the Skeksis will be free to rule forever... Finally, 'Storyteller' (1988) is an anthology series featuring both human actors and creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop in a re-telling of classic folk tales, fables and legends.

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