‘The Dark Crystal’ Is Returning Next Week As A Series, But Here’s How To Watch The Original Film

Skeksis. Mystics. Gelflings. Mention The Dark Crystal and you’ll either spark a reminiscing session or be met with “Never heard of it.” With Netflix’s prequel series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, scheduled to drop on August 30, there’s renewed interest from adults who watched the film as children and movie buffs who respect the work of the late Jim Henson.

Released in 1982, The Dark Crystal featured fearsome, odd, and beautifully crafted puppets whose looks were unique, intricate, and sometimes frightening. The film itself has been described as a children’s horror fantasy, and if you remember watching it as a kid, there were probably moments that terrified you. Those scenes with the life force being drained might have stuck with you.

Every so often, people like to revisit favorite films from eras past, and with the new show about to be released, now is a great time to rewatch The Dark Crystal. If you’ve never seen it but want to familiarize yourself with this world before (or after) the Netflix series, here’s the how and why to do just that.

'The Dark Crystal'
Gelflings Jen and Kira in ‘The Dark Crystal’ | Murray Close/Getty Images

An introduction to 1982’s ‘The Dark Crystal’

Without diving too far into the plot and giving away spoilers, we’ll talk about Thra, the Skeksis, and Gelflings. Jim Henson partnered up with Brian Froud, an artist/illustrator and puppet designer. Henson was a fan of Froud’s art and his ability to create fairy worlds that were unlike anything one could imagine. Together, they constructed the planet Thra for The Dark Crystal and all of its inhabitants.

In the movie, we meet the Skeksis, the Mystics (urRu), and the Gelflings. The Skeksis are creatures that are corrupt, wild, greedy, and murderous, and their spiritual counterparts, the Mystics, are peaceful and protective, but they do not fight. Gelflings are an elf-life race of beings who are peaceful too.

During the time period in the film, the Gelflings have been wiped out by genocide (due to the Skeksis), save for two: Jen and Kira. Once they find each other, Kira joins Jen on his quest to return a broken “Shard” to the fractured dark crystal. In doing so, they can restore order and save the world. It’s a dark tale, but memorable.

Instead of CGI, the puppets relied on humans and animatronics, but the costumes and visuals were considered innovative for its time. Sound good? Right now, Netflix subscribers can watch the entire movie on the platform, but if that’s not your jam and you still want to see it, read the options below.

Watch on Amazon

Amazon Prime subscribers can watch the film for free on any device. If you do not have Prime, you can rent or buy the film to stream instead. Create or log in to your Amazon account and you’ll be given the option to rent it for $2.99 – $3.99 or purchase it for $12.99 (SD) or $13.99 (HD). Watch it on a Fire device, phone, laptop, or tablet.

Watch via YouTube

YouTube offers the ability to stream The Dark Crystal where it’s currently priced at $3.99 to rent ,and you have up to 30 days to watch. You will need to log in with either a YouTube or Google Gmail account to complete the transaction, which requires billing details.

Stream it on iTunes, Google Play, or Vudu

iTunes and Google Play users can rent the movie for $3.99 with the option to buy for $14.99 from Apple or $12.99 from Google. Prefer to watch it on Vudu? It’s only $2.99 to rent.

Early reviews—like this one from BBC—for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance prequel are good, and fans of the old flick that started it all might find themselves wanting to rewind back to the ‘80s for a spell to be reminded of how things ended in Thra. By watching the original Dark Crystal—whether you’re a newbie or not—you’ll get the chance to fully understand the world Henson created and its mythology.