directed by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Gary Kurtz
USA 1982

What’s exhilarating about “Crystal” is that Henson and his collaborators (including co-director Frank Oz) were manufacturing a fairy tale from their own creative well. While influenced by the great fantasy works of the world, Henson paved his own road here; he made certain every corner of the frame was bestowed with a mysterious creature or laborious design effort that created a consuming three-dimensional depth. Honestly, I’ve never seen such extraordinary effort placed into a feature-film before, and the way Henson and Oz take their time to let the details marry the film’s glacial, dreamy pace is endlessly impressive. It’s a directorial job of pure faith, and a design accomplishment (courtesy of wizard Brian Froud) that’s heart-stopping every inch of the way.

Sure, we have glossy cinematic juggernauts today like Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, yet “Crystal” is a film you can nearly reach out and caress; blessed with unmistakable attention placed to the weathered fabrics and wrinkled skin of the characters, not to mention Oswald Morris’s luxurious cinematography, which wields splendid coloring like a lethal weapon – I’ve never viewed a more menacing shade of purple in my life.

Excerpt from Brian Orndorf's review at eCritic located HERE

Theatrical Release: December 17, 1982

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Enrique Chamorro for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Columbia TriStar

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia TriStar
Region 1 - NTSC
Columbia TriStar
Region 1 - NTSC

Sony

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:33:00 1:33:00 1:33:00 1:33:07.582
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.37 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.18 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.77 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,539,376,433 bytes

Feature: 29,157,212,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Columbia TriStar

 

Bitrate:

 

Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Columbia TriStar (SuperBit)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio Eng. DD 5.1 & DD 2.0/ Span. Mono/ Music Track

Eng. DD 5.1 & DD 2.0/ Span. Mono

Eng. DD 5.1 / Eng. DTS

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3112 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3112 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
DUBs: Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1394 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1394 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Portuguese 1579 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1579 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, Spanish, none English, Spanish, none English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Columbia TriStar

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• The World of Dark Crystal Doc. 57:22 min.
• Deleted Funeral Scene 3:48 min.
• 7 Work Print Scenes 20 min. total
• Character Drawings & Profiles
• 5 Trailers (3Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Story Teller)
• Talent Files
• Isolated Audio Music Score Track

DVD Release Date: February 5, 2002
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia TriStar

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• The World of Dark Crystal Doc. 57:22 min.
• Deleted Funeral Scene 3:48 min.
• 7 Work Print Scenes 20 min. total
• Character Drawings & Profiles
• 4 Trailers (3 Dark Crystal, Labyrinth)
• Talent Files
• Mitra Treatment Story Background 35 slides
• Storyboards 11 slides
• Character Illustrations 10 slides
• Additional Items inside the Collector's Case;
• Miniature Paper Replication of Henson's notepad
• Collectible Senitype
• A special forward written by Cheryl Henson

DVD Release Date: Nov. 25, 2003
Custom Booklike Cardboard Case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia TriStar

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• None per SuperBit

DVD Release Date: March 4, 2003
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio:
Sony

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,539,376,433 bytes

Feature: 29,157,212,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary with Brian Froud

• Storyboard track picture-in-picture
• The World of Dark Crystal Doc. 57:22 min.

• Skektek's Crystal Challenge Gelfling Trivia Game

• Original Sketek Language Test Scenes
• Deleted Funeral Scene 3:48 min.
• Reflections of the Dark Crystal
• Character Drawings & Profiles
• 4 Trailers (3 Dark Crystal, Labyrinth)
• Storyboards 11 slides

Blu-ray Release Date: September 29th, 2009
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Sony Blu-ray - September 09:

NOTE: We don't have the 2007 25th Anniversary DVD edition to compare.

Colors move to a more earthy tone in the new Sony 1080P Blu-ray. The vibrancy of the DVDs now looks false and boosted but never having seen the film theatrically - this is only my guess. There is some movement in the frame and we occasionally lose, or gain, some information on the left and top edges but it is negligible. Anyway, the heavy browns seem more correct giving the pastels a warmer and less unrealistic look but being a fantasy this is more a subjective viewpoint I suppose. I expect the accuracy off the higher resolution make this closer to filmmaker intent. It's dual-layered with a strong bitrate and I don't see evidence of digital manipulation.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track at English 3112 Kbps is pretty strong and it seems to pick up pace as the film runs along. The effect noises are not particularity aggressive but fill The Dark Crystal with subtleties that help transport, elevating the aura. It's, obviously, no demo track - but for the film - I can't see it being much more dynamic and buoyant. There are some foreign language DUBs and the available commentary is in 2.0 channel. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras appear to include most of the 2007 25th Anniversary DVD Edition package supplements with the Brian Froud commentary and the, almost hour-long, World of Dark Crystal documentary. The Storyboard Track is a Picture-in-Picture dealie that runs with the film. We get the Original Sketek Language Test Scenes, 4-minutesd of the deleted funeral scene and the Reflections of the Dark Crystal featurette. What's new is the Skektek's Crystal Challenge Gelfling Trivia Game that I had trouble exiting once I enabled it - and finally the disc is BD-LIVE functional (once it officially comes out).

Fans will definitely want to indulge as the color shift may give The Dark Crystal a whole new viewing experience. The improved resolution, lossless audio and new Blu-ray bells and whistles make this too enticing to pass up at the offered price. I really am not so keen on this whole Henson-puppet thingy but even I liked it and my kids were mesmerized.    

****


 

 

ON THE DVDs: What a strange circumstance. If I didn't know these were all taken from the same system I would think they were duplicates. The file size though indicates they are not "exact". I don't see a lot of difference in the three, perhaps the Super Bit being a shade brighter. Enrique wrote:

"The same 28 chapter stops occur at the same times in all versions. The chapter view images are the same for all versions and the images for the original and Collector's Edition menus are the same. Bit rate graph looks the same for the original & collector's edition. The bit rate may be higher for the SB only because of the DTS track? Many DVD reviews feel that the DTS track on the SuberBit is not vastly superior to the DD track. Captures look the same for all edition. Bottom line, keep the original or if you are looking to buy, consider the music only track & extra trailer on the orignal DVD vs. artwork menu screens, paper goods inside a large box for a LOT more $. (The SuperBit DTS track is NOT worth the loss of the extras this time)". 

Bottom line: For extensive Extras go for the "Collectors Set". For DTS - buy the Super Bit.

 Gary Tooze 

 


DVD Menus

(Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia TriStar - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Columbia TriStar (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Columbia TriStar (SuperBit) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Columbia TriStar

Region 1 - NTSC

Columbia TriStar
Region 1 - NTSC
Columbia TriStar
Region 1 - NTSC

Sony

Region FREE - Blu-ray


 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...