The Dark Crystal, co-directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, is equally impressive in production design, even if the story is moderately obtuse. The story of the film involves the evil race of Skeksis trying to consolidate their power as the good Mystics fight for the survival of the planet while a Gelfling that they helped raise named Jen tries to reunite the Dark Crystal with a shard that broke off centuries ago and led to the ruined state of the planet. The film requires an incredibly lengthy voiceover at its outset in order to set up the tale of good versus evil, and, while easy to follow, it is an awkward way to open the film. From here, happily, the film does get more engaging. Though they are muppets, in true Henson fashion they do seem alive, and, like Labyrinth, great care seems to have been given in making sure each character has a distinct personality. The puppet work is excellent and, like Labyrinth, creature design fantastic. In fact, Brian Froud, the conceptual designer for both films, provides a commentary track for each, and goes into great detail on both.
Both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are two-disc editions, with the second disc on each providing more bonus features than you can shake a stick at. There are numerous interviews, original footage that did not make the movie, and concept art to name a few.
Though both films are still fun to watch, it is Labyrinth, the less successful at the box office, that holds up better years later. The story is more accessible and David Bowie's songs and interactions with the various muppets are great fun. Even so, The Dark Crystal is still enjoyable, and certainly ought to be watched before the long-gestating sequel, Power of the Dark Crystal, ramps up for an alleged release next year.
I think that the world of Jim Henson's imagination might just be the best possible place to grow up. And, if you already have grown up, it is still a place to visit on a regular basis.