Sci-Fi Sunday: The Dark Crystal “The Director’s Cut” (1982/2013)

SciFi Sunday
Welcome back to another installment of Sci-Fi Sunday! This week, thanks to Daniel XIII, we have the ‘Director’s Cut’ of “The Dark Crystal”! This is pretty special, my friends.

Fan of the film, Christopher Orgeron, has taken over two years to create a version of the film that resembles what was originally seen by the test audiences that necessitated changes to the original cut to make it more kid friendlier, easier to understand.

Two examples of this being the opening narration of the Dark Crystal which was included to help audiences get caught up very quickly with the backstory. Originally Jim Henson and Frank Oz planned to have very little voice over for the characters or even have the Skeksis speaking English at all, it all had to be changed once they got the notes back from that test audience.

From his uploaded YouTube video, Christopher supplied some explanations about what he has done. He was also interviewed over at Mental Floss!

“…Workprints are used by the production crew and this one has all the trappings of one. Grease marks on the film, rough cuts, tape slowdown, and unfinished special effects among other things. Now, this workprint is still out floating around on the internet but it’s really painful to watch and the sound is atrocious so I took it upon myself to clean up the audio, sync it to a clean treatment of the video, include some scenes that were unavailable anywhere else, and recut a watchable version that played out like the workprint.

Disclaimer: It’s still a little rough. My computer had lots of slowdown since I was syncing to a HQ vid and some of the missteps in editing weren’t noticeable until the 5 hour render was complete! They’re minor and not frequent so it might only take you out of the moment briefly.

Black and white scenes were included from the workprint occasionally since they’re not available elsewhere. They include: A matte painting of landscape in front of Skeksis castle that pans down to the ‘lost’ Jen swimming scene, an extended clip of ‘Trial By Stone’, an extended scene in Aughra’s home, with a little extra at the end.

Deleted funeral scenes from the DVD are restored to their proper place.

There is also some beautiful alternate music composed by Vangelis here and there

Credit goes to Demonoid user Aikousha for finding the workprint and making it available. All reassembly was done by me scoodidabop (aka Christopher Orgeron/Creedo). If anyone wishes to attempt restoring the black and white scenes I’ll gladly include them in a new edit of the film. For the record I attempted to contact the Henson company earlier this year when I had about half of the edit complete to ask about sharing this on youtube but they never responded to my inquiry. Also, I just found out today (Dec 2nd) that someone else attempted this same idea and called it “The Darker Crystal” and released it in September. This is NOT his version. I haven’t seen his version but I’m sure mine is similar to his.”

VicSage

Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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