Dark Crystal 

The latest figures from Sideshow Toys are from a rather unique license move - The Dark Crystal.  Released by Henson Productions in 1982, the story goes that George Lucas was so impressed by the early work he decided to use the same technology for Yoda.

In the film, a world that was once perfect and pure is changed when the power of the Dark Crystal is disrupted.  The crystal is broken and a shard lost.  At the same time, two species appear - the kind and gentle Mystics, and the evil Skeksis.

Caught in the middle are the Gelfings, wiped out by the Skeksis.  Only one is left, named Jen.  He lives and grows up with the Mystics who protect him.  Eventually, he is called upon to travel out and find the missing shard, and restore order to the world.  He finds the one remaining Gelfling, Kira, conveniently a girl, and not a bad looking one at that.

The film is truly a unique fantasy adventure, with it's share of fans and critics.  Sideshow has released the two main characters - Jen and Kira, the Gelflings.  You can find the figures at many online stores, including Sideshow's, or at the Sam Goody/Media Play family of stores.  The run is limited to 7500 sets.

Packaging - ****
It doesn't get much better than this.  Sideshow has given us their usual collector friendly packaging, with marvelous graphics and text.  The design is simply beautiful, and sets the standard for this style packaging.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I picked up the film to watch it once again before doing this review.  The head sculpts on these figures are definitely Jen and Kira, and they've done a fairly nice job.

There is something that's slightly off - it's tough for me to put my finger on it though.  Perhaps Jen's face is slightly too pointed...perhaps his hair line doesn't go back far enough around the ears to look right.  Or maybe the eyes are simply too widely set on the head.  I can't quite put my finger on it, as it's not a glaring error, but there is something that throws the sculpt off ever so slightly.

But they still look extremely good, and are very true to the source material.  If I hadn't watched the movie to compare them to, it's likely I wouldn't have noticed anything off at all.

Both have rooted hair, and it's very well done.  No bald spots here, with tight coverage over the whole head.  Jen's is a beautiful golden color, while Kira's is a mixture of black and blue.

Paint - ***1/2
The predominate paint ops here are on the face.  The eyes of both Jen and Kira are extremely well done - bright, straight, and clean.  They eye lashes and lips look nice as well, and the skin tones of the face, hands and feet all match up well.

Articulation - ***
The bodies used are the standard Sideshow male and female body.  They have all the excellent articulation you'd expect, but from the forearms down and the shins down, they have newly sculpted hands and feet.

Obviously that was necessary, but it removes some articulation, particularly at the ankles and wrists.  This means you'll have fewer posing possibilities, and I had a lot of trouble simply getting Kira to stand on her own.  Her feet caused her to fall over backwards unless I leaned her very far forward.

The other problem with the articulation is at the neck.  It's very limited, although it is there.

Accessories - ***1/2
Each figure comes with a nice display stand, crucial for Kira but nice for Jen as well.  Each stand has the characters name on it, and works very well.

Kira comes with her little animal sidekick, Fizzgig.  He's well sculpted, and his wild hair look is captured with some fake fur/hair.  There's no articulation, but he stands on his four little feet just fine.

Jen comes with his flute, which actually plays a key role in the film, and the crystal shard which he must return to it's rightful place.

The accessories are all well done, and fit with the film perfectly.

Outfit - ****
Wow.  I can't think of a better word to describe the clothing on both Jen and Kira.  The detailed embroidery, beautiful beadwork, and intricate design are wonderfully done.

These are easily the most complex outfits produced by Sideshow so far, and they've done an outstanding job.  The wide variety of materials used is a great example of the effort and thought they put into the costumes.  They didn't spare any expense.

I particularly like Jen's belt, which is nicely detailed and comes with a pouch to carry the flute.  Kira's cloak is also extremely nice, with a detailed embroidered leaf across the back.

Value - ***
As always, this score depends on where you buy them.  I picked them up from Aisle Sniper, where I paid $70 for the pair plus shipping.  At that cost, they are a decent value, particularly if you're a big fan of the movie.

This score rises though as you find them at cheaper prices.  The big surprise is that Media Play is carrying them for $30, and excellent price for this level of detail and quality in a LICENSED product.  Remember those licenses cost bucks too!

Overall - ***1/2
If you're a fan of the film, you don't want to pass these up.  They are truly beautiful, from the packaging to the outfits to the accessories.  The only thing bringing them down from four stars is the loss of articulation, as it hurt what poses I could put them in, particularly Kira.

Where to Buy
One of the best deals is at your local Media Play, where you can find them for $30 plus tax.  On-line, you have several options:

- Sideshow Toys have them of course, at $80 for the set. (MROTW Affiliate)

- I picked mine up at Aisle Sniper, for $70 plus shipping.

- TNC Universe has them for $60 plus shipping.  I always get great service from them.  Tell them I sent you!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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