Two widely acclaimed fantasy movies from 1982 that I just can't get into: The Secret of NIMH and The Dark Crystal.
NIMH features some beautiful animation, but suffers from serious story problems, most notably the lack of any decent villain. Yeah, Jenner has that plot to kill Nicodemus, but hell, we don't learn about it until the last half-hour of the movie (and we don't meet Jenner himself until about the 45-minute mark, and it's a 90-minute movie). And the necklace that Nicodemus gives Mrs. Brisby is purely a deus ex machina to save the day at the end and nothing else. Also, there's way too much Jeremy in this movie. Not a criticism against Dom DeLouise, who does the best he can with the material he's got, but the character is just so damn annoying. If this is Don Bluth's best movie, as so many of his fans claim, then that's not really saying much. Bluth is a truly great animator, but he couldn't tell a decent story even if you put a gun to his head.
As for Crystal, I only got about halfway through before I gave up on it. This has the potential to be a really good movie, but there's two huge strikes against it. First, the plot is endlessly restated to the point of frustration on the viewer's behalf. You could cut out all of Jen's internal monologues and I can guarantee you wouldn't lose anything. I have a hard time getting into a movie that thinks I can't retain information for longer than five minutes. And second, yeah, I know it was 1982 and nothing like this had ever been done before, but the puppets just look awful. I think even if I had seen this 30 years ago when it was considered innovative, it still would have been impossible for me to suspend my disbelief. Never do I think these are characters; they're just vibrating bundles of animatronics equipped with inarticulate mouths and creepy misshapen faces. I can't knock Jim Henson for trying, but the technology just wasn't there yet.
This post is intended for adult collectors and may contain material that is unsuitable for younger children.