To be honest, I really had not thought much about the Dark Crystal movie since I saw it in the 80s. My brother and I liked it… and were creeped out by it. It really wasn’t a kids movie. The Henson company was convinced that muppets needed an adult image I guess, and they set out to prove they could be more than funny kids props.
Of course, the movie opened the door for thousands of years of history to explore in the Dark Crystal world, and a brave new world of possibilities to think about after the ending. But apparently not enough people were interested in that back in the day to make a sequel or prequel movie. Now with 80s nostalgia culture worship in full swing, it seems like we get the prequel series that not many were asking for? Or maybe many were and I just didn’t know.
I have to admit that I was intrigued by the idea. I am not against re-visiting older properties just for the sake of being against the idea. Sometimes – like in the case of Battlestar Galactica – revisiting older ideas can produce entertaining (even if imperfect) results. But focusing so much on gelflings before the time frame of the movie… knowing that they will pretty much all die? That’s dark, man.
To me, the beginning of the new Netflix series felt like 9.5 hours of “gee, look at the cool puppetry we can make” mixed with a half hour of plot development. Even once the series finally did pull me in and get me interested halfway through, they still needed to cut the character count way down. Just too many plots and creatures to keep track off.
And the darkness just kept getting darker and darker. At one point in the series, I felt that the 10th episode was just going to start off with a black hole mysteriously appearing next to the planet, followed by an hour of all of the characters screaming in agony as they get crushed by it. It was really just that bleak. I had to listen to some bleak black metal just to cheer up my mood.
Will I continue watching the next season when it comes out? I don’t know. I don’t mind dark themes, but I can’t really take as much as they put in this first season. And they didn’t even get to where the movie itself starts, where most of the “good side” in this series is all…. dead. But I will say that the rich mythology they have created for this world is interesting. Sure, it is rather Tolkien-esque in some ways (and hard to track fully without charts handy), but that is not a bad thing.
Even though the creators stuck with puppets and/or people in costumes for a lot of the effects, they did get an upgrade with some CG elements that does help. However, sticking with the puppets at times ends up falling flat, like when they try to show feet running. It looks about like what you would think – stuffed animal feet or paws hitting the ground with all the impact of cotton stuffed fabric, and all of the speed of someone moving those feet with their hands rather than being actual running legs.
So on a nostalgia culture scale between “okay, this works like Battlestar Galactica” to “this is just pure mindless worship like Ready Player One“… I guess Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance falls somewhere in the middle? Either that, or it is just off the scale somewhere in the “you might need counseling to deal with unseeing much of what the Skeksis do.”
Here is the original movie trailer:
And the trailer for the new series: