The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Review. MMMMMMM!!!

4 and a half stars
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal pretty much traumatized me as a child.
I remember seeing a Skeksis crumble to dust in the opening minutes of the film and being absolutely terrified.
Now, years later, the Jim Henson Company and Netflix have released a prequel series to the original creepy, puppet, fantasy movie, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Directed by Louis Leterrier, I came into this series with a vague sense of the original movie, since I think I was 12 the last time I watched it.
Well, Age of Resistance made me want to go back and watch that film because the Netflix series is fantastic, delivering a riveting story with great characters, music and puppetry.

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The puppetry in Age of Resistance is often top notch, with very few moments of an uncanny valley.

The Dark Crystal movie came out in 1982 so a lot of time has passed and this has given the creators the chance to improve on the puppetry and CGI.
The way the practical effects merge with computer generated effects is perfect, giving Age of Resistance a grand sense of scope.
The story follows three Gelflings; castle guard Rian (Taron Edgerton), the cave dwelling Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Princess Brea (Anya Taylor Joy), learning that their lords, the Skeksis, are not so benevolent as they thought.
Realizing the threat the Skeksis pose to the world of Thra, the three Gelflings set out on their own individual journeys to stop the Skeksis and the Darkening they have caused by abusing the Dark Crystal.

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Rian, Deet and Brea’s journey to stop the Skesis results in numerous moments of high tension, fear, and sometimes laughter.

I came to care about all three of these Gelfling, who are all magnificently voice acted, with my favourite probably being Deet.
I liked her arc from beginning to end and also really enjoyed her friendship with the Podling Hup (Victor Yerrid).
Another thing I surprisingly enjoyed was the Skeksis themselves, who are over the top evil in the best of ways.
The Emperor (Jason Isaacs) is a commanding overlord, and The Scientist (Mark Hamill) uses his genius in cruelly malevolent ways.
By far the most investing Skeksis is Simon Pegg’s backstabbing Chamberlain.
With his constant “MMMMMMMs!”, he is as delightfully two-faced as I remember him being in the original movie.

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Describing The Chamberlain as a weasel is probably the most accurate way to describe his backstabbing nature.

As for the music, it further highlights the majesty of the world of Thra, and the danger whenever the characters’ lives are at risk.
Speaking of, there are a lot of deaths.
I have heard some describe this series as Game of Thrones with puppets and that is fairly accurate; although this should have been expected, given where the original movie starts off.
However, there are a few things that stop Age of Resistance from being perfect.
One is the fact that it is sometimes hard to take certain dramatic scenes seriously because, well, the characters are puppets.
Granted, these moments are few and bar between but they still happen.
By far the biggest problem, though, is that many of the characters seem to have changes in motivation at the drop of a hat.
Seladon (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a prime example of this; but easily the biggest instance of this is in episode four where at least four characters’ motivations seem to change almost instantaneously with no buildup.
Still, these issues do not ruin the experience as The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a well made show with a great story and characters, and brilliant effects, both practical and computer generated.
I highly recommend it, especially for fans of The Dark Crystal movie.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, what’s with the hate?

4 and a half stars
I had such a great time watching The Last Jedi but afterwards I learnt that not everyone felt the same.
I went to see the movie with my family and my dad said he heard someone say the movie was disappointing after the it ended.
Originally, I was stunned at the backlash this movie was getting.
However, after thinking about it, I can see why people do not like this movie.
I personally do not agree with most of their criticisms but I can understand it.
That being said, I cannot understand the level of hatred that is being thrown at this movie, with many people saying it is garbage and worse than the prequels.
Really, The Last Jedi is worse than the prequels?
I highly disagree with this opinion and personally I think a lot of people are letting their  disappointment that the movie did not offer what they were expecting influence their opinions.
The story of The Last Jedi picks up immediately after The Force Awakens, with Rey meeting Luke and trying to convince him to return, Leia and the Resistance on the run from The First Order and Finn and newcomer Rose going on a mission to find something that can help the Resistance.
First of all, I really liked the performances in this movie, with Daisy Ridley, as Rey, and Adam Driver, as Kylo Ren, being the standout actors.

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Daisy Ridley, as Rey, and Adam Driver, as Kylo Ren easily give the best performances of the film.

Then there is the story, which takes so many unexpected twist and turns that my jaw was constantly on the floor.
Now, a lot of people extremely disliked the twists the story took.
Rey’s backstory, Snoke’s role in the story and how Luke was portrayed, these are all common criticisms I hear about the film.
However, while I can understand why people see these as problems I do not.
Rey’s backstory was, believe or it not, the backstory I wanted her to have because of the implications the backstory has.
Although I was disappointed Snoke did not get a backstory, his role in the story was a great because it really shook things up in a good way.
As for Luke’s portrayal, it has been decades since Return of The Jedi so obviously Luke would have changed a lot since then, and Mark Hamill does a great job.

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Mark Hamill does a great job, returning as Luke Skywalker.

So while these things may have disappointing to some, they were not for me.
Another thing I really liked about the film was the action sequences.
There is a really great lightsabre duel about half an hour before the movie ends and it is one of the best in the entire series.
There were also some things I did not really like at first but, the more I think about them, I think they work in the grand scheme of things.
First there is the Casino storyline with Finn and Rose.
This storyline just does not feel like Star Wars.
It feels like we are watching a completely different movie.
However, after thinking about it, I realised it did contain some great messages about war that I really liked and it tied into the ending.
The final scene in the movie was also something I was unsure about at first.
It felt a little out of place at the time but, thinking back, it really sets up the story going forward.
But, there are still some problems.
Even though the Casino storyline was redeemable, it still did not feel like Star Wars.
Then there was Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie, who was built up to have a bigger role in this movie but is only in the movie for about ten minutes.
And I do not mean all her scenes combined add up to ten minutes, I literally mean she is consecutively in the movie for only ten minutes.
Captain Phasma is definitely the Bobba Fett of this trilogy.

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Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma

On top of this, there was a giant glaring plot hole with Laura Dern’s character.
However, other than that, I really liked this movie.
It is definitely one of the better Star Wars movie and does not deserve the level of hate it is getting.
I think this will turn out to be quite like The Empire Strikes Back, in a way.
A lot of people do not like it after seeing it but years from now they will come to enjoy and respect it… I hope.