The Dark Crystal Movie Review: The Puppet Film that Traumatized Many Children.

4 stars
After watching the prequel series to Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal movie on Netflix, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, I decided to check out that original film again.
It had been a long time since I had seen the film.
I think I was about eight the first time I watched it with my dad, and I have fond memories of it giving me nightmares of melting Skeksis faces.
In any case, the fact I remembered quite a bit about it years after watching it shows how well crafted of a film The Dark Crystal is.
The story is set in the fantasy world of Thra, where a young Gelfling named Jen (voiced by Stephen Garlick), who is thought to be the last of his kind, is sent on a mission to heal the Dark Crystal and stop the Skeksis from ruling the world.

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Jen is given his quest by his old Mystic master.

Along the way, he surprisingly encounters another Gelfling, named Kira (voiced by Lisa Maxwell), who joins him on his quest.
The big thing that separates The Dark Crystal from other fantasy stories is that all of its characters are portrayed by puppets, which are amazing for the time.
Although, sometimes it can be a bit uncanny, the puppetry is great for the Skeksis, especially the Chamberlain (voiced by Barry Dennen) who has perfect facial expressions.
And, just like the prequel series, the Chamberlain is my favourite character.
He was the character I remembered the most coming into that series and there is a reason for that.
He is such a weasel in the film, being one of cinema’s greatest backstabbers, in my opinion.

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The Chamberlain’s puppetry is surprisingly expressive, highlighting his duplicitous nature perfectly.

The lore of The Dark Crystal is also great, with the connection between the Skeksis and their counterparts the Mystics being highly interesting.
That does not mean the film is flawless, however, because I did have one big issue after watching it.
That issue is Jen, who is quite a bland protagonist.
He is the typical, chosen one who does not really do all that much.
In all honesty, he pretty much gets helped the entire way and does almost nothing until the end.

Kira has to do everything for Jen, making her the more capable character.

Still, the problems with Jen do not limit this film’s grand scale and other interesting characters, helped by the magnificent puppetry.
The Dark Crystal is a great fantasy film, with a lot of imagination behind it.
I just feel sad after watching this again, now knowing for sure that the prequel series can only end in tragedy.

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.

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.

The Chamberlain.jpg
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.