Monday, August 05, 2019

The Dark Crystal (1982)

There were a lot of movies from my childhood that I liked.  Watching them again as an adult isn’t always the best decision.  I recall liking the live-action He-Man movie to an extent.  Recent viewings of the movie don’t do as much for me.  Similarly, I recall liking The Dark Crystal when I was growing up.

My parents probably let me watch it because it was made by Jim Henson.  The production values are certainly there.  You have big, strange-looking creatures.  The Mystics, also called the urRu are peaceful and look kind of plain.  The Skeksis are kind of weird looking and are out to rule this strange world.  Caught in the middle is Jen, a Gelfling raised by the Mystics.  He believes that he’s the last of his kind until he’s sent on a mission.

A thousand years ago, a crystal was shattered, creating the two main races.  If the crystal is fixed, Thraa will know peace.  If not, the Skeksis will reign for the rest of eternity.  A prophecy holds that a Gelfling will be the one to fix the crystal, so the Skeksis wipe out the Gelfling village, not knowing that Jen survived.  He’s sent on his way by a dying Mystic, who doesn’t give him a lot of information.

He is able to find Aughra, who provides Jen with some answers.  It’s not enough to make the mission’s objective much clearer.  He does meet another Gelfling named Kira along the way.  The two make it to the Skeksis’ lair and are able to reunite the crystal and saving the world.

The movie is a little strange.  It’s kind of simple for adults.  It’s a rather direct story.  It’s also populated by Muppets, which will make a lot of people think it’s for kids.  It is a somewhat dark movie, though.  The Skeksis are able to drain the essence of other beings for the purpose of keeping young.  There isn’t a lot of fighting, but there are a few scary moments.  I’m not really sure who the target audience was, here.

There was a planned sequel, which makes sense.  I could see this setting up a larger storyline.  Unfortunately, that  never came to pass.  It would have been interesting to see where that went.  The Jim Henson Company did begin producing a prequel series, which is set to be released at the end of this month.  I’m not sure what the series will bring.  It may detail how the crystal was fractured.  It may explore the Gelflings or other races.  Either way, I would probably watch it.

This is a world that could use some exploring.  There are some tie-in products like books and novels.  It would be interesting to look some of those up before the series airs.  I’m not sure what kind of availability each has.  Either way, I am definitely interested to see where the Netflix series goes.

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