Arts

The Jim Henson Company Meets Game of Thrones

Netflix’s show, ”The Dark Crystal”  is more than meets the eye

By: Salvatore Cento

Join Rian, Deet and Brea as they free Thra from the evil Skeksis. Credit: reeladvice.net

For a long time, there have been whispers about Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal.” Due to the supposedly masterful puppeteering and world building, this cult classic had gained quite a following. Then, I heard that a Netflix series was in the works. 

Specifically, a prequel called “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”

One of which would heavily build on the lore hinted by the 1982 movie and show how the world of Thra came to be the way it is presented in the film. Considering that the setting to start off the flick is somewhere in the field of being apocalyptic, I was interested to see how dark and foreboding The Jim Henson Company would take this property.

Oh, does this bring us there and fast. I’m absolutely not forgetting that the first season has it’s charming moments or comical relief-esque characters. This type of show should. But those times are miniscule in size compared to the killings, sadness, injustice and widespread struggles that our protagonists face throughout.

The Skeksis are a vulture, reptilian like creature that rule over all of Thra. Not only that, but they also have the Crystal of Truth in their possession. 

Using this, they learn that they can drain the life essence out of all of the Gelflings they can get their hands on for the purpose of their own vitality and gluttony. A Gelfling by the name of Rian witnesses the first murder by these means when his girlfriend Mira is abducted.

We soon find out that the seven clans who reside in Thra regard the Skeksis as lords and think that they are nothing but good and gracious; we watch as Rian struggles in telling others about the Skeksis destructive intentions.

 By dreamfasting, which is sharing your memories with another person by putting your palms together, Rian eventually gets others to join his cause to bring down the Skeksis rule by showing them what he witnessed in the very first episode.

Besides the 11 Skeksis, there are a lot of personalities present. Mother Aughra is Thra’s human representative who doesn’t take nothing from nobody. Deet is a female Gelfling that can speak to animals. 

Hup is a Podling who aspires to be a paladin. The All-Maudra and her three daughters, Tavra, Brea and Seladon. Rian’s father, Ordon and Rian’s best friend, Gurjin. The Hunter. Longneck. Lore. Too many to list, but not too many to get confused by when you actually see them on screen.

The sophisticated detail when it comes to the settings and the creatures is unlike anything that’s been done before. In a time when anything fantasy-like is crafted on screen with CGI, “Age of Resistance” is both refreshing and breathtaking. The environments are mixed with plenty of colors and the constructed creatures themselves seem to have unlimited articulations. 

While watching, I realized that I was emotionally connecting to the welfare of puppets. And I didn’t care. 

But just seeing these events unfold wasn’t the clincher. There was something else that was grabbing me and not letting go. The soundtrack. Both volumes feature music originally created by Golden Globe and Emmy nominees Daniel Pemberton and Samuel Sim. Witnessing tragedy after tragedy and hearing a melody to go along with the atmosphere throws the viewer head-first into the moment.

While I do want to praise “Age of Resistance” for all of its advances in storytelling, there are a few nitpicks. 

While the ending is acceptable and bends towards our heroes, this still feels unjust to what they’ve been through. On top of that, evil has two new outlets, so to speak. I would have liked to see minor characters fleshed out more, especially Hup and Lore. 

With all of the adult themes mixed into what at first glance seemed to be a child’s show, did we really need to see a Skeksi urinating?

Putting these little critiques aside, if next season is going to be like this one, I am definitely waiting for more shards of “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” to arrive in my Netflix app. 

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