I’m a little bitter at myself for doing a written review instead of crafting a puppet and doing what would be our first video review as a puppet. But perhaps if things come together for season 2 of The Dark Crystal, we will see a puppet on video. One thing is for sure this series serves as an inspiration to me and others who love the arts and puppetry. From the very beginning of the series you can tell that a lot of hard work and love went into creating the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
My introduction to the first film was back in the early 90s. I, like most other children watching this movie, was half scared and half intrigued. This is a movie filmed with giant talking birds who are disgusting and creepy and small woodland creatures with sleepy eyes who seek adventure. In the midst of it all is a crystal which serves as the central story. On one side are the Skeksis who wanted the crystal to prolong their life and on the other a small Gefling, the last of his kind, adopted by the Skeksis’ counterpart, the Mystics. Jen, the Gefling, travels to find the broken piece of the crystal to restore order to Thra. That brings us to the Netflix Series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Age of Resistance serves as a prequel to the 1982 film. The Jim Henson Company is bringing back the world of Thra along with a new story, characters, and adventures that not only enriche the original film but add new elements and details. It allows the series to thrive on its own recreating the established lore and enhancing some familiar characters. I believe the series stands firm on its own so there is no need to re-watch the original. However, it does give viewers an advantage to know the series lore and characters. Speaking of characters Netflix spared no expense in the casting of the Gefling and Skeksis voices. You have an All-Star Cast starring Taron Egerton, Nathalie Emmanuel, Lena Headey, Mark Hamill, Awkwafina, Natalie Dormer, and many more. By far my favorite voices are those of the Skeksis. They all vary in uniqueness and personalities. This is one of many things I loved about the series. They took pre-existing characters and added so much more to these characters. The voice acting is great all around, but the magic lies in the details of the puppets and the beautiful set designs that bring the world of Thra to life.
Right from the beginning, the series shows you the world they have created. They have wide cinematic shots establishing the world of Thra. The landscapes are rich in color. We travel from tropical forests to deserts. They explore various landscapes and recreate them with such details for the intimate shots. They create an entire habitat with smaller puppet creatures that add little to the story but help bring Thra to life. The puppets share the same amount of detail as the sets. The movement in their mouth and eyes show so much emotion. Especially since the story puts them in scenarios which require lots of emotions. The costumes are meticulous and well designed for each character. The attention to detail the show creates allows you to be transported to the world of Thra. It is no small job to create a world like Age of Resistance. Every set, every animal, every character in this show is practical with a few exceptions. This goes to show that using practicals allows the audience to be more engaged with the world created.
That being said, I mentioned that there was CGI used in some areas. Unfortunately, it is fairly noticeable and sometimes it took me out of the story. I understand the difficulty with a shot that would not have been able to be done without CGI. But while viewing the beauty of the practicals and then cutting to characters or scenes that have CGI it does come as a shock sometimes. The other things that I felt was out of place was that Mark Hamill’s character sounds a lot like the Joker. It was difficult for me to not hear Mr. J’s voice. Eventually, I just let it be. But it did not take away from enjoying the story. One thing to keep in mind is that this series is just as dark and unsettling as the original film. There were moments that made me cringe and scenes that became hard to watch. But nonetheless I loved it and kept watching.
In the end there is so much more story to tell in the universe of the Dark Crystal. Even if you have seen the original film and know the outcome as far as the Gelfling, you will likely enjoy this. The writers of the show have created enough lore to keep you going for a few seasons before ultimately ending where we begin the film. If you haven’t guessed it already, I love The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Everything about it not only recreated the movies fun, dark, quirkiness but expanded on it. I hope this show does not fall short because people think puppetry is for children. Do not sleep on this. It has something for everyone. I hope The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance gets the same amount of love that all the people who helped create this series showed in making it.
Article edited for clarity by Michelle Noriega.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Even if you have seen the original film and know the outcome as far as the Gelfling, you will likely enjoy this. The writers of the show have created enough lore to keep you going for a few seasons before ultimately ending where we begin the film.
- Great Story
- Beautiful set and character design
- Great voice acting
- Some voices sound too familiar
- CGI sometimes hurts the Practical Sets and characters
- Our Score 0