It's been 37 years since Jim Henson's masterpiece "The Dark Crystal" graced the silver screen but, since that time, its tale of Gelflings, Skeksis, Mystics, and the planet Thra have passed through the ages and are still popular with children and adults today. No bigger example of that is the new prequel television series debuting on Netflix this week entitled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Taking place fifty years before the original film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance tells the story of the planet, Thra, and all the mythical creatures who live upon it. After the first Great Conjunction, the Skeksis convinced the mother of all Thra, Aughra, to turn over the dark crystal to them for safekeeping (as well as governing the rest of the creatures of Thra) while she went to travel the stars. Unfortunately, the evil Skeksis have their own plans...to keep drawing power from the crystal to sustain their despicable lives while also creating a darkness from the inner core of Thra that is rising up and corrupting the creatures who inhabit the planet with them.
It seems like 80s nostalgia is everywhere. The mega-hit Stranger Things is a masterful example of this, with adults reliving the glories of their carefree childhoods. And, even though it is in a completely different way, this series also serves up that nostalgia. It brings us back to a time when effects were mostly practical and not computer-generated. It is an understatement to say the film was a huge moment for puppetry and this series continues that tradition with the Jim Henson Company. It is visually stunning and the detail that is included in each scene is nothing short of fantastic. However, it's not only the visuals that make this series great. The storyline is complex and entertaining, and even dark at times, like the original. This, too, is a bit of a throwback to the 80s - when things weren't sugarcoated like they seem to be today. Don't worry, It's still quite family-friendly while engaging your kids in a more serious plot than what they are probably used to.
Director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) took painstaking measures to be faithful to the original film by barley using any CGI and using mostly puppetry. The voice cast itself is a who's who in Hollywood actors including Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Mark Hamill (Child's Play), Simon Pegg (The Boys), Helena Bonham Carter (Ocean's Eight), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Sigourney Weaver (The Alien Saga), Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-man and The Wasp), and Jason Isaacs (The Harry Potter Series). When called upon, their voices sound exactly like the original characters (Simon Pegg's Chamberlin voice is a very good example of this), which truly helps the continuity between this series and the original film.
While the series can be bogged down at times by a complex plot (which is very common in fantasy films) it still it a very enjoyable viewing experience and should be on everyone list to see (especially Generation X). Hopefully The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will have some legs and bring along a second season which will bring us even closer to the time of the second Great Conjunction. Till then, Long live Thra and its resistance!
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance debuts August 30th, 2019 exclusively on Netflix.