The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance and Jim Henson's Vision

1982’s The Dark Crystal makes its intentions and credentials clear from the very start. Narration sets up a dense history of a fractured world as we’re treated to grand visuals of an ominous landscape and a group of villainous creatures out of step with the planet around them. The wizards at Jim Henson’s studio create the unfolding world through painstakingly detailed artistry, and every living thing on the screen is brought to wondrous life with puppetry. The film wasn’t the hit it deserved to be, but the thirty-seven years since have seen it become a beloved cult favorite.

A follow-up of some kind has been in various stages of development for years now, but it took Netflix being an interested party to see it become a reality. Both the streaming giant and The Jim Henson Company toyed with its return being a CG animated experience (both in part and in full) before making the brilliant but incredibly risky decision to honor the original film and complete their own project – a ten-episode prequel series called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – using puppets and practical effects (with minimal CG assists).

The risk paid off, and the series is a glorious success capturing both the tone and content of Henson’s original film while telling its own story with characters new and old. Its desire and effort to revisit the overall feeling of The Dark Crystal was a big gamble across the board, but the risk is most evident in three areas – the series employs a dense narrative that both challenges and respects the audience, it doubles down on its embrace of darkness and death, and it commits to prioritizing puppetry and practical effects.

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Jim Henson Documentary

Jim Henson is the mastermind behind the beloved characters known as The Muppets, and he also had a hand in making the iconic series Sesame Street. But before getting deep into puppet entertainment, Henson also wrote, directed, produced, and even starred in several experimental short films between 1964 and 1969. One of those films even earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Live-Action Short Film.

Now, thanks to ShortsTV, you can get a look at Jim Henson’s earliest works in Jim Henson: The Early Works, a collection of the filmmaker’s shorts made before The Muppets became a big deal. Then, you can follow it up with a vintage deep dive into all the work he did with The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and more thanks to the 45-minute documentary Henson’s Place: The Man Behind the Muppets. Read More »

Luke Flowers Raised by Rainbows Art Show

Raised By Rainbows is a new art show by Luke Flowers at Gallery 1988 that takes some of your favorite movies and cartoons and gives them a makeover that would make your inner child smile with glee.

With a series of prints that feel lifted from children’s books, you can watch characters from Star Wars, The Karate Kid, and Jim Henson play arcade games. Maybe you’d like an illustrated timeline of the first Back to the Future movie. Or perhaps you’d like to learn the alphabet from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Check out prints like that and much more from the Luke Flowers Raised by Rainbows art show below. Read More »

the storyteller reboot

The Storyteller, the imaginative 1980s TV series created by Jim Henson, is ready to tell a new tale. The Jim Henson Company, Fremantle and author Neil Gaiman are teaming for a Storyteller reboot which will once again adapt fairy tales and folklore with puppetry. While there’s no official home for the rebooted series yet, it’s being developed for binge-watching audiences.  Read More »

caroll spinney retires

A few things have remained constant at Sesame Street since the children’s show debuted on PBS in 1969, and one of them is the presence of puppeteering legend Caroll Spinney. The puppeteer and performer has played two of Sesame Street‘s most famous characters since the show’s debut: Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. But, 50 years since he stepped into the big, yellow suit, Spinney is flying the coop.

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the dark crystal age of resistance

Jim Henson‘s 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal has gone down in history as a master class in puppetry magic. And it’s important to the creative team behind the new Netflix prequel series that they get that aspect right.

At New York Comic-Con, director Louis Leterrier and creative executive producer Lisa Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter, promised that The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will preserve the practical techniques of the ’80s classic and revealed a few more details about the highly anticipated 10-episode series.

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Labyrinth musical

Get ready to dance, magic, dance all over again, as a Labyrinth musical is bound for the stage. Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and Chairman of The Jim Henson Company, says plans for a Labyrinth musical based on the cult classic film are currently underway.

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Frank Oz

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, check out a whole slew of Easter eggs and references you might have missed in the latest trailer for Avengers: Infinity War. Plus, watch an interview with Yoda puppeteer and voice actor Frank Oz and other puppeteers as they remember Jim Henson, and listen to director Joe Wright break down a scene from the Best Picture nominated Darkest Hour. Read More »

Best Movies Streaming Ghost Story

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

How’s 2018 going for everyone? We’re not even a full month into this new year yet, but personally, I’m already exhausted. Thank heavens for movies, that’s all I can say. Movies can be a great balm for the soul – a reminder that even when everything is a terrible mess, there are still folks out there making great art, and trying like hell to make that art connect with an audience.

Which brings us to this edition of Now Stream This. As always, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best movies streaming right now. There’s something for everyone here: drama, horror, comedy, documentary. I’m not going to say you will personally love every movie on this list, but I sure as heck hope you’ll try to love every movie on this list. This installment features a ghost story unlike any other captured on film before, an hilarious movie with puppets, a documentary about a shocking moment in sports history, a long-delayed horror movie, a one-man-show, a quirky comedy, an existential crime thriller, a cerebral nightmare, and a doc about a Stephen King adaptation. It’s time for the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Jim Henson and Kermit

Jim Henson fans in New York City, take note. Your next journey should be to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

/Film was able to catch a sneak preview of The Jim Henson Exhibition, a new permanent exhibition devoted to the life and work of the most famous puppeteer that has ever lived. While the museum has featured muppets and art from Henson before, this time it’s going to stay there forever, a fitting tribute to a man who continues to touch people’s lives.

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