Posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 by Ben Pearson
I still can’t believe Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance exists. It’s an expensive, puppet-centric series that relies heavily on practical effects and elaborately-crafted physical worlds and goes light on the CGI, which basically amounts to a minor miracle in the 2019 entertainment landscape. We’ve sang the praises of this show on the site many times already, and now Netflix has released a blooper reel which gives us a humorous behind-the-scenes look at what happened when things went wrong on the set. Check it out below. Read More »
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, take a deep dive into the evolution of Muppet technology with a special focus on The Dark Crystal and the 30 years it took to eventually make The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Plus, a professional dialect coach reviews more actors attempts at doing the personal idiolects of real people like Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Jennifer Lopez runs through the history of music video dancing with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Read More »
Posted on Friday, September 6th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
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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It’s been 37 years since audiences first discovered the enchanting world of Thra, a mystical land filled with magic, evil, and hope. In Jim Henson’s 1982 film, The Dark Crystal, Thra was a broken place, ravaged by genocide, drained nearly to the point of extinction by the greed of the Skeskis, vulture-like creatures who had misappropriated the power of the Crystal of Truth in their power-hungry quest for domination and immortality.
In the film, the Skesis had wiped out the Gelflings, an elf-like species, by using the Crystal to drain the creatures of their very life force, or essence, in a bid to obtain eternal life. But the Skesis are dying, their emperor collapses into a heap of ash, and the Crystal has turned a dark purple, polluted by the Skesis, and in turn, polluting much of Thra. Outside of the dark and twisted husk of the Crystal Castle, where the Skesis reside, the land is blackened and cracked, pulsing with surges of electricity.
But how did Thra really come to such a dark chapter in its history? That’s where The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance comes in, coloring in the vast background and history that led to the events of the 1982 film. With Age of Resistance, Thra comes to exquisite life, expanding far beyond the confines of the Skesis’ castle, introducing a lush and varied land akin to that of Westeros or Middle-Earth, populated by not just two Gelfling, but seven different clans: The Dousan, The Drenchen, The Grottan, The Sifa, The Spriton, The Stonewood, and the Vapra.
Naturally, major spoilers are ahead.
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It’s been 36 years since Jim Henson released the The Dark Crystal, and the rich world of his groundbreaking fantasy film is still fresh in fans’ minds. Which presented somewhat of a challenge for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance production designer Gavin Bocquet.
Bocquet is no stranger to a big fantastical production. He has worked on the big-budget Star Wars prequels, flowery fantasy films like Stardust, and Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But he felt the immense pressure of expanding on the wholly unique world of Henson’s The Dark Crystal. “It was a huge film when it came out,” Bocquet said. “It affected an awful lot of people in a certain age group, maybe late 30s, early 40s — film people who are directors now, or designers now, or concept people… But we felt to get the audience to connect with us, we really had to get that look of the movie right.”
That proved to be more of a difficulty than Bocquet anticipated, he said in an extensive phone interview with /Film. The original designs and blueprints by The Dark Crystal director Jim Henson and his original production designers Harry Lange and Brian Froud, had all but disappeared. “Things weren’t archived as well in the early ’80s as they would be now,” Bocquet said. “There was no digital backup of the sets that were made in the original film so we had to rely on Jim Henson’s library of photographs and some basic set plans.”
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Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 by Fred Topel
Netflix doesn’t only bring back TV shows like Full House, Arrested Development, Designated Survivor and Lucifer. They bring back movies, too. Netflix gave the Jim Henson Company a home for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a new 10 episode prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson-directed movie.
Writers Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews pitched the show and produce it alongside Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Louis Leterrier directs the all-new tale of Gelflings, Skeksis and many more creatures in the world of Thra. The Jim Henson Creature shop brings them to life, utilizing the voices of celebrities like Anya Taylor-Joy, Taron Egerton, Caitriona Balfe, Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key, Simon Pegg and many more.
Addiss, Matthews and Grillo-Marxuach spoke with /Film about the development of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, who reveal that they originally set out to make a sequel to a different Henson classic. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance arrives on Friday, August 30 on Netflix.
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When The Dark Crystal hit theaters in 1982, it looked like no other movie. That’s not only because the fantasy adventure film was populated exclusively by puppets, but because director Jim Henson crafted an entirely original, rich fantasy world that was fully formed the moment it appeared onscreen. Soon, the Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will return to that fantasy world and transform it into something more vibrant and lavish than before. Find out how they did it in the new The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance featurette.
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Who knew puppets could be this intense? The trailer for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance gives us a fresh look at the new Netflix series, and it’s loaded with epic action that puts most live-action Hollywood blockbusters to shame. The series is a prequel to the cult classic 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal and boasts an impressive voice cast that includes Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Mark Hamill. Watch The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance trailer below.
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Netflix isn’t immune to Hollywood’s obsession with digging back into the past for a dose of nostalgia in their entertainment line-up. This time they’re reaching into cult territory with a revival of The Dark Crystal, the fantasy adventure film from Jim Henson that fascinated audiences in 1982 and continues to be a retro favorite for many cinephiles. But instead of your average feature film sequel, Netflix is unleashing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a prequel series with an all-star cast and state-of-the-art puppetry.
Executive producer Lisa Henson was joined by director Louis Leterrier and stars Taron Egerton and Mark Hamill to talk about how the unlikely prequel series came to be at The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Comic-Con panel, and they showed attendees the first episode of the Netflix series. See our reaction to the first episode of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance below. Read More »
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is reviving the classic fantasy world created by The Jim Henson Company. But this time, we’re flashing back long before the events of the 1982 film The Dark Crystal. The prequel series coming to Netflix brings back puppetry in an epic fashion, showing us what might be the most meticulously crafted puppet-led series ever produced. Watch The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance trailer that just debuted at Comic-Con to see even more of the series. Read More »