This post will not make me popular so it's a good thing writing is not meant to be a popularity contest. I am about to mostly deride a film many adults hold dear as a childhood classic. If you love The Dark Crystal so much that you can't bear to read a single word against it, perhaps this isn't the post for you. There will be spoilers and mockery. If you love The Dark Crystal but are open to admitting it's flaws then we can agree to disagree and all have a little laugh together.
The Dark Crystal: A Live Blog
Although Nathan suggested I watch this with the sound off, I’m going in all senses blazing. I’m going to have the full Henson experience. Though from what I remember it is visually glorious and audibly wretched so... I'm braced for anything.
:39 I do enjoy a film that starts with a dramatic storm and use of the word “shard” in voiceover.
1:40 The Skeksis have ruled for 1000 years and look it. They are appropriately gnarled and ancient. Which, since this is a kids’ film, translates to “evil”. Also the voiceover guy has a British accent. So obviously he’s evil too.
3:09 Brian Froud’s name just appeared in the credits. I love Brian Froud’s fairy books.
3:46 So the Skeksis look vaguely like vultures. Like corpsey turtle-vultures.
4:47 The Mystics live in harmony with zen gardens and golden light in the desert and look vaguely like kindly less pointy dog-Skeksis. This is like Romulus and Vulcan in Trek lore. Except with 100% more puppetry.
5:50 Ugh, the gelfling. Jen? Gen? Anyway it’s a boy. This elf-thing is “the chosen one”, the sole survivor of his race, facing an epic journey which is fairly standard fantasy fare. Bilbo, Frodo, Atreyu, Luke, Neo, etc, etc.
9:41 I zoned out on exposition that I think basically says the gelfling is being sent on a mission to bring peace to the world or something.
11:27 The Big Bad, the Emperor Skeksis, is... possibly the vilest puppet ever made this side of Chucky. I’m assuming the disintegration scene was actually filmed because there’s no way anyone would want that thing hanging around in a closet somewhere.
13:00 The head Mystic died in a flurry of sparkles! That’s the difference between good and evil. Sparkles versus ash.
15:00 Naturally the Skeksis are all at each other’s throats to be leader but the Mystics are just strumming guitars and raking circles in their zen gardens.
15:46 I don’t know what “trial by stone” is but it does sound promising in the sense that action will happen.
16:55 I’m not sure it qualifies as trial by STONE if they’re using swords.
17:27 So this is like some kind of perversion of Sword in the Stone wherein each vulture has to thwack at the stone with the sword until they destroy it. And then they become Emperor. After the challenger is killed. Because obviously any reign that starts with battery and murder is going to be a good one.
19:36 Oh, fail! They didn’t even kill the challenger Skeksis! They just stripped him. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse for a kids’ movie.
20:30 The crystal is showing them the gelfling and they’re terrified because a prophesy says a gelfling will destroy them. I feel very much the same way.
21:22 Are those beetles? I think their soldiers are beetles.
22:36 The gelfling’s mouth doesn’t really move much. He looks consistently stunned.
23:10 The old lady has a removable eyeball.
24:04 The voice acting is so... dramatic. (That was the kindest word of all the ones in my head.)
25:53 Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, we discover that the old lady is into steampunk.
27:31 The gelfling keeps calling the old lady “Augra” but I do think it’s actually an affected version of “ogre”. She’s an ogre with a French twist.
29:09 Beetle rampage! I bet that’s not the first time that sentence has ever been typed.
30:32 Disgraced naked Skeksis is of course following the gelfling.
34:20 Is that a feral Tribble?
34:36 Aw great. There are two gelflings. This one is blonde and female and named Kira. She talks like a breathy Betty Boop. I sense romance.
35:59 They’re telepathic so we’re getting a sort of over-lapping montage of gelfling memories as they bond. It’s twice as painful as it sounds.
37:44 I’m sorry to say I kind of get why the Skeksis killed the gelflings off.
39:26 Because evil in a kids’ movie needs to be fully reprehensible on every level and not nuanced in any way, the Skeksis are also wasters of food and horribly messy eaters. In addition to being argumentative and ugly. With beetle soldiers and a penchant for stripping each other.
42:07 Things are looking up! There are bats!
42:38 I may be new at this secret mission thing but I’m fairly sure that singing and playing a flute while in a boat on open water is not a very stealthy way to travel. Gelflings are not ninjas, let me be the first to say it.
44:00 Now of course I want a spy-cam bat of my own.
44:40 Mushroom people? Either way, it’s obviously been far too long without a puppet folk-rave. So let’s have that now.
48:24 How much are mushroom people worth on the open market? I’m asking for a friend.
50:00 “Oh Jen! You hurt your arm. Here, this moss will make it better.” So she mashes a handful of moss into his open wound. Even in puppet-logic that is twisted.
55:10 What do Skeksis have against prepositions, I wonder?
56:50 As annoying as I find Kira I have to admit Jen would be absolutely nowhere without her. He’s utterly useless.
58:39 Mushroom people are drained of their “vital essence” and turned into mindless slaves by the Skeksis. Oddly this reminds me of Dr. Strangelove and the bodily fluids speech.
1:02:10 Kira has wings. Only girls get them, apparently, which is weird but I approve.
1:03:20 I am fairly certain that is a puppet-sized version of the Temple of Doom entrance.
1:06:17 The voice acting is... piercing.
1:07:21 Yes, drain essence THEN kill! Priorities.
1:10:34 Kira is instigating a full-scale lab animal mutiny through the power of her ‘song’.
1:11:25 A Skeksis just died in a fiery pit and somewhere on a desert plain a Mystic just blipped out of existence. Unbidden, Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’ pops into my head. Which is pretty much the entire mythology of the Skeksis summarized in a song title.
1:15:58 Jen has been wandering around looking for the dark crystal as though it isn’t a giant floating purple piece of obvious in the middle of the room.
1:17:06 “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be gelflings...”
1:19:05 If living forever is all the Skeksis want I could have greatly improved this film by adding a vampire.
1:19:54 Honestly, what’s the worst they’re going to do here? Strip him?
1:20:27 The Tribble just got offed! They’re unpleasant in any fandom, apparently.
1:21:29 The merciful thing about Kira being dead is that now gelflings are no longer possible.
1:22:30 The unified crystal, no longer dark, is killing the beetle soldiers, freeing the mushroom people slaves, and causing an earthquake.
1:23:35 False alarm: the Tribble is alive. Kids’ movies. *sigh*
1:24:50 The Mystics and the Skeksis are now fusing into single beings that look like... luminescent trees? Caped trees?
1:27:00 The resurrection of Kira. Seriously. And now, having bestowed the ‘gift’ of gelfling romance on us, the tree people leave and there are no more Skeksis, no more spy bats, no more beetles, no more Mystics, and the world will be overrun with gelflings before anybody can stop them.
- Corinne Simpson