For many the title The Dark Crystal is an instant link to their childhood. To one of Jim Henson’s first movies that was original. It was original in many ways because of Jim Henson almost wizard like skills with puppeteering and storytelling. Tough just as many might put it into the category of movies that scared you as a kid. And that’s fair, but I’ll be upfront and admit to my youth. I didn’t watch The Dark Crystal until I was an adult, but I was more than excited when Netflix announced they were making a prequel series to the movie. Now the time has come and The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance is out for all to see and there is a lot to unpack.
The story can simply be explained as the prequel to The Dark Crystal. Trying to explain it all would be like trying to explain the details of The Silmarillion. When boiled down it’s a fantasy series that explains how the decrypted bird-like Skeksis take control of the world of Thra. They have taken control of the crystal of truth and used it to obtain immortality. Soon however they have corrupted the crystal to the point that the crystal only takes life not gives it. But the Skeksis Scientist (voiced by Mark Hamill) has discovered another way to steal the essence from the Gelfling race. The series follows 3 different Gelflings as they answer a calling to save their people and their world.
So overall the story is wholly unique and will be hard-pressed to find another series to match it. This makes it a must-watch for any fan of fantasy. Looking past the fantasy aspect, there are tones of political intrigue, romance, racism, slavery, and climate responsibility. In fact, I might venture to say that this series will fill in the void left by Game of Thrones. This is also were the weaker point of the story comes out. Because it’s a prequel you kind of know the ending. But the journey along the way is mesmerizing.
I do have one reason that everyone should see this series if they aren’t fans of fantasy, and it’s the fact that Jim Henson’s studios are the lead studio. This studio has continued Jim’s creative mission with puppetry. This series mixes beautify created puppets and sets with expertise in computer-generated effects. It blew my mind at how complex some of these sets are and the details in individual puppets. They were able to project a wide range of emotions through the faces of the puppets. While CGI is used, it’s not abused. The CGI is used to enhance the emersion in the story.
Then there’s the team-up between puppeteer and actors. Many of the puppeteers have worked in Sesame Street so are familiar with high professionalism of being a puppeteer on Jim Henson’s project. The cast that lends their voices to the characters is a range themselves. As I mentioned Mark Hamill is one of these actors. There is also Simon Pegg who voices another Skekis that viewers of the movie will remember this character as the one that hummed like a whale. Other castmates include Game of Throne Alumn Nathalie Emmanuel, Ralph Ineson, Leana Headey, and NatalieDormer. Other noteworthy names on the cast include Taron Egerton, Benedict Wong, Jason Issacs, Keegan-Michael Key, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sigourney Weaver.
At the end of the series is a behind the scene special. It covers the making of the series and shows the hard work that went into the making of the series. The audience can see just how much love and respect the entire cast and crew had. They all wanted to make sure they made Jim Henson proud. For those watching with kids, it offers a look into how everything was made.
Netflix has brought to air a truly unique series that feels like Jim Henson got the chance to make his own Game of Thrones. So with that in mind, there are some scenes that are dark and can scare kids. Just because this has the magic of the Muppets does not mean it’s for kids. There are dark tones and violent moments. So for those that have seen the original or are wanting a fantasy fix that can match Game of Thrones then I can’t recommend it enough. The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance is 4.5 out of 5.