We must restore the dark crystal
As I mentioned in my post about Labyrinth, today, I am going to talk about another creation by the same director: The Dark Crystal.
The story takes place in another world. They tell us that once, there was a time of prosperity, thanks to the Crystal of Truth. But one day the crystal fragmented. At the same time, a race called urskeks, divided into two races: the mystics and the skekses. The mystic were magicians who lived in continuous meditation and obtained their magic from nature. The skekses were a mixture of reptiles and rotten vultures, who only wanted power and eternal life. They drew energy from their environment until they exhausted it. They also stole the vital essence of other creatures, to prolong their lives.
Although both races lived very far from each other, they were interconnected: When a mystic was injured or died, the same happened to his skekses counterpart and vice versa. Something very similar to a conflict between Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The Skekses, although very powerful, were afraid of a prophecy: When a conjunction of the three suns occurred, a being, from a race known as gelflings (a species of horse-faced small elves) would restore the crystal and thus would put an end to the wickedness of the skekses. To prevent the prophecy from happening, the skekses exterminated all the gelflings.
But the mystics managed to protect one of them: a boy named Jen. They raised him and taught him their wisdom. They also taught him to read and write.
The story begins
A thousand years later, only ten of the mystics and ten of the skekses remain. But not for long: their leaders are dying. Skekses no longer can draw energy from the crystal, and consequently, mystics cannot survive either.
But something is about to change: The great conjunction is near. Before dying, the leader of the mystics entrusts Jen with the mission of restoring the crystal. The skekses soon learn of Jen’s existence and send their minions (giant crab-beetles called garthim warriors and bats that act as spy drones) to pursue him.
The first thing Jen will have to do is look for the witch Aughra, who knows where the missing fragment is. Then he must go to the crystal castle, get past all the garthim guards and the skekses themselves, and put the shard back in place. Easy, right?
The hero’s journey
But Jen will not be alone in this adventure. He will soon discover that he is not the only survivor of his race: He will meet another gelfling who, conveniently, is female. Her name is Kira. She grew up with her family for a time, and when the skekses killed them, she took refuge in a village of another race, known as podlings. She has the power to communicate with animals, which will come in handy later.
When they first meet, they also exchange telepathic messages telling their stories. Later on, we also learn that female gelflings have wings. Another very useful thing for adventure.
It was the first film made only with puppets and mobile stages. They were inspired by the seven deadly sins to design the skekses, but since there were nine of them, they had to repeat sins.
There is a memorable scene, in which the girl calls out to some long-legged quadruped creatures known as stilt walkers and the two heroes climb onto their back to ride towards the castle.
In 2019, Netflix released a series, which would be a prequel of the film, called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I haven’t seen it yet, but it won’t be long. Then I’ll tell you what I thought.
A video game named after the movie has been made. I haven’t played it either, but I won’t be long. I just hope it still runs on modern machines.
Some critics seem to confirm something that happened to me the first time I watched it, when I was a child. They say that the film is not exactly aimed at a child audience, because it is too complex in some respects.
I remember that at the time, I did not fully understand the relationship between mystics and skekses. I needed to watch it several times and pay close attention to the final scene to understand it, but the explanation is definitely there.
Other critics have said that the story takes a back seat and the display of puppets and sets takes over. In my opinion, that adds even more beauty to the film.
Here the trailer:
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