Netflix’s ‘The Dark Crystal; Age of Resistance’ succeeds as a nostalgic prequel

The mind that filled our nostalgic childhood with singing green frogs and musical puppets also gave us nightmares. The new “Dark Crystal; Age of Resistance” satisfies viewers of the original film who had unanswered questions. With the original now 37 years old, the franchise is remembered by few. This cult-classic turned Netflix series is complete with puppetry, massive sets, and great actors. I happily binged all 10 episodes and can easily say I was stunned. As a long time fan of Jim Henson, the magic of puppetry in film was no surprise, however, I was shocked at the seamless use of CGI. “Age of Resistance” is the epitome of the high-fantasy genre. I finished the show with tears in my eyes and leaning on the edge of my seat. Nothing sparked that nostalgic childhood in me like true Henson puppetry. The Gelfling this time around were echoes of the originals. Designers that worked on the first film were brought on to add nostalgia to each of the 110 puppets. Every pore and blemish in their skin is a reflection of who they are. Characters such as Brea who are Vapran, royal, and higher-class, have perfect bluish skin with silver-blonde hair. When she is damaged emotionally, her body and texture express it. Other stars such as Deet the Grottan, is always messy and careless with her appearance. This expression of character through appearance mirrors that of humans. Just about everything on screen took many people to create. The love and passion put into the puppeteering are clearly shown and absolutely unforgettable.

 Right from the start, the child-like fear that the Skeksis caused in me was back again. The nightmarish creatures with their skeletal bodies and grotesque, fish-like skin keep their horrific charm. You are deeply involved in the world of Thra every minute. It grasps ahold of your imagination and heart, pulling you into its mythology. 

The entire series is Froudian, a term similar to Orwellian which you may remember from reading 1985 in your freshman year. It means that it gives off the characteristics of the creator. Froudian means to have meaningful lines, flowing structures, and purpose in everything. It’s beautiful and unique in its own way. The designs of the creatures of Thra, even the landscape itself had to be individually crafted. It brings a sense of realism to the screen, knowing that no props were bought. They were all created for the purpose of Thra. Age of Resistance follows the story of truth, as discovered by three Gelfling. These three represent traits needed in order for rebellion to occur. Brea of the Vapran represents the desire for truth. Deet of the Grottan represents understanding and kindness. Rian of the Stonewood represents bravery and sacrifice. These traits, combined with those of their friends send a message to those who see a flaw in their world. It gives us, the viewers, a reason to make a change for the better.

Though the series is a drama/fantasy, there are still many elements of comedy. The mother of Thra, Aughra provides hilarious comedic relief as she casually strolls into danger. Oh, you know the Skeksis will not hesitate to completely decimate you? Yeah, just walk right into their spa and argue with the scroll keeper in the bathtub. Nothing could go wrong. Having trouble finding the song of Thra? Just scream at a tree and draw with some sand that’ll work. All her scenes are great, even those that are intended to be sad for others, are a joke to her. I supposed being a prophet isn’t that depressing. Another favorite of mine when it comes to comedic scenes is ‘The Deterge’, a community service act of bathing podlings who despise cleanliness. On top of that, princess Brea, a Vapran, the most snobby clan there is-is forced to do such a task. These light-hearted scenes help you forget that the world around them is slowly decaying. 

After watching “Age of Resistance”, I realized there’s a lot we can learn from it. Themes such as diversity, courage, and following your heart are prominent in each episode. Within Thra, the seven clans of Gelfling despise each other. They believe they are better than one another when in reality, they are one and the same. It is that division, and hatred towards others just because they are different that makes them a little bit more human. Another curious and important theme was that of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the nature of the Gelfling, and therefore it must be implemented into their lives. They forgive one another, as is contrasted with the Skeksis, who punish any who fail. We, as humans can learn from this show, and could better ourselves if we unite as one. We don’t all have to agree, we don’t all have to think the same, but we must share a passion for something. The actors and storytellers in “Age of Resistance” beautifully capture it all.

The dedication, creativity, and passion that it took to make this series happen are incredible. It is absolutely worth a watch, whether it be for the sake of nostalgia, or to indulge yourself in an epic fantasy adventure.

Brian Froud once said: ”The challenge is it’s got to be different, but it’s got to be meaningful. How do you find meaning in a line?”