The Dark Crystal
It's the first entry of 2022. Happy New Year! We are in the middle of January, Corona is still here, it is cold and pretty white snow has become grey slippery ice gunk. It certainly does not feel like a celebration, but the word "2022" still makes me happy. And you know what, I'll take it! I watched The Dark Crystal and I wrote this. There's not lot of spoilers. It is my account of the movie and likely inaccurate.
I thought The Dark Crystal was really bad! But then it got really good.
I hated the first 40 minutes. Mostly because I hated the Skeksis. They're the ugliest things I'd ever seen. They look like a bunch of lint rolled around in compost. They have mouths, they have teeth, and worst of all they have saliva! A drippy, sticky substance covered their bodies and little pieces of hair flung about as they talked with their big bird mouths. You might think that, they're so ugly in appearance, they must have hearts of gold. But no. They're equally gross in personality as they are in appearance. They scream over each-other like my loud relatives at Thanksgiving. The movie had been playing for a good half hour, but very little happened. All we know is that there's a young boy named Jen, who is to find a crystal so the world wouldn't be destroyed. A bunch of thousand-year-old birds with 7 arms and legs called "Skeksis" are trying to kill him. The Skeksis think that once the world is destroyed, they'll take over the world. They didn't think it through. Or they are thousands of years old. Whichever one came first. Well, the hero Jen, is a bit clueless as well. He doesn't know where to start and just spends his time moping about in a cave. He does not find the crystal, and the Skeksis are sitting in their tinfoil jackets and eating chicken bones they found in the trash. Maybe they are trash. I am not sure. They keep throwing food around and the rats are eating it in the same place they are. It's hard to tell. This takes up the entire first 40 minutes.
And then an old witch appears. She has horns. Her face looks like a soccer ball had fell on it. The skin on her chest is saggy. She is totally not wearing a bra! Her boobs are huge and you can see all of it through the dress she's wearing, which is boho style because it is going to fall off of her at any moment.
At this point, I thought: How could Jim Henson, the guy who made Kermit the Frog and Cookie Monster, possibly have made something this gross? Should I turn it off? I sat there staring at the screen, unable to move. I was entranced, even if it is gross. Maybe because it is gross. Everything in this movie is moving. I mean, actually moving. Even the stuff that shouldn't move, like the plants! And they have texture. They look like you could reach in and touch them and bend them around. All the characters are puppets made out of real parts. And they walk around in that world free of human hands going inside of them for some magic reason*. Those bits of saliva-like things that I hate so much? Somebody put them there on purpose... and thought: “What material would make the perfect saliva?”, “How would I move these puppets so that the saliva stays intact?”. This creative team not only decided that the old lady would not be wearing a bra, they also hand-made her nipples. This is another level.
By the 45 minute mark, it was like a switch turned off and I got accustomed to the grossness. I'd been saying “EWWW” so many times that my EWW muscles got bored and went to sleep. And I watched the rest of the story in peace. It was very touching and I ended up liking it very much. I even liked the witch with saggy boobs. I still don't like the Skeksis. But that's okay. Please go check out The Dark Crystal if you haven't already. I think you'll like it. It was not well received at first, but it is considered an iconic movie, and I can see the reason for both of these things.
*It is not magic. But it is not CGI either, they are controlled by a mechanic controller from far away, from what I gather.
EDIT: I am not certain if the Skeksis have saliva. They may or may not have saliva. But it 100% feels like they have saliva.