Thursday, 14 July 2005

The Power of the Dark Crystal

Perusing the latest Dreamwatch magazine, I was delighted to note that the first sequel to The Dark Crystal (1982) is in production. This will form the foundation of a new franchise.

Jim Henson's original opus, inspired by the works of Brian Froud, enthralled me as a young child. However, that first fateful viewing at the ABC Cinema was a little too intense - Garthim and Skeksis anyone? Rediscovering it in 1999 I was beguiled by its lyrical beauty once again!



Synopsis taken from the novel The Dark Crystal by A.C.H. Smith:

In a faraway world a mighty astronomical event is about to occur, the Great Conjunction of the planet's Three Suns. At this time, the cruel Skeksis who rule this world from the castle of the Dark Crystal are frightened to learn that an ancient prophecy may be coming true: A survivor of the Gelfling, an elfin race they thought they had destroyed, is seeking to restore the missing shard of the Dark Crystal before the moment of the Great Conjunction, thus ending the tyranny of the Skeksis. Hidden in the valley of the urRu, young Jen the Gelfling has been raised by a tribe of mystics and knows little of the world outside, but know his Master's dying words have charged him with his mission to find the lost shard before it is too late. Traveling through many strange places and encountering many extraordinary beings, Jen races against time to unravel the mystery of his quest and save his world from the forces of evil.

The adventures of Jen and Kira outshone the Muppet antics of Return of the Jedi (1983). The latter was derided by Starlog magazine for blatantly reprising the former's mythological narratives. It's debatable that this was deliberate and certainly the comparisons are inescapable, but The Dark Crystal treats its target audience with greater intelligence.

The inevitable soundtrack score by Trevor Jones, which I still own on single vinyl LP, deserves masterpiece status. John Williams referenced its textured sounds in Revenge of the Sith (2005). As an amusing aside, I fondly recall playing with Masters of the Universe action figures whilst listening to The Dark Crystal Overture.

The Froud's, Brian and Wendy, often frequented my Mother's clothing store in Exeter and would insist that she served them. Wendy Froud's most famous puppet sculpt isn't ashamed of being green. Master Yoda. Love the Star Wars connections that criss-cross my private life.