Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Habits of the Habitual Viewer: Yep, I'm a Crystal-Head

But it wasn't always this way. And, really, what's the point of reading a review now? Now that the 30th Anniversary is fast approaching? Guess I'd better get it on Blu-Ray at some point (hint hint) even though I'll probably be the only one I know who'd ever watch it.
No, the real review to read is one from the time of its release. Critics of the time surely were disappointed by the ending, even though the film overly preps you for it. It was the 80s, man! Films were supposed to have a proper ending! Good guy shoots the bad guy, gets the girl, bad guy reaches for gun one last time, you get the idea.
The other thought I had was that it's the culmination of Henson's personal philosophy of combining things. I believe it all started when Ernie and Bert played drums on Sesame Street. The two of them drumming at the same time was way more fun than Bert all by himself, sorry to say. Then, of course, there's Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, where Emmet's group and Emmet's mom enter the same music contest. They might have won if they played together, but alas, a Skeksis-esque rock group won the top prize. Which brings us full circle, back to The Dark Crystal. Back to a time when a 15 million dollar budget on a movie was really saying something. Hell, Raiders cost 20!
So to wrap this up, I confess that when I sit down to watch a movie that I've seen a gillion times before, I will typically jump to my favorite parts. But I do like seeing the beginning, with some of the strangest music for a movie you've heard, and certainly one wouldn't expect from the likes of Jim Henson. And be sure to crank up your TV's volume to 100 just before 0:34:15. You'll never forget it. The image is from 1:11:23, a point at which we're beginning to suspect that the Skeksis and the Mystics are somehow connected. Other musical flourishes I like: 0:14:00-Jen journeys alone; 0:25:06 - Aughra's study (I know, I know, they're the same), 0:31:17 - the Mystics start their journey to the castle. That's different! ...I guess that's about it. Oh, and being a part-time gourmand, I do have a short list of food movies. There's of course Soylent Green, but only because Heston and Robinson have a scene where they're savouring some nice rare strawberry jam. And I used to love to eat spaghetti while watching GoodFellas, also a good food movie. Big Night, haven't seen it in a while. But you gotta love the Skeksis banquet at 0:39:07 or so... "Seems to me that Gelfling... has escaped!" Apparently they had chow mein as well. Great scene. The Dark Crystal's a tale of good and evil, but clearly the evil ones are more fun to watch. Need I mention they were probably going for a French aristocracy look with the Skeksis? I haven't yet calculated the total screen time of the Skeksis yet, but I'll venture a guess they're on more than any other species. And of course, the Trial by Stone sequence is one for the ages.
A sequel is still on the slate, but it would seem that Frank Oz won't be involved. The creator of Dexter's Lab is going to direct. I guess Seth MacFarlane's unavailable. But for those of you who nitpick every film, I'll give you a little something. Now I'm no geologist, but it seems to me that you can't "heal" a crystal by putting a piece back into it that fell out. You'd have to sotter it or something! Or dunk it in some kind of a mineral bath! And The Journey of Jen? He knows where the shard is! Aughra has it. Isn't this more or less like a kid going to a friend's house? Only, over a greater distance and without a minivan... ah, skip it.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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