Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Dark Crystal, Part 3: You Are Not Alone

The Gelflings reunited.

There is a new Gelfling!  And it is a girl!  Imagine if you spent your whole life as the only one of your species and suddenly you discovered that there is another one just like you of the opposite sex.  What would be the first thing you'd do?  The correct answer is Dreamfast!

Despite its name, Dreamfasting involves neither dreams, nor fasting.  It is more like a blending of memories between two people at once.  It should really be called a Thoughtbinge.

As the two Gelflings grab hands, they each reveal their side of the story.  After the Skeksis destroyed their clan, baby Jen was adopted by the Mystics and baby Kira (the girlfling) was found by the Podlings.  She grew up with them, aware of the Skeksis threat, but unaware of the mythology of the world.  Kira decides to take Jen to her home, along with her ball-dog Fizzgig.

I am a mockery of life.

Meanwhile, in the Castle Grayskull, the Skeksis are enjoying a well-deserved feast in an excruciatingly long eating scene that rivals that of Tom Jones.

Come for the atmosphere, stay for the buffet!

Their spread is interrupted by the arrival of the Garthim who present their capture of Aughra.  She yells at them for getting her involved in their silly dispute and then warns them that the prophecy spells out their demise and they have done nothing but act foolishly.  The Emperor then sends out his Crystal Bats who can report back to the castle with better results than the mindless Garthim.  One manages to spot our two new friends sharing an intimate musical moment.

We're on a boat!

This river scene goes by in half a minute, but behind the scenes, this was one of the hardest shots to film.  With multiple animals on the riverside and a huge tank of water, this was highly difficult for the puppeteers to perform.  Because so much effort went into it, I felt it was only right to acknowledge that for a moment.

The two Gelflings are forming a fast bond over the fact that they can barely move their mouths, but they seem to have accepted the whole "not alone in the universe" thing rather quickly.  Dreamfasting was good to speed things along, but this relationship could have been so much deeper.  But no time for the complexities of the Gelflings!  The Podlings are here!

*Enter Star Wars Cantina Theme*

These creatures are like Fraggles before Fraggles were even imagined.  They are small pudgy things with round faces and beady eyes who love to dance and sing and play and seem not to have a care in the world.  Their design was based on potatoes to show how "of the earth" they were.  Originally, they were supposed to have misplaced eyes like potatoes, but that looked too creepy.

Anyway, Jen and Kira enjoy their feast with the Ewoks when suddenly, more Garthim crash in and start kidnapping folks left and right.  Jen manages to hold a few of them of with his crystal, but the monsters are too overpowering.  When all hope seems lost, a surprising hero steps in and allows the Gelflings to escape.  It is the skekSil the Chamberlain!

I couldn't find a picture of the above awesome scene, but rest assured, the Mystics are still walking.

Free from danger, Jen suspects the Garthim had found him again and apologizes for putting everyone in harms way.  In an angsty temper-tantrum, he wishes he had never been assigned this quest and he throws his crystal far away!  Kira tries to calm him by explaining that the Garthim often come to Endor looking for slaves, so nothing is Jen's fault.  But the stiff-faced puppet is too upset to listen and goes to sleep.

All tuckered out.

In the morning, Jen wakes up in the arms of Kira, puts one notch in the flower-bedpost, and discovers that they have made it to some decaying ruins.  Kira tells him that the Gelflings used to live here and now it's just a row of strip malls.  She also finds his crystal, so that sudden plot point was unnecessary.

On the walls, Jen spots the ancient prophecy and reads it to Kira, who has never encountered this newfangled "writing" concept before.  He realizes that he must restore the Dark Crystal by placing his shard in it.  I thought we already knew that, but in case you needed your memory refreshed, you're welcome!

"Don't...step...on...the...mome raths?"

Suddenly, the best character returns to the movie!  The Chamberlain appears and tries to speak with the Gelflings.  Kira recognizes him as a Skeksis and tries to warn Jen not to trust him.  But the pitiful creature explains that he is on their side.  He tells them that he had saved them from the Garthim before and that he has been shunned from his group.  He goes on to say that the Skeksis are all frightened of the prophecy because their existence would be erased.  He offers a sort of peace treaty in order to look out for everyone's best interest.

Remember how I said the Skeksis originally did not speak English?  Had that stayed true, this would have been the first time we heard the Chamberlain talk.  His stilted speech would become even more baby-like as he would be speaking his first words.  And since his first words are those of peace, you would have to ask yourself, would you trust him?

His own people abandoned him.  He has no family or friends.  His prophecized demise is about to occur.

Hasn't he suffered enough to earn your trust?

How could you say "no" to that face?

Find out Jen's answer tomorrow during Part 4, where we learn about the true power of the Dark Crystal!


  1. He's just out for himself, whereas one of the deceased Skeksis really wanted to atone.

    1. That deceased Skeksis is skekGra, the Heretic. skekSil was banished because he wanted power. skekGra was banished because he saw the truth.