“I will dream-fast with you” – The Dark Crystal, a Brief Review

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is the magical 10-episode long prequel series to the 1982 movie Dark Crystal. It’s a bit of Dune (giant worms), a bit of Avatar (fauna), a bit of Hunger Games and The 100. Both films are a marvel of puppetry and world-building. In additional to beautiful, alien landscapes, we find that some of the beast species in the series are nothing like the creatures on Earth, while others are alternate versions of chihuahuas, spiders or horses. There are three (known) species of intelligent sentient beings, some of whom have several races.

Skeksis are extraterrestrials who have governed the planet for so long that they are believed to be immortal. They look like vultures and behave like eccentric, misanthropic billionaires. They remind me of Trump and his ilk, of the 1%, and of the Walton family of billionaires–of Walmart notoriety–for their narcissism, their hatred of the working class, and their manipulative ways.

Gelflings are a miniature, faery-like humanity. They are most human in that they exhibit a strong tendency to place blind faith in things unworthy of loyalty. They also come in seven different “flavors”: seven clans inhabit different habitats (the blue-skinned desert Gelflings and the green-skinned cave Gelflings are the most exotic ones).

Podlings are human-like, but tiny and more primitive. They lack writing, speak a different language, and normally dwell in pods of certain trees. They love music and are in every way adorable.

While most modern movies employ CGI for their fantastic imagery, and very often they show great artistic ability and sophistication that must be praised, TDC appears to stick to puppets, at least for the main action. The work makes us fall in love with the art of puppetry again.

Everyone loves a story of uprising of the underdog against tyranny. The title of this review (“I will dream-fast with you“) refers to the willingness to entertain dangerous, seditious opinions while coming from a Skeksis-fearing society. In the new Dark Crystal, the awakening of the Gelflings contains what might be interpreted as an atheist under-current, although others might see it as an Avatar-like uprising of an innocent primitive race against a more evil species. The series can help to teach children (and remind adults) the importance of critical thinking, and of questioning traditional authority. It is for these reasons mainly that I recommend The Dark Crystal to all audiences. I also believe that it is important to nurture our inner child and our creativity, and beautifully executed works of fantasy help with that.

Another film that had an atheist theme was Sausage Party–which was a delicious and VERY smart comedy.

About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' (Humanist Press, 2014) and 'How to Live a Good Life' (Penguin Random House, 2020), and founder of societyofepicurus.com. He's also written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
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