Scary Muppets

For Halloween I thought I’d look at something pretty scary, so I went ahead and watched the new Dark Crystal prequel and see if it shattered my childhood (it didn’t.) or be something new that I’d wish I’d been a part of creating (it was.) and if, like The original, it would become something I watched over and over again. (It will be.)

You know, because you’ve seen the original that none of the gelflings are going to make it…but it’s just so good!

Writing

Tying up a longer product I’m working on, in preparation for NaNoWriMo. I wanted to start a new composition on November first, because of the commitment it symbolizes to me that this is what I do now. 

Television

Okay, so— Netflix The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Holy cow, how did I avoid this for so long? When I was a kid, the Dark Crystal was among one of my favorite films, and when I heard there was going to be a prequel style series, I was all on board. Then it became one of the many things in my Netflix list that just sat there. I couldn’t figure out why. 

When I went to see the original in the theater it was Jim Henson’s next big thing. No one had ever seen anything like it or frankly since, until now. There’d been plenty of puppet shows, but this kind of a full-scale thing, where everything from the puppets to the props to the world of Thra itself has all been painstakingly designed. Not to mention that this is a prequel to a movie made thirty years ago, and the characters are practically immortal. Chamberlain looks like he’s wearing the same red robes he’s always worn. There is such detail that you believe it all exists in that world. 

My original problem, I think, is that I knew it was really about a larger cast of Gelflings, and could I make the emotional journey necessary to follow a group of characters that I know don’t make it out alive? I mean, at the beginning of the Dark Crystal film, we know the Skeksis to be perpetrators of a genocidal attack on the Gelfling due to a prophecy, killing all but a final two (is that a reverse Adam and Eve?) but these heroes, no matter which way it works out, none of them are around to help Jen and Kira later on, not even to give them a hint. (Maybe one of them will write the prophecy?) So can I root for them, knowing that the evil bird monsters are going to survive and at the very least outlive the heroes? I was conflicted.

This might be my absolute second favorite part!

Then again, we saw Aughra return, so how many times has this happened? Also… the Heretic and the Wanderer might be my new favorite things in Thra. I need more of them. More, more, more! If you haven’t encountered them run! Go, watch!

What I do know is that after watching this, the characters in my stories are getting off way too easily, and I intend to make things a lot worse for them in the future. You might rename this The Dark Crystal: Characters doing awful, evil things to each other. Scarier than last time even. Can you follow these characters, and allow yourself to follow them through? Yes. This might be the best prequel made so far.

Who can you also follow and root for? The simpering snake Chamberlain. The way he moves, grooves and manipulates the others is pretty much priceless. I’d love to be smart enough to write a character like that one. I was hoping he would be done well, and I was not disappointed.

Worth looking at. Is it ‘perfect?’ Maybe…

Gaming

Speaking of fantasy, does anybody else out there still play Dungeons & Dragons Online? I’m currently running, among a couple of other characters, a Halfling Wizard/Rogue named Aspyrin. I suppose I was thinking I was going to be the cure for all the monstrous Ills in the world, and then it stuck. I’m trying to ride this one out though. I’ve done a bunch of characters who never made it all the way and a couple of others who made it to the 20th level or so. I’m kind of enjoying this guy. It takes quite a bit of effort to play, so I’m not in there quite as often as I’d like to be, but the times I do get in there are good. I just reached the 11th level with this one. I’ll stream something soon, so you can come to watch me get pasted by a beholder or something soon. I suppose playing a Halfling, my favorite race in Dungeons & Dragons despite the number of choices, is a little like playing a Gelfling just as it is a tip of the hat to Tolkien’s Hobbits. I don’t think that without the Dark Crystal that there would be any floating, power-filled crystals in D&D. Each medium feeds off the other. 

I love puppetry. I want to cosplay as a Skeksis. I’d go for a Mystic, but I don’t want to crouch down that long.

Cinema

Jojo Rabbit is the diary of Anne Frank meets with hitler as your imaginary friend. I’ll probably talk a lot about movies here. I love to discuss story structure both in terms of movies and television as well as novels and screenplays. It’s all the same to me. I’m always writing from the perspective that someone might want to make a movie out if this. How many of my stories actually work out that way, to Ge mappable onto a movie, I don’t know, but for some reason I’m interested in seeing Jojo Rabbit when it comes out because I think it’s Gwen so long since World War II was on, that Adolph Hitler as a threat is so far removed that I’m wondering can anyone take what was happening during that time seriously anymore? I’m not saying any of what happened then was funny, but it’s hard to imagine him as a human being who wanted to paint, but was told he wasn’t any good at it when he did what he did to the world. 

In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the beginning of World War II is what he uses to scare the wizards into switching sides. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jones and ‘hurler cone face to face at a book burning where he mistakes the grail diary for an autograph book, and coming back to now, he’s essentially a German boy scout’s idolized hero, reduced to the level of an imaginary friend. I think Taika Waititi has got to be one of the biggest geniuses in Hollywood at the moment, so I am incredibly intrigued by this choice, and how he intends to tell a story with it. Looking forward to Jojo Rabbit. 

I labeled this cinema, but I’m having trouble with whether or not to call segments on films cinema or movies. I guess I’ll figure that out.