REVIEW: ‘The Dark Crystal’ prequel recaptures Jim Henson’s cult-classic fantasy

“Age of Resistance” gives fans an in-depth look into the world of Thra

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REVIEW: ‘The Dark Crystal’ prequel recaptures Jim Henson’s cult-classic fantasy

The Gelfing Rian, voiced by Taron Egerton, takes a lead role in Netflix's

The Gelfing Rian, voiced by Taron Egerton, takes a lead role in Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance". The Jim Henson Company's fantasy reboot premiered on Friday, Aug. 30.

Courtesy of The Jim Henson Company

The Gelfing Rian, voiced by Taron Egerton, takes a lead role in Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance". The Jim Henson Company's fantasy reboot premiered on Friday, Aug. 30.

Courtesy of The Jim Henson Company

Courtesy of The Jim Henson Company

The Gelfing Rian, voiced by Taron Egerton, takes a lead role in Netflix's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance". The Jim Henson Company's fantasy reboot premiered on Friday, Aug. 30.

Derek Catron

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“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” is the first good high-fantasy saga since “Game of Thrones” came to its disappointing end in May. In the age of CGI reboots, the uniquely authentic and unearthly world of Thra was recreated without following trends.

A common mistake of rebooted franchises is adding modern flair to something that was already great. As a result, rebooted franchises rarely manage to recapture the charms that made their predecessors so successful. “Age of Resistance” is a rare exception. Rather than pursuing a new spin on an already existing world, the prequel remains true to Thra’s roots and digs even deeper.

The return of puppets was a welcomed sight. After pondering the possibility of CGI Gelflings, the race of fairy-like creatures who peacefully inhabit Thra, the showrunners ultimately made the right call sticking with puppets – the hallmark of the franchise.

The tangibility of the puppets makes a completely unrealistic world feel real. Visually, the puppets catch the light and respond to stimuli in ways that CGI cannot not to mention, they’re downright adorable.

Story continues below trailer.

“Age of Resistance” was able to recreate the magic of the 1982 cult-classic fantasy while also expanding the story and universe in a coherent manner. 

While the original film holds a special place in the hearts of many fans, it was a solid B film at best. The prequel took everything that people loved about the original and made it better with superior storytelling.

The improvements were made possible by its greatly extended length. Epic fantasies take time  – something the original lacked. The prequel lends to the original movie by explaining what the film could not. Despite the original film’s charms, it felt like a summary of a greater story. The Netflix prequel delivered that greater story.

The expansive prequel explores the culture of Thra’s most lovable creatures and their turbulent relationship with their oppressive rulers. In a world without humans, the Gelflings’ humanity made for a compelling story filled with laughs and emotion.

Many questions left unanswered by the original film were aptly addressed without disrupting the wonder that makes Thra so magical.

From the adorable innocence of Podlings and Gelflings to the disturbing immorality of the reptilian and bird-like Skeksis, fans of “The Dark Crystal” will relish in the nostalgia offered by this impressively well-made homage to Jim Henson’s original puppet-based fantasy.

“Age of Resistance” currently sits at 8.8 out of 10 on IMDB and 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and rightfully so. While it’s normal to see a small bump in initial ratings, this is no fluke. “The Dark Crystal” prequel is good – no word yet on whether it will be renewed for more episodes.

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