Wednesday, February 01, 2006


The Dark Crystal revisited

A few months ago I blogged about Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky being tapped to head the new Orphanage animation studio. This morning's Sci Fi Wire brings the news that Tartakovsky and Orphanage will be working with the good folks at the Henson company to produce a sequel to The Dark Crystal, which film I saw so many times as a kid that it's imprinted on my DNA. And it looks like Brian Froud is onboard for character designs. It appears the sequel will be live action, with both puppetry and CGI elements (or CGI puppetry).

I was obsessed with the world of the original film for years, studying the novelization for bits that were in the original script but not in the finished film (like the cool naming conventiosn of the Skeksis and the urRu), and I've always believed that, since nothing "real" is seen on screen throughout, the world of The Dark Crystal is arguably the most fully realized bit of world-building ever done on film. Everything is fabricated, including the actors! But when plans for a sequel were first announced last year, I'll admit that I was more than a bit skeptical. That someone of Tartakovsky's talent and track record is in the driver's seat, though, means that this is an intriguing development, and one I'll be watching with interest.

The Henson people do many good things and with Froud onboard as well, this could be good. I'm assuming CGI puppetry is like some of the stuff they did on FarScape?

I saw it in theaters and I had the storybook, too. When my wife and I were married, I think it was the first movie we bought when we moved into our house.

This is treading dangerously close to my sacred childhood memories. Oh I hope it's good.

And yes, Dark Crystal is the most fully realized fantasy environment on film, amazing, amazing stuff.
Possibly, Robb. I read an interesting sidebar in Wired this month about a new Brian Henson CGI project, but instead of having animators mapping out the characters movements as is typical, it used actors/puppeters in some sort of pick-up rig to control the movements live action. Kind of a combination of the puppet-controlled CGI fish-thingee in the Jim Henson Hour, and the control mechanisms of the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock. They could intend something similar here.
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