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25 Years Ago: The Best Genre Year Ever! Part VII! Elston Gunn Remembers THE DARK CRYSTAL!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’m not done with this subject yet. Some things interrupted this series earlier in the year, but I love the stuff we’ve published, and I have more things to share with you before the very, very, very end of 2007. I’m just glad to see that the idea that 1982 was a particularly important year for film geeks has caught on and spread as this year’s worn on, and one of the greatest joys of having just set up both a Blu-Ray player and an HD-DVD player in the house is knowing that I have both THE ROAD WARRIOR and THE THING available now in the very best versions commercially available. I’m so glad Elston Gunn finally sent this to me, and as with each of these so far, I’m genuinely pleased to present this to you. I hope it means as much to you as readers as it does to me as an editor:
Sometimes it's the subtle things within the pop culture works we revere for which we're grateful. Personally, I love that Norman Bates eats candy. I love the simple way Ringo brings the band back into the song underneath the guitar riff 1:21 into "I Feel Fine." And I love that some Muppets have eyelids. Yes, that's right. Eyelids. Not many of them, sure, but a few. Gonzo and Rizzo have them, some Fraggles, couple of SESAME STREET characters every now and then, Statler and Waldorf have a bit of a squint. Others have brows, eyelashes, interesting pupil placement. Janice is all lid and lash, no eyeballs. Bunsen Honeydew - pardon me, DOCTOR Bunsen Honeydew - has no eyes at all, but apparently very well-functioning glasses. So, it varies. "For me I think the single most important person probably was the person doing the eyes of the puppet. Because without those eyes working it doesn't live." - Kathryn Mullen, performer/puppeteer. Jim Henson knew exactly what he was doing in that respect. It's all in the eyes. "We usually built in a blink - a widening and narrowing of the eye. So much of the personality is dependent on that and you read the changes of emotion through the eyes." So says the man himself in the documentary about the making of THE DARK CRYSTAL, which opened wide in theaters on December 17, 1982. I was six years old and in my little kid brain I went into that film thinking this was an interruption between Muppet movies. I was pretty Muppet obsessed. I knew 'em all. Knew most of the muppeteers' names, too, from studying the Muppet albums' sleeves and reading the movie and television credits. My parents loved watching THE MUPPET SHOW with me. I was a member of the fan club, had some Muppet stuffed animals, Muppet Colorforms and Muppet ShrinkyDinks (I remember being bummed over Sweetums getting overcooked). But enough about me and my Muppet fan credentials. The point is even though I was just as much into the SUPERMAN movies, I didn't have a clue who Richard Donner and Mario Puzo were at the time. I did, however, know the names Jim Henson and Frank Oz and that's really all it took to get me to the theater to see THE DARK CRYSTAL, which they co-directed. "Another world, Another time... In the age of wonder." No real spoilers for the uninitiated. It's the simple story of a raised-by-Mystics Gelfling named Jen who must reclaim the Crystal of Truth from the evil Skeksis on Thra, a planet which has thrice the suns we do. And since the Crystal was cracked by the urSkeks then later stored in the Skeksis' castle, it became known as the Dark Crystal. Jen, who thinks he's the last of his kind, meets the female Gelfling, Kira, who was raised by Podlings. She joins him on his journey along with her furry pet named Fizzgig, whose entrance in the movie I specifically remember made me jump out of my theater seat. It's chocked-full of the mythical and mystical. There's a one-eyed seer, murderous Garthim, fun long-legged Landstriders, a volcanic pit and creepy essence zapping by the Skeksis emperor - which freaked me out a little. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that if you can get through life without having your essence sucked out by a Skeksis emperor, then you've got a leg up on a few Podlings. Ideas about religion, philosophies and art forms went into the conception, but, fundamentally, it's an incredibly imaginative "chosen one" story with a lot at stake for the good guys. What's even more fascinating is THE DARK CRYSTAL was advertised as the first feature-length live-action motion picture without any human characters on screen. The sheer ambition of that. Mo cap what now? CGI don't know what the hell you're talking about. No humans unless they're in costume, operating a creature or giving it a voice. Jen: "I don't have wings." Kira: "Of course not. You're a boy." Henson began with the creature development. Creatures first, then story. He enlisted artist Brian Froud to do the sketches. Froud went on to write and illustrate THE WORLD OF THE DARK CRYSTAL, which was released in conjunction with the film, and then collaborate with Henson again on LABYRINTH. Skeksis and Mystics were conceptualized, Podlings were based on potatoes. (Interesting to note Froud and LORD OF THE RINGS designer Alan Lee live in the same English village, which Froud has said is probably the reason their work resembles one another.) Locations were located, scripting duties were given to writer David Odell and soon it would be time for Henson's Creature Shop to do what they do. Actualize. It's difficult to fathom - much beyond a making-of documentary, anyway - all of the sketching, conceiving, concocting, creating, engineering, refining, scrapping, constructing, destructing and deconstructing that has to happen in order to pull something like this off. We call it "practical effects" and yet in this Digital Age it seems anything but. Ultimately, though? It's electric anyway. It's tangible. You can touch it. Those things moving? They're really moving. Now, to be sure, I'm not going to be one of those to knock CGI at all - especially for the sake of knocking it, or for any nostalgia for any kind of "good ol'" days. I'll take my creatures and features any way I can get them. But there's something to be said about the craftmanship of and within this particular kind of storytelling. There's a lot of brutal physicality going into it. And whether it's Kermit riding a bicycle in London, or Gelflings on Landstriders soaring through otherworldly landscape, it happened. It's all in the frames. And that's pretty awe-inspiring. One can argue a great case for the auteur theory, even here, but film is still a collaborative medium. THE DARK CRYSTAL epitomizes that and it's there on the screen. Not only, of course, the collaboration between Henson and Oz, but everyone. From producer Gary Kurtz (STAR WARS) to the puppeteers to the set painters to the maker of Aughra's eye for that "more visceral effect" to the Fizzgig wrangler. Interesting to note cinematographer Oswald Morris (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF), who shot eight of John Huston's movies, retired after THE DARK CRYSTAL. What a challenging way to go out. (Or refreshing as there weren't really any actors to bitch about the lighting.) All of these people bouncing ideas around and working all hours to make a universe that didn't exist before and inject life into objects. Kira: "Prophets don't know everything." Jim Henson's dark fairy tale was finally finished and released in 1982... in the shadow of another big fairy tale. I won't say its name but its initials are E.T. That's okay. There's room for both. I think it would be hard to make either film today. If so, they'd probably be a little more homogenized. A little less charismatic. Some critics dismissed the film, but THE DARK CRYSTAL won the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film that year and it has won the interest of a cult audience in the past quarter of a century. There may be moments that miss the mark or feel dated, but Henson and the filmmakers made something interesting, different and put something good into the world. Like it or not, they did it and it's out there. "I like to think of DARK CRYSTAL as sort of a work of art and it feels to me like it is. But it's not a personal work of art - it's not just something I did - but something that, you know, Frank and Brian and Gary and all the performers [did]. So, hundreds of people created this thing and as a work I think it's something we'll always be happy with." - Jim Henson I remember sitting in study hall in eighth grade on May 16, 1990, waiting for the bus and making small-talk with a few people. "Hey, did you guys hear that Sammy Davis Jr. died?" "Yeah. I heard that. Jim Henson, too." "What?" "Yeah, he died, too." "No way." "That's what they said." "Who?" "It was on the news." "Nah, I don't believe it." "Yep." "Nah. Hope not, anyway." Later that evening, Peter Jennings confirmed it. Jim Henson, dead at 53. "Pneumonia?" "I can't believe it." "How sad," you'd say. "Too young." We went on a trip to D.C. not too long afterward and the Kermit on display at the Smithsonian had a black armband around his arm. Kind of a surreal image, really. This inanimate puppet that once... But, again, the work was done and out there. The means were put forth for an end that is, for now, endless. The on-again-off-again sequel, THE POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL, is apparently on again. Lisa Henson, Brian Froud and David Odell are involved, and Genndy Tartakovsky is slated to direct. It will combine animatronic with CGI. I'm anxious to see where that will take us. We'll have to wait 'til at least 2009. I await a great comeback from Kermit and gang. There have been some wonderful missed opportunities. Elsewhere, the existing Muppet movies and TV show seasons acquire space on DVD shelves all over the world. SESAME STREET, at nearly 40, is still going strong and EMMETT OTTER is naturally a favorite this time of year. Henson's gifts to us still endure and will continue to do so. The characters are alive. The stories. The ideas. And, believe it or not, some Muppets still have eyelids. "Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending, We've done just what we've set out to do. Thanks to the lovers... the dreamers... ... and you." - Kermit & The Muppets. Elston Gunn E-mail me Or look me up on MySpace
You can catch up with the earlier articles in this series here: Nordling Remembers E.T.! Harry Remembers TRON! Obi-Swan Remembers CREEPSHOW! Capone Remembers POLTERGEIST! FlmLvr Remembers FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, PORKY’S and THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN! Cartuna Remembers THE SECRET OF NIMH! Merrick Remembers STAR TREK II And POLTERGEIST! Merrick Remembers BLADE RUNNER And THE THING!

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 18, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST


    by Superfunhappyslide

    Why Not.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 5:44 a.m. CST

    To bad you didn't make more of these

    by SpencerTrilby

    these '82 articles were really cool.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 5:45 a.m. CST

    What a coincidence!

    by DerLanghaarige

    I just saw that movie last sunday for the first time! I fucking love it!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 5:51 a.m. CST

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm Nice article!

    by pn2501

    Fond memories of this one, the only film i had on vhs when our family first got a vhs player, watched it to death.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:03 a.m. CST

    Hats off to '82

    by Dr Uwe Boll

    Great year, great articles. I saw Dark Crystal at the time, back when they still sold programs and had intermissions in cinema's. Muppets were uber cool and even though Dark Crystal didn't get as much love then as it seems to now there were some pretty impressive moments in the film (and the Skeksis were sick - truly brilliant villains, hardcore druid-like motherf**kers - I was always disappointed as a kid that we never got to see them doing evil shit on screen again in another film in some way shape or form).

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Surely the best genre year ever was in fact...

    by Mr Gorilla

    2005: You got Sci-Fi (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Serenity), you got Fantasy (King Kong, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), you got comic book adaptations (Batman Begins, Sin City, A History of Violence), you got spy films (The Constant Gardener, Munich, Syriana, Mr and Mrs Smith), you got comedy (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers), you got fantastic animation (Howl's Moving Castle, The Corpse Bride, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) and you got fantastic odds and sods (Oldboy, Grizzly Man, The Descent ,Downfall, Hidden/Cache Brokeback Mountain, Trasamerica, Good Night, and Good Luck).

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Muppets are cool....

    by just pillow talk

    My daughter (who is two) loves watching Muppets from Space..."ship down please". And when she's older, I'll make sure she ends up watching Dark Crystal as well. <p>Mr Gorilla, the thing with '05 is, while there may be quantity of films for each genre, it's not necessarily quality. The Sci-Fi films are missed opportunities..fantasy was blah...can't argue over comics...spy films was a mixed bag for me...I wouldn't include Wedding Crashers in that. I just don't think any of those films can match up to the quality of most of the '82 films mentioned. I'm not saying '05 was below par by any means, just not quite comparable.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Pleased to see they're still going forward with the sequel.

    by rbatty024

    It seems like a great idea. Fantasy is actually popular (so long as the Catholic league doesn't boycott it). It's time to bring back the Muppets.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:27 a.m. CST

    Mr Gorilla has an interesting point, but...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...I don't think that in 25 years anybody will say stuff like "Y'know, these movies 'Wedding Crashers', 'Syriana' and 'A History Of Violence' totally blew me away as a kid and I watched them over and over!"<br> (Of course they are great, but in fact this is about childhood nostalgia and nothing else :D[Don't wanna say that childhood nostalgia is a bad thing])

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:29 a.m. CST

    So glad this is back.

    by Nordling

    Now let's finish this year, a phenomenal one in film, right!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:37 a.m. CST


    by DURANGO66

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Wasnt Lila from Dexter...

    by TheRealSeveren

    a Gelfling? Whateves...Id still fuck her.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:11 a.m. CST

    LOOKS like Gelfling!

    by Osmosis Jones

    SMELLS like Gelfling!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:45 a.m. CST

    I wish there was more time for these...

    by SubversiveRusski

    Because there's still so many others from this year that haven't gotten in-depth write ups like TOOTSIE, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, 48 HOURS, FIRST BLOOD, PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, QUEST FOR FIRE, ROCKY 3, even quirky stuff like CAT PEOPLE, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 (IN 3-D). Mainstream fare too: THE VERDICT, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, MY FAVORITE YEAR, SOPHIE'S CHOICE, VICTOR/VICTORIA. Sure, not all stuff people here would write about, but man, what a year. It is the year where the 70's cinema truly ended and the 80's cinema began.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Wow, this came out that year too?

    by Nice Marmot

    Damn I loved this movie. The funny thing was that I watched it a million times as a kid w/ no problems, but as an adult, REALLY get the creeps in some scenes. I used to be so pissed that those landstriders got killed by the giant beetles.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    I own a signed copy of 'The World of the Dark Crystal'

    by zinc_chameleon

    Signed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, at the Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco, December 1982. It's written to: 'Seth'. Great layout, and fine paper, too!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST

    This one's overrated

    by jimmy_009

    Production design = awesome. Story = ZZZZZZZZZZ

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Time to watch it again

    by Chaosinabox

    I keep meaning to sit down and watch The Dark Crystal again...I first saw it when I was 8 years old and it SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME!! Now that I"m older and mature, I think I can handle it.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Another love letter to 1982

    by The Gline

    And a fine one, 'cos it's not just about the movie but the people behind it. Jim Hensen shaped so many of us in so many ways that I think we are only now playing catch-up. (The word "muppet" is now a generic term, which I think speaks for itself.)

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Any new love letters from Genndy Tartakovsky?

    by MurderMostFowl

    A whole talkback and no one mentions _The Power of the Dark Crystal_ ?

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:26 a.m. CST


    by Lord Nerd

    And I can't wait to see DC2!! Brian Froud is fantastic designer. Good stuff!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Center For Puppetry Arts in Atl.

    by Lord Nerd

    If you are near or in Atlanta you should drive down and visit the Center for Puppetry Arts. They have an actual Skeksis from the movie on display. BADASSNESS!!!!!!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:31 a.m. CST

    My friends just won't give it a chance....

    by logicalnoise01

    I'm teh guy who finds to cool arthouse flicks for my friends and everytime I tell someone to watch it they turn it off after 10 minutes because they thinks it's too weird. I mean come ON! it's a simple storyline fucking amazing production quality. and yet all of my friends still watched labrynth.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Skeksis Down In Atlanta!! Link to site.

    by Lord Nerd

    Here is a link to their site. Scroll down and you will see it. Just thought I'd repeat it because it's so damn cool! The actual puppet is on permanent display there and that alone is worth going and seeing.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Just bought the DVD the other day

    by Han Cholo

    You definitely don't see work like this anymore. I have to wonder if this much planning and research goes into the sequel. But here you can just see how much love and work went into the film. The way the Mystics move around and hw they're built must have been a bitch for the creature shop techs. And damn, it looks like Froud did ALL of the artwork for the movie. Seriously, that dude is a drawing machine. Is the art book from the movie still for sale? Everything from DC was awesome from the characters to the production design to just watching the people involved working. Seriously, if I was a filmmaker, this would be the direction I would go in instead of copping out with CGI (that's a jab at you, I Am Legend).

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Ecology on Film

    by Dreamfasting

    The Dark Crystal is one of the movies I try to make a point of watching each year and it gets to me every time. I love the panning shots across intricate little fantasy ecologies - one of the little things that bugs me about many other fantasy movies is that they create a few fantastic creatures and drop them into an otherwise ordinary world - it's the biology equivalent of using NYC as the backdrop for an alien civilization. Of course, I must admit that when I watch it I get carried away into the world and I tend to become blind to the muppetry. There are so many interesting themes going on - identity (rediscovering one's own culture), nature vs nurture (the difference in Jen vs Kira based on which group rescued them as children), consequences of violence (Skeksis/Ur-ru). The jaw-dropping observatory, the haunting harmony of flute and voice on the river, the awesome "I don't have wings!" exchange, etc, etc ... this movie has just such a density of iconic moments. Perhaps I hit it at just the right age or the right mood or the right alignment of stars, but it still ranks high in my personal top 10 films. I sometimes wonder if dropping the opening narration might have improved the critical reception - if the audience had to work just a little harder to figure out what was going on rather than dumping exposition that frames the story in bland black-and-white save-the-world way (that turns out to be incomplete and a little misleading anyway).

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST


    by konkrete590

    Didn't Beastmaster come out in 82? That was a great movie when I was a kid. Havn't seen it in ages, but it probably doesn't hold up with age.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 9:56 a.m. CST

    prolly the most influential film in my life

    by occula

    in that my artwork is total froud-ish and it's still the only movie i've ever seen more than 10 times in the theatre. man i was a weird kid. but when i finally met froud i was able to tell him how he inspired me, and even though it's a cliche, that's a meaningful moment, my friends.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Yeah I love how they even created the agriculture

    by Han Cholo

    Everything in the movie just seems alive like when they do the transition to the forest that Jen meets Kira in, the whole thing seems natural and real. To me, the greatest thing about Henson and Oz's work from Kermit to Yoda has been that all the characters they voiced and puppeted are real to me. They don't come off like puppets at all and the fact that the transition the CG has made it a dying art is a shame because of the life infused into the characters when doing puppetry is lost with the over-exaggeration of CG, case in point Yoda from ESB and Yoda from the prequels. He seems more alive in ESB than in any of the prequels, especially the scene where he's describing the power of the Force to Luke after he failed to raise his X-wing from the swamp. That scene, to me, will ALWAYS be the definitive work in puppetry because it seems like a real person and Frank Oz's genius work here is the best work I've seen.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Yeah, Beastmaster. Before Samuel L there

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    was John Amost going to town with his staff, bald head, and take no crap attitude. I hated all sequels, but the original was great. Original story, creepy monsters, and Tanya Roberts. This was a 12-year-olds dream. Those bat things that sucked people up like a six-year old sucking the last drop out of a Capri Sun pack scared the crap out of me. Thing is I think they just did another beastmaster sequel a few years ago, and Marc Singer looks in real great shape for his age. And yeah Nosferatu, the ferrets made the movie. Was Sword and the Sorcerer the one with the guy from Matt Houston, or was that another sword and sorcery flick? Oh yeah Lee Horsely. I'm too lazy to look up imdb right now.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:15 a.m. CST

    This moved scared the shit out of me...

    by TrumpyEatsPotatoes

    when I was young. The second that old witch puppet took out her eye I ran screaming from the room. What followed was an extreme aversion to anything muppet or puppet. Sock puppets make me uneasy to this day.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:31 a.m. CST

    HOBBIT- where's the story on AICN???

    by ptindy Peter Jackson to Produce The Hobbit and Sequel! Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM); Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of New Line Cinema have jointly announced today that they have entered into the following series of agreements: * MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, The Hobbit and a sequel to The Hobbit. New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally. * Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on The Hobbit. New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously. * Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR) Trilogy.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Is somebody finally going to write one for ROCKY III...

    by timryanokane

    ...Or am I going to have to slap someone with my balls?

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST


    by wildphantom07

    Biggest news of the year and they're last to break it

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Sam Raimi is directing with Jackson Producing

    by skycrapper

    That's awsome!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST


    by wildphantom07

    Who says? the press release doesn't name a director just yet

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:47 a.m. CST


    by skycrapper

    It's just speculation at this point but someone at coming soon reports it.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Found out about Henson's death the same way

    by bluebottle

    I was in grade 9 math, and I overheard someone say, "Sammy Davis Jr. died... and so did that puppet guy."<p></p> I asked the guy who he meant, and he said "The Kermit the Frog guy". <p></p> I didn't find out for sure until I got home and saw it on the news. A sad, sad day. <p></p> I'm eating cheerios.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:54 a.m. CST

    yep, disappointing that this site has nothing on the hobbit.

    by Bunger!


  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:55 a.m. CST


    by Bob X

    Talk about dropping the ball, AICN...

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11 a.m. CST

    I thought Harry was best mates with Jackson?

    by wildphantom07

    should have got the word on this first! I found the big story on empireonline!!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11 a.m. CST

    Seriously - I come here looking for the Hobbit

    by Reynard Muldrake

    and realize we should all be writers for this site...

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Hollywood Reporter > The Internet

    by Quin the Eskimo

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Hollywood Reporter > The Internet

    by Quin the Eskimo

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    And I don't want Raimi...

    by Reynard Muldrake

    I pray Jackson also decides to direct...but I have a sour, Spider-Man 3 flavored taste in my mouth still. And I know that was probably due to mountains of studio pressure...but guess what, The Hobbit is going to have a lot of the same, and you need Jackson's cahones and monster established Oscar winning rep to maintain his vision...which is why I'm glad he's Exec. Producing for sure...pretty much like directing...

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:06 a.m. CST


    by eric haislar


  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:07 a.m. CST


    by Reynard Muldrake

    easy tiger, read before you post.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Pete obviously knows who he wants....

    by wildphantom07

    This seems obvious if you think about it. We'll find out shortly I'm sure. I'm sure AICN will be the first to let us know when it breaks - ummm yeah

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    You're a Hard Hobbit to break - Fran Walsh to direct

    by darthbauer

    Me thinks this will be like the Wachowski brothers and V for Vendetta, where Jackson will actually get another name to direct (maybe his wife Fran Walsh) but he'll actually do most of the work. Fran if you remember directed many of the scenes in the trilogy (if you listen to the director's commentary) and some of her scenes were the best for sure. There's no way Peter is gonna let some guy take the ball and run an entirely different direction. Due to legal obligations Peter can't officially direct because he on these other two movies, but believe me He and Fran will indeed direct this and they'll just give the credit to someone else. This is so fantastic!!!!!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Every thread to be taken over by Hobbitt talk...

    by JimCurry

    cuz this site's too slow to get on the damn ball..

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 12:09 p.m. CST

    I got to meet Jim Hensons wife and some of the puppeteers last m

    by majortom25

    Last may here at the cinema arts center they had a special jim henson weekend. His wife was there, 3 of the puppeteers (gonzo,elmo, and another sesame street one). We got to watch the dark crystal, Some of the very early commercials and we even got to see Time Piece and the cube. Also Jim Henson did so much for the movies. He was very talented and I am stil lsad that he died in 1990.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    '84-'85... BEAT THAT!

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    In '84-'85 we had: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the re-release of ET, Back to the Future, Goonies, Explorers... yeah. that is a tough lineup to beat! And WHO do almost all of those movies have in common?!

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST


    by classyfredblassy

    We need more people like Ace Hunter in the world.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 2:28 p.m. CST


    by BurgerTime

    ...I completely agree. Just a feast for both the eyes and mind, which is damn hard to find these days. AND it was made at a time before CGI, so you know there aren't going to be any dead-eyed creatures, digitally flattened mattes, massive-animated battle scenes or sloppy shake compositing. Real sets, real creatures and real props that all perfume and texture the world and anchor it in a solid existence. Magic.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Dark Crystal's score

    by Staldo

    the music score for The Dark Crystal was awesome as well, like smoking a giant doobie rolled by the Lord God. It was rather like the orchestral score for the movie Heavy Metal, except the visuals were grand enough to fit with the sound.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 3:27 p.m. CST

    awesome movie. so underated, Henson was the man.


  • Dec. 18, 2007, 6:01 p.m. CST

    When Henson died, I felt like I lost a friend

    by Moonwatcher

    I remember watching Kermit doing "Glow Worm" on the Ed Sullivan show; I was 27 when DC came out, and I loved every minute of it. What a talent he had; sometimes nice guys do finish first.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:24 p.m. CST

    I remember seeing this

    by buffywrestling

    in the theater between E.T screenings. I prattled on about Gelflings for awhile after that and remember being freaked out by the essence sucking sequence. Good movie and going back to watch it again, it doesn't lose any of it's magic.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 7:44 p.m. CST

    one downside

    by Staldo

    I thought the story was archetypal and I can't think of a moment that wasn't visually interesting aside from the Podling village and the creatures that the skeksis and the mystics became when they combined (the UrSkeks?) looked nothing like either of their seperate halves, basically they looked kind of slapped together and if I recall, a lot like Warriors of Virtue(never heard of Warriors of Virtue? good, pray this is the last you hear of them)

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 10:51 p.m. CST

    a thought about CGI.

    by Dreamfasting

    I think Pixar successfully demonstrates that CGI itself is not the problem as they manage to create performances that evoke a certain empathy that even live actors often struggle to attain. Personally, I find it's hard to focus on both the physics and the emotion of a character at the same time and although I know nothing about how these things are made behind the scenes, I often imagine staff meetings with five techs figuring out the composition of textures and muscle dynamics and one person worried about the facial expressions, causing the physics/emotion priorities to get skewed.

  • Dec. 18, 2007, 11:08 p.m. CST

    BOO-shay, BOO-shay, BOO-shay...

    by Osmosis Jones

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 2:49 a.m. CST


    by Dr Uwe Boll

    It's been quite a while since I've seen this 80's "gem". Isn't it about due for a Michael Bay remake. Megaforce action (if you dare):

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I have some love for the film and all...

    by Lemming

    but it had it's problems. The narration was so arduous and long at the beginning. I didn't remember it from being a kid, but bought it recently on DVD and nearly died of old age during it.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 12:08 p.m. CST


    by Mr Gorilla

    I love your comments and agree about the heart in the films you talked about (but of course other praised films from then like Tron and Blade Runner are rather darker and more pholosophical or political)... I think this year was a stinker as far as most blockbuster entertainmnets go, but we did get, in the form of Ratatouille, a film with loads of heart and values. And I think kids now will talk with great affection about Harry Potter when they are in their 30s (parts 3,4&5...). It's not ALL bad - just most of it.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 12:13 p.m. CST

    when Henson died

    by emeraldboy

    i was devasted. in the manner of someone who just heard that thier favourite group were no more. lots of shock and disbelief, that this geniuienly nice man had to pop his clogs for no reason at all. But what i learned is that Henson never really understood that as he was the the creator or the boss, that he should have called the shots but he left that to other people. He very rarily lost it. He was like gepetto, creating characters that other people very happy for generations. Yet we know very little about him and when he did direct, he was very quiet and steve whitmire said that he learned alot under henson but when it was over there was no follow up. He didnt understand the business side of things. He died on the same weekend he handed over the muppets to walt disney. To his day his death remains mysterious. I saw a documentary to celebrate 50 years of the muppets and on it one guy said he didnt realise how ill henson was.This seems to be a big secret for some reason and wasnt he cremated? I have heard that he was a christian scientist and that accordingly all attempts to save his life were doomed. its all very odd. Notice there was no big celebration or anything and the films have dried up as has any talk of tv shows. His family have remained silent about him. They are only there to run the show. When my cousin who is in the animation business went to the muppethon there was a guy who started mouthing off and he was dragged away by security. The henson family sold the business after that and as we know fought very hard to get it back then sold the part of it again to the weinstein. They really havent done much since. They building an animation branch. As Denis Leary once said as any got an asprin, it think i have got a cold.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    You can sort fo tell it was creatures first

    by Wee Willie

    story second. The film is wonderful to look at, and I especially love the little scenes showing the wierd and wonderful environment. But the story is quite un-involving. Still, my three kids love it.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Due to legal obligations Peter can't officially direct because h

    by Wee Willie

    That would only be true if he was working under a DGA contract, and since he'll likely be working in NZ, where they don't have jursidiction, I'm sure he'll be able to do whatever the hell he wants.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 2:47 p.m. CST

    1982 and still no mention of Blade Runner?

    by theabusetaker

    I guess everyone on here was probably too young to understand or even go to see Blade Runner in the theater.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST

    I applaud Henson...

    by Hellboy

    ...and his talented crew for all the coolness in this movie. But I have even more applause for anyone who can get through this movie without falling asleep. I've seen the whole thing, but only in parts because it is FUCKING BORING AS HELL.

  • Dec. 19, 2007, 5:22 p.m. CST



  • Dec. 19, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST

    1981 is the best genre year, beaatches

    by Prossor

    wheres conan the barbarian my fav 82 flick?

  • Dec. 20, 2007, 9:33 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Great post - agree with every word.

  • Dec. 20, 2007, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Did anyone used to read Si-Fi Universe??

    by Samuel Fulmer

    It was a magazine back in the mid-late 90's. I remeber just about every issue the editor-in-chief Mark A. Altman used to rave about how 1982 was the best genre year ever. Of course, I don't remember them ever actually tackling the issue head on, but they did bring it up all the time.

  • Dec. 20, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    I remember seeing this in the theater vividly...

    by Playkins

    I went with a little that lived next to me and his dad. The kid absolutely WAILED whenever the Skeksis were on screen and his dad kept telling him to shut up.<p> "Bwaaaaaaaa......SHUT UP !!!!!" the whole movie.

  • Dec. 21, 2007, 4:08 p.m. CST

    road warrior came out 1981

    by Prossor

    not 82