By Dave B.
In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix) the land of Thra has been ruled by the Skeksis for 1000 years. During that time, they’ve exploited the land’s resources and its people, the Gelflings, by building up a religion for the Gelfling that attributes the prosperity of Thra to Skeksis rule. But the Skeksis are growing old and in their quest for immortality, they stumble upon an effective, but heinous method to preserve themselves forever. The Gelfling must overcome their indoctrination if they are to have any hope of effectively protecting themselves and their world from the Skeksis’ vile depredations.
Age of Resistance is undoubtedly an impressive technological accomplishment. The detailed craftsmanship of animatronic puppets are often a wonder to behold and it’s pretty amazing that an entire show was made with them with no human actors at all. The scenery is also absolutely stunning. The world of Thra is crafted in exquisite detail, from lush vistas to the creatures that fill every ecological niche. A lot of effort went into creating the environment and history of Age of Resistance and it shows.
Despite the stunning visuals in this show, Age of Resistance has some significant flaws. First and foremost, it’s slow, as in it isn’t very binge-watchable at all. Without exception, every one of the 10, hour-long episodes feels nearly twice as long as it is. The main reasons for this relate directly to the other two major flaws of the show: the story is derivative and there is very little action. For the most part, I can overlook the unoriginality of the story. Age of Resistance, while not necessarily targeted at an audience of children (it may be a bit scary for the youngest and most sensitive viewers), clearly has them in mind. So the predictable story and simplistic moral messaging on issues such as environmental protection don’t feel completely out of place. The lack of much action however is a bigger problem for me and is a direct result of the limits of animatronic puppets. An anime or live-action, human-cast show can break up endless stretches of dialogue with physicality in a way that puppets just can’t. The result is that I nearly fell asleep at least once every episode.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is interesting to look at and an impressive technical accomplishment, but it’s just not that great of a show. Even the decent cast of voice actors can’t make up for the fact nothing much (unexpected or otherwise) happens throughout the show. Throw in an unrealistic, mostly nonsensical ending, and I can’t recommend this show on its overall entertainment value. That said, you should definitely check out at least an episode or two just to see a technological and visual marvel.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.