Award-winning animation director Genndy Tartakovsky, the man who made Samurai Jack and those impressive Clone Wars cartoons, has just made my day.
He’s directing the sequel to the greatest puppet-animation film ever made…
The script for The Dark Crystal needed a lot of help, and the narration ranks among the most annoying of all time: “And so Jen set off on his journey… the journey… of… Jen.”
But the visuals in this film were so enthralling, it meant as much to me as Star Wars. When it comes to Jim Henson’s astonishing work, I am a total geek. I still wish ToyBiz or McFarlane had produced detailed action figures, just so I could have a Skeksis and an Ur Ru stalking each other on a window sill in my house. The film inspired me to write stacks and stacks of stories about similar characters, similar worlds. When I was twelve, I even did a 30-minute long puppet show for the neighborhood kids, with handmade Dark Crystal-ish puppets, dreaming that someday I’d be the next Jim Henson.
Well, I strayed from the path of puppetry, but I stuck to the path of fantasy storytelling, and today I’m turning in Auralia’s Colors to the publisher. It too is, in essence, a fairy tale about a society in trouble, greedy villains, mystical mages, and a young girl and a young boy with extraordinary gifts.
Let’s just hope they write some better narration this time.
And stick to puppetry, instead of overdoing it with CGI. Digital animation’s thrill is fading. Because we know digital animators can do virtually anything now, it’s difficult to do anything truly awe-inspiring. But puppetry… there’s a life and a magic to the hand-crafted STUFF of puppets, creatures captured in real light, interacting with real actors, filmed in real time, that other forms of animation can never match. I hope Tartakovsky doesn’t misunderstand why The Dark Crystal is such a landmark work.
Oh… one more thing…
The original movie poster remains my all-time favorite poster design for a film. My brother Jason gave me a new, glorious print of it for my Christmas last year. It’s hanging over my computer at home. I can only hope they maintain that standard.