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Showing posts from October, 2019

The Dark Crystal: AoR - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

For October, I'm doing weekly write-ups on  The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). This week is my final write-up (for now). In it, I wanted to explore what I liked, disliked and hated about the show. Spoilers!

Note: Originally this article was meant to be titled "Criticisms," but after some consideration I realized I couldn't think of enough criticisms to merit an entire article! That's not to say that I don't have problems with the show. Just, after watching through it twice—and sporadically peeking into individual episodes after that—I haven't come up with much. So this article might be a little lopsided.

The Good

Believe it or not, my favorite aspect of the show is the photography. There were certain action shots (with the Arathim in particular) that involved a lot of digital effects. However, the camerawork did less to highlight that issue and more to emphasize how real everything looks. Closeups occur generously throughout, framing the puppets (a…

The Dark Crystal: AoR - Sexuality, Women, and Queer Identity

For October, I'm doing weekly write-ups on  The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). This week, I wanted to explore the show's portrayal of three separate facets: sexuality, women, and queer representation. Spoilers!


Unlike violence, sex in AoR is merely implied—largely through the presence of different Gelfling family groups. Curiously, Rian's mother is out of the picture; Brea's father is never mentioned; and Deet has two fathers, but no mother. All the same, Rian and Mira were an item, kissing much like any couple. Sex is certainly present, but only for a moment, and nowhere near to the same pointed degree as the violence and gore.

I've always found that curious—what's forbidden and what's allowed, and how sex is generally taboo when violence is not. And some pretty awful violence occurs in AoR, make no mistake about that. In terms of sex, the raciest bit is an off-screen kiss between Rian and Mira. Their conversation leading up to it is loaded wit…

My Two Cents: An Interview with Ahdy Khairat

Hello, everyone! My name is Nicholas van der Waard. I have my MA in English Studies: the Gothic, and run a blog centered on Gothic horror, Nick's Movie Insights. However, if you follow Ahdy Khairat's channel on YouTube, you probably know me as "the two cents guy." With this post, I wanted to interview Ahdy himself and talk to him about his work. But first, a bit of history...

March 25th, 2018. It was a dark Manchester night. I was wearing a Cthul-aid t-shirt and standing in the kitchen of my student-provided flat. Holding my phone in my hand, I was making myself some dinner (rice, eggs and soy sauce—a student diet if ever there was) after a seminar earlier in the evening. I had on my headphones and was listening to some nightly music—some subscribed content on YouTube when Ahdy Khairat's latest remaster, "Call of Ktulu," popped up.

This caught my eye; I had several of Ahdy's remasters on my iPod, and enjoyed his work. However, I also knew he …

The Dark Crystal: AoR - Appetites

For October, I'm doing weekly write-ups on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). This write-up concerns the theme of appetites—how the show presents and explores them. Spoilers!

Age of Resistance is, amongst other things, a show about appetites, food. Multiple scenes portray gross consumption by the Skeksis. During these opulent gluts, they shamelessly gorge themselves, their tables sagging with endless essence, food and incense. Much of it is exotic, dressed up for optimal succulence. However, more of it is domestic, pilfered from the land around them. There is no limit to what they consume.

More to the point, the show connects appetite with its characters' individual wants and desires. Consider this conversation between the Chamberlain and Rian; both sit inside a carriage, winding towards the Castle of the Crystal:

Rian: "You killed Mira!"

Chamberlain: "All things kill. Is z'nid bird evil because it eats crawling nurloc?"

Rian: "Birds eat to li…

The Dark Crystal: AoR - Horror Themes: the Gelfing

For October, I'm doing weekly write-ups on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). There will be spoilers—lots of them. Last week, I explored horror as centered on the Skeksis. This week, I wanted to study it through a less likely but equally productive source: the Gelfling. 

The Gelfling are an interesting source for horror, but produce it differently than the Skeksis. From a practical standpoint, they are uncanny. Unlike the Skeksis, who are deliberately fashioned to be hideous and ugly, the Gelfling are made to appear cute. However, they are also, at times, doll-like; there is a very real limit to their cuteness, which pushes up against the technological constraints manifest in dolls. The faces are cute; the eyes inside are lifeless ("A shark has blank eyes, a doll's eyes.").

This is a practical issue. Eyes are complex. They swivel in their sockets; the pupils contract and the irises change color. Or, at least, they should. Gelfing eyes do not. This problem is…

The Dark Crystal: AoR - Horror Themes: the Skeksis

Moving into October, I wanted to do weekly write-ups on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). There will be spoilers—lots of them. This week's write-up concerns AoR's use of horrifying content—mainly the Skeksis—to affect the audience.

In the Gothic, horror has a specific function: to shock and disgust. However, the ways in which this goes about are not always so simple. For example, seeing a Skeksis lord explode before our eyes might, under most circumstances, be unwanted. The core punch this discomfort offers isn't the explosion, itself, or that it was gross; it's that we, the audience, paid to be showered with it. An argument can certainly be made to its surprising nature; but the show's dark reputation for violence and horror falls in line with whatever comes our way.

To rephrase, there are those in the audience who not only enjoy the gory mess; they'd feel robbed without it! The genius behind AoR is how it chooses to deliver the goods, and when. It e…