Wednesday, February 01, 2006

They're playing with "a mysterious girl made of" fire

Oh, boy. This falls into some movie news that I am extremely conflicted about. One of my all time favorite films is about to get a sequel nearly 25 years after the original. Via Coming Soon:

The Jim Henson Co. has set Genndy Tartakovsky to direct Power of the Dark Crystal, a sequel to 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal, reports Variety.

Tartakovsky, who created the animated series hits Samurai Jack, Dexter's Laboratory and Star Wars: Clone Wars, will involve his Orphanage Animation Studios to take the lead on the CG animation elements for the puppet-driven film.

Henson will secure a domestic distributor by the time the film begins production in late summer. Annette Duffy and David Odell wrote the script.

Set hundreds of years after the first film, the sequel follows a mysterious girl made of fire who steals a shard of the crystal in hopes of reigniting the dying sun.

Let's break this down:

The Good: Talent
Henson's company is in charge of this, which is very good. No mention is made of Brian Froud, the genius who originally designed all the creatures in the first film and has had a wonderful career in books (nearly all of which I own). Let's hope this is an oversight and he will be working on the sequel, as well. In terms of the director, it's an interesting choice. I have seen a few episodes of both Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, and I like his use of minimum dialogue and directing as if it were a silent movie. It could be a great approach. As for the writers, Duffy is a newbie and Odell helped write the original. Of course, Odell also wrote Supergirl: The Movie and Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture, so we shouldn't have too much confidence in his involvement.

The Bad: Trend
Sequels sequels sequels. There's just too damn many of them, and I am hesitant on pulling my punches on this personal favorite. I'll grant that there is still ample material to mine in this film, and the built-in fan base is tempting, but a sequel for sequel's sake is rarely a good idea. Plus, there is the mention of CGI, which would follow the Star Wars prequel mold of replacing film of real objects with computer animated models. I though it was a bad idea when Lucas did it and I haven't changed my mind for Henson. Let's hope this is kept to a minimum, like Nick Park's judicious use in the Wallace & Gromit movie.

The Ugly: Title
I dearly hope that is a working title. It's too derivative and generic. Come up with something brand new, for crying out loud. Younger audiences probably won't get the reference, anyway, and the fans will know what it is when they see their first gelfling. The best part of the original film is the incredible originality of this foreign world. Go with that. Wow 'em in their seats. This could still be done right. And, most of all, remember where you came from.

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