This is the stuff pure fantasy is
made with. The world is totally alien, but somehow has a little
bit of familiarity to it. The characters are good, evil, or
confused. The fate of the world is waiting in the balance -barely.
And the main characters are lovable, in their tender way.
I love this movie. It is very quiet, even though it has
some moments that are gruesome. The effects are still top notch,
in most cases, and best of all, the film has not aged in the years since
it was made!
The story is quite simple, as all fantasy stories should be.
The prophesy says that one thousand years after the crystal is shattered,
a gelfling will restore the balance, bringing an end to the rule of the
evil skeksis. But the prophesy also says that this might
not happen, and the evil will rule the world forever.
Jed lives with his foster family, a strange, four armed group
called the mystics. They are pretty much silent for the whole movie,
except when the leader tells Jed that he must find the shard and restore
the crystal. Jed goes to the witch to get the crystal, but the armoured
beasts of the skeksis find him, and carry the witch off, destroying her
wondrous home. Luckily Jed had found the shard.
His search takes him into a village of the podlings, joyous little
folk that are used to keep the skeksis alive with their life energy.
They, too, are harboring a gelfling, a female named Kiera. They dance
and play with the animals, but the armoured monsters find them, too.
The two gelflings hide in an old gelfling village, and there they read
and understand the prophesy. They are scared out of there, and take
flight on two magnificent strider creatures. Covering ground in a
fraction of time it would take to walk to the castle where the crystal
is, Jed and Kiera sneak inside.
I had to laugh out loud when Kiera's dog refuses to be left behind.
It howls and shows its two rows of teeth, behaving much like a loyal animal,
or a child. It was very funny.
It also turns out that Kiera has wings. When Jed remarks
that he doesn't have wings, she says "Of course not. You're a boy!"
That's great. It seems that Kiera knows lots about her heritage,
where Jed doesn't know anything. The mystics stayed mysterious to
Kiera is captured, and the skeksis try to drain her life energy,
but she can talk to the animals, similar to the effect in Labyrinth,
where Ludo could talk to the stones. The animals that are caged in
the laboratory help her escape, killing a skeksis. This is where
we find out for certain that the skeksis and the mystics are related.
When one dies, the companion on the other side must also die. When
a skeksis hand begins to bleed, so does the hand of his opposite number
in the mystics. What kind of creatures are these?
I seem to remember a scene where Kiera drinks her life energy
back, to gain strength, but that may have been in the novel version.
It definitely wasn't in the movie as I saw it here.
While Kiera is captured, Jed is crushed in a rockslide.
He escapes, with the help of Kiera's dog, and climbs through the crystal
shaft to reach the crystal. He jumps on to the crystal just as the
skeksis arrive in the room. At that time, the mystics also arrive,
and the three suns converge. The time of reckoning is at hand.
Jed is finally able to restore the crystal, the castle regains
its former beauty, the landscape returns to life, and the skeksis and mystics
are merged into one being, the ones who, in their arrogance long ago, shattered
Jed and Kiera are now a sort of Adam and Eve, I suppose.
I always loved the way the rock dropped off the crystal castle. It
is a vision that I have always remembered. And I always remembered
the skeksis Chamberlain, with his "Hmmmmmmm." Love it. I just
remember it being longer!
I also have to comment on the three suns moving from three different
vertices of the triangle. Impossible in the way we think of planetary
orbits. But maybe there is some configuration out there that would
do that. Not likely, but that's what makes it a pure fantasy.
The rules that we know don't work there! And it's great. No
other fantasy has even come close to this one in terms story and theme.