Publisher: Insight Editions
Another world, another time...
Most people have not forgotten The Dark Crystal, at least I hope they haven't. In fact, I'd like to think the film has more of a following now than it did when released, perhaps because those of us who were enchanted by it as children are now grown and longing to be in the universe of Jim Henson for just one more adventure. At last, The Dary Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History by Caseen Gaines has cast a bright light into a world that is learning to live in a shadow without Jim Henson. From the first page inside the beautiful hardcover to the last, this vibrant love letter to the creative process will give you joyous chills.
The opening forward by Cheryl Henson (Jim's daughter) sets the tone for the wonder to follow by recounting her personal experiences working on the film in the Creature Shop. She relays that she had fallen in love with The Dark Crystal even before it was made, because of the outpouring of love and inspiration from her father and all his devoted collaborators. Cheryl reminds us that this was a big budget, live action film with absolutely ZERO human actors. This is completely foreign in the current digital age, and something to be not only commemorated but cherished for the art form that it was.
Author Caseen Gaines plunges the readers into a propelling tidal wave of all the magic surrounding the creation of The Dark Crystal, from the earliest days of Jim Henson discussing the idea with Frank Oz in between takes of The Muppet Show, through the tireless dedication of a team of geniuses during production, to the lasting legacy that the film has left for generations to come. The book is filled with precious and painful memories, detailed to the point where the reader will feel as if having been a part of the entire process.
However, as it should be, the true treat of The Dark Crystal: A Visual History is the fantastical rainbow of artwork and photos leaping from every page. The paintings, drawings, and doodles of concept designer, Brian Froud, showcase in their majesty not only the artist's talent, but also the passion he had for helping to create this world and its creatures. Scattered throughout are also notes and drawings by Henson and Froud on notebook pages and Henson Association stationary to put film and art aficionados in their glory. Readers will also adore the impressive collection of behind-the-scenes photos and marvel at just how many performers it took to make one large character move.
This book is so much more than just a visual companion to a movie. It is a time capsule full of treasures for anyone who loves The Dark Crystal and the worlds of Jim Henson. It closes with a quote from Henson, himself, crediting the film to the hundreds of like-minded creators and dreamers that he worked with on the project he was most proud of. Indeed, the book serves as a symbol of all the wonders that can be, and have been, created without computer screens. It shows the potential of what so many people who combine their different talents can achieve by working together. This visual masterpiece deserves a permanent spot in the collection of any (even slightly) creative dreamer.
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This visual masterpiece deserves a permanent spot in the collection...