A review of the new Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Netflix miniseries. Spoiler: this reviewer did not think much of it:
Real talk: Gelfling are … bad. Boring. Lifeless. Dull.
On their own, they’d be generic enough — a first-pass attempt at your garden-variety Tolkien-adjacent high-fantasy race. But as soon as you place them — as do both the original 1982 The Dark Crystal film and Netflix’s new, 10-episode prequel series — at the center of a world as gorgeously wrought, breathtakingly detailed and astonishingly elaborate as that of The Dark Crystal, they become something even worse: They’re basic.
And so on. I wasn’t planning to watch the miniseries because I seldom watch anything, but I do remember The Dark Crystal, and I found this tidbit from the review interesting:
But Gelfling? They’ve got disturbingly human-like faces, and we know how those work. And even though the art of Gelfling-animatronics has evolved in the 37 years since the film — eyebrows now knit, cheeks now dimple — Gelfling as a race remain permanent residents of the darkest depths of the uncanny valley.
And I thought, Really?
Here are Gelflings.
Honestly, do they trigger the Uncanny Valley thing for you?
Wikipedia says: The concept of the uncanny valley suggests that humanoid objects which imperfectly resemble actual human beings provoke uncanny or strangely familiar feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers.…
And I’m not seeing it. I don’t experience either eeriness or revulsion in response to the Gelflings, and I don’t recall having any response like that when I first say the Dark Crystal, either.
The reviewer does refer to their fixed eyes and unmoving faces, but I honestly don’t remember having a particular problem with that. They’re puppets. I get that they’re puppets. I had problems with the Sudden Wing Syndrome, a startlingly common phenomenon in not-very-great fantasy, but I don’t recall having trouble because of the limitations of the puppetry.
How about it? Anybody recall finding the Gelflings revolting (or eerie) when they first saw the movie?