The Dark Crystal

Here's the Dark Crystal's cosmology: the world was in balance until a magic crystal was splintered, and ever since then the world has been ruled by the evil Skeksis and the noble Mystics have been forced into hiding. However, a rare planetary alignment is about to occur, and when it does, a little elf like creature named Jen will have a chance to repair the crystal and bring the world back into balance.

Now, in general I'm a root-for-the-good-guys type of dude, so it should be really easy for me to root for the Mystics, who are gentle, over the Skeksis, who own slaves. And even if I didn't want to root for the Mystics I could still root against the Skeksis, who are really gross bird creatures in ornate robes. In general I think birds are pretty disgusting - I get that their feathers come in appealing colors, but mostly I find them to be filthy abominations who need to evolve separate pee and poop holes - so when I say that the Skeksis are super gross by even bird standards, then trust me: their scabrous faces are gnarly. Given all that, when I say that I had a really hard time rooting for the Mystics - well, that's saying something about how much they suck.

The Mystics seems to just hang out in the forest, communing with nature. They look pretty peaceful, which is cool, and they've earned a reputation for being wise. They seem to have less skin problems than the Skeksis - they have similar beaks, but their camel colored skin is a lot less rough and blotchy. For all I know they are the only bird-creatures in cinema history who might use moisturizer in their off hours. I have nothing against them, but unlike the Skeksis, they do not offer a single comfort on the level of a half-decent buffet.

Yes, the Skeksis are gross looking, and sure, they send giant crab creatures out to the hinterlands to collect slaves for their personal use. They also live in a bitchin' castle and they seem to be into gluttony. Sure, having to share a buffet with claw fingered screeching birds isn't ideal, but it's better than nothing. Also, if I was hanging out with them I could check living in a castle off my bucket list.

Look: communing with nature is fine, but it has it's limits. I'll go on a walk, sometimes I'll even go on a hike, but sooner or later I want to be back indoors, doing indoors-y type stuff. And how wise can they be when all they seem to do is talk about crystals? People that talk about crystals are the worst! Ok, sure, the Skeksis talk a lot about crystals, too, but their crystals are magic, and they fire lasers and allow the Skeksis to spy on far away places. Their magic crystals are as close to computers as you are going to get in this medieval fantasy world, and I've grown to really like computers. Of course, I use my computer to buy coconut water on the internet more than I use it to shoot lasers, but I could probably adapt.

Unfortunately, at the movie's climax - spoiler alert - the crystal is healed and the Mystics and the Skeksis are reunited into balanced beings. As far as I can see these "balanced creatures" are actually the worst of all worlds. If you could pick and choose - say, take the wisdom of the Mystics and the indoor life style of the Skeksis and put them in one body, and then take the  the hippie tendencies and the history of cruelty and put them in another body - that would be great. (Well, great as long as you kept the good creatures and then threw the bad ones into the heart of the sun.) However, that's not what happened - instead, this whole grab bag of mismatched qualities is now blended together into oversize luminous monstrosities. Because everyone's idea of a "perfectly balanced" creature is a towering bird face on top of skeletal fingers, with a history of slave owning and a fondness for purifying crystals.

Well, on the upside, it might only be another thousand years before there's another planetary alignment and we can get another crack at re-balancing the world. Maybe by then we'll have some mammalian options, and maybe they'll be a little less focused on hippie nonsense. When that happens, call me. Until then, I might try to forget that this happened.

Winner: Draw

The Dark Crystal on IMDB