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The Dark Crystal
Photographer: Dan "Bento-Dan" Hardwick
Multiple techniques used, far too many to mention all. Head is a silicone skinned animatronic/hand puppet. This costume won the final for the EuroCosplay 2011 Championships.
The Skeksis are the corrupt rulers of the planet Thra. The Skeksis culture favors repetitive flamboyance, emotional pettiness, and a wasteful attitude toward life. Though they are capable of forming alliances, they are by nature extremely paranoid toward each other.
Due to the accelerated decomposition of their bodies, the Skeksis constantly search for ways to prolong their lives at all costs. Their primary method is to expose themselves to sunlight channelled directly through the Dark Crystal, though the amount of energy replenished to them is greatly dependent on the conjunction of Thra's three suns.
As Chamberlain, skekSil is second in line to the Skeksis throne, though the confronation with skekUng in Haakskeekah (translation: Trial By Stone) not only cost him his position, but also led to his exile as a result of skekUng's first decree. As evidenced before the Emperor's death, skekSil and skekUng despised each other, with skekSil's trademark whimper always vexing skekUng. Of all the Skeksis, skekSil is the most devious, attempting to trick Jen and Kira into thinking he wishes for peace in order to capture them and return to the castle as a hero.
Frank Oz performed skekSil / The Chamberlain and Barry Dennen provided his voice.
The Dark Crystal is a 1982 British-American fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It dramatizes the story of Jen, an elflike 'Gelfling' to restore balance to his alien world by returning a lost shard to a powerful but broken gem. Although marketed as a family film, it was notably darker than previous material created by them. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking. The primary concept artist was the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive faerie and dwarf designs. Froud also collaborated with Henson and Oz for their next project, the 1986 film Labyrinth.
The Dark Crystal was produced by Gary Kurtz, whose list of credits includes American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return to Oz. The screenplay was written by David Odell, who had previously worked with Henson as a writer on The Muppet Show. Trevor Jones provided the film's atmospheric music.
The characters in the film are elaborate puppets, and none are based on humans or any other specific Earth creature. Before its release, The Dark Crystal was billed as the first live-action film without any human beings on screen, and "a showcase for cutting-edge animatronics".
Originally, Jim Henson wanted the Skeksis to speak their own constructed language with the dialogue subtitled in English. This idea was dropped after test screening audiences found the captions too distracting, but the original effect can be observed in selected scenes on the various DVD releases.
The hands and facial features of the groundbreaking animatronic puppets in the film were controlled with relatively primitive rods and cables, although radio control was used for many of the subtler movements.
During the development phase of The Dark Crystal, director Jim Henson and writer David Odell discussed ideas for a possible sequel. Almost 25 years later, Odell and his wife Annette Duffy pieced together what Odell could recall from these discussions to draft a script for The Power of the Dark Crystal. Genndy Tartakovsky was initially hired in January 2006 to direct and produce the film through The Orphanage animation studios in California. However, faced with considerable delays, the Jim Henson Company announced a number of significant changes in a May 2010 press release: Screenwriter Craig Pearce had reworked Odell and Duffy's script, and directing team Michael and Peter Spierig were replacing Tartakovsky. In addition, the film would be released in 3D. During a panel held at the Museum of the Moving Image on September 18, 2011 Jim Henson's daughter Cheryl revealed that the project is yet again on hold.
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