It has been nearly two decades, but a Dark Crystal sequel is still in the works. Designers Brian and Wendy Froud -- responsible for creating the sets and some of the puppets that both enthralled and terrified us as children -- have revealed that the fantasy follow-up is still a go. The duo has been talking with the director, adding input to the script and have begun the process of creating designs for the film. You can check out a video interview with the Frouds after the jump.
Some have wondered if there's still a point to doing puppet films in 2010, an age where everything is about CGI and hyperreality. Wouldn't a Dark Crystal sequel be better with a gaggle of computer-generated characters and backgrounds? Not according to director Genndy Tartakovsky, who agreed to helm the project on the condition that "the film would utilize live-action puppets as well as computer animation."
There's an artistry to puppets that doesn't feel like it translates to CGI -- much in the same way there's an artistry to practical special FX work that never comes across in computer generated gore, for example. One gets the feeling that the hands-on element adds an extra dimension to the work. Plus the puppets always feel more organic than the relatively cold and sterile CGI stuff. Watching The Dark Crystal as a kid, I believed those puppets were real creatures and didn't equate them with "cartoons" or "videogames" -- terms I've heard children recently use to describe a CGI film.
The question remains, can puppets survive in a CGI world? The short term answer would appear to be "yes." Puppets have been used as a storytelling device for centuries and CGI and physical puppetry can co-exist -- each benefitting from the other's presence. No one can predict the future, but it seems likely that puppetry will always have a place in our effects-laden films because they tie us to the physical world in a way that CGI hasn't yet mastered. And as technology advances, what looks incredible to us now will eventually appear clunky -- similar to how PlayStation games look in comparison to today's PlayStation 3 titles. Meanwhile, puppetry seems pretty consistent and in its own way is becoming more incredible (though not a film, take the Walking with Dinosaurs - the Live Experience for example).
Are filmmakers like Tartakovsky clinging to the use of puppets for purely nostalgic reasons? Will puppets, who've been relegated to a largely supplemental role in the filmmaking process, be slowly phased out completely or will there always be a place for handcrafted creatures and the artists who create them regardless of technological advances?
[video via Slashfilm]