Monday, January 2, 2012

Alphabeasts: L is for Landstrider

This week's Alphabeasts drawing is from a movie I never saw when it was actually in theaters, though I probably would have enjoyed it more then. To tell you the truth, The Dark Crystal in late 2011 left me flat.

All the same, here's a landstrider:

When I was assembling my plan for this alphabet, I used a wikipedia page that lists the various fauna of Thra, figuring that with Jim Henson behind it That Dark Crystal would at least offer me some interesting stuff to draw.

And I'll admit that there's a lot of visual imagination in the landstrider. I described it to Sam Wolk a few days ago as having a walrus/catfish/sloth face, a giraffe/elephant body, and the movements of a guy-on-stilts crossed with a guy-on-all-fours. The landstrider does not look like a natural thing, especially when it is in motion. Because it is a guy on stilts and on all fours at once. I think the area they come from, on Thra, is called the Uncanny Valley.

I'm sure if I'd watched the movie when I was ten, the next few weeks would have seen my spiral notebooks filling up with doodles of skeksis and mystics, garthim and nebries. (Frankly, I'm surprised there weren't more garthim drawn when the Alphabeasts were covering G.)

But between the all-too-transparent archetypal/stereotypical quest narrative (obviously destined to succeed, despite the protagonist's lack of agency. resources, or personality) and the gelfling puppet performances that kept making me think of Team America: World Police, I couldn't manage to care about the characters in the movie or their goals.

I found a lot of the incidental detail (the flora, the geology) really charming, and some of the puppet/costumes really impressive, but I can't say I'd want to watch them again.

Give me a couple episodes of The Muppet Show instead—and kudos to the clever soul who drew koozebanians last week.

Next week: an unexpected unicorn!

1 comment:

Ben Towle said...

Nice Landstrider! I loved that movie as a kid, but I've made a point to not re-watch it as an adult; I suspect my reaction would be about the same as yours was on you recent viewing.