'Dark Crystal': Before 'Age of Resistance,' How to Stream the Original

Here's what to watch this weekend, along with a list of all the important stuff leaving Netflix soon.

Whether or not you’re ready for it, Ready or Not is in theaters this weekend, bringing a period piece (wo)manhunt to the big screen with a style and anti-wealthy sentiment that’s eerily similar to that Rick and Morty purge episode. There’s also Mission: Impossible – Fallout on Amazon and Hulu. But we’ve got a few under-the-radar recommendations for you that will fit perfectly into your weekend for various reasons.

Check out the following four essential streaming recommendations, along with a courtesy reminder about all the important stuff leaving Netflix soon.

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Watch These Shows and Movies Before They Leave Netflix on September 1

The start of every month is a wonderful time for streaming when every platform adds the bulk of its content, but it’s also a sad time when we say goodbye to shows and movies we’ve come to cherish. Watch these classics as they leave Netflix — some of them forever:

  • Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
  • The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • Disney’s Mulan

Mortal Engines Has Enough Horsepower to Move an Entire City … and Your Heart

I will forever be a Mortal Engines apologist, praising a surprising and totally weird sci-fi/fantasy flick with the faintest hint of Peter Jackson’s influence that everybody else seems to hate. Mortal Engines is a steampunk wet dream, a dystopia of the far-flung future where, for some ridiculous reason, people thought the best way to deal with resource scarcity was to transform towns and cities into giant mobile vehicles that can devour one another.

You’ve got Hugo Weaving as a villainous aristocrat in London, the biggest and meanest city on wheels. You’ve got cool airships that look like they flew right out of Avatar: The Last Airbender. You’ve got a Terminator robot guy that looks like a Ghoul from the Fallout video games. You’ve got a bumbling nerdy dude and a secretive girl with a dark past and a wicked scar. How are you not watching this movie already?

Granted, so much of Mortal Engines’s plot is derivative, most of the acting is mediocre, and the writing can be a bit bland — which is why Mortal Engines sits at an abominable 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — but if you rid yourself of the harsh 2019 critical lens, you can have so much fun on this wild ride. Just maybe have a few drinks first? — Corey Plante

  • Watch cities fight in Mortal Engines on HBO August 24.

Get Pumped for Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi by Watching the Saddest Short Film Ever

Simu Liu isn’t exactly a household name, but he will be in February 2021 after the Canadian actor stars in Marvel’s first Asian-led movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That’s a long time to wait, but in the meantime, there’s plenty of Simu Liu content to enjoy right now on YouTube.

Skip that cringy Chinese news video where random people judge Liu’s looks and instead check out this hilarious viral video featuring the Shang-Chi actor as a high-energy “boyfriend coach” tasked with teaching a group of hapless men how to take photos of their girlfriends for Instagram. And now that you’re hooked, grab some tissues and prepare to cry while you watch this short film starring Liu as a single dad on his daughter’s sixth birthday. Seriously, it’s a tearjerker.

Together, these two videos demonstrate the range of Simu Liu as an actor. He can deliver jokes just as well as emotions, and that cross-section has quickly become Marvel’s sweet spot in movies like Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, if Liu can just master kung fu he’ll be all set for his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. — Jake Kleinman

  • Check out a bunch more of Simu Liu’s videos in this excellent roundup from Character Media.

It’s Finally Time to Binge Titans Ahead of Season 2

While everyone’s wondering what will happen with Spider-Man now that Sony’s deal with Marvel is kaput, it might be time to set your sights on another superhero team. The highly anticipated Season 2 of Titans hits DC Universe on September 6, which means there’s still plenty of time to binge-watch the show’s first season (DC Universe offers a seven-day free trial). The Teen Titans represent one of the most popular superhero teams of all time, and in this gritty, live-action version, we have Starfire (Anna Diop), Raven (Teagan Croft), and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), with Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) taking center stage as the reluctant vigilante-turned-cop.

The characters are all on their separate journeys, but they’re drawn to one another after the discovery that something (or someone) has sinister plans for Raven. Though Season 1 is somewhat uneven in its pacing, there are several bright spots that puncture the dark tone of the show, the biggest one being the interactions between the core four characters. Season 2 is set to be even more exciting with the addition of Iain Glen (aka Jorah Mormont from Game of Thrones) as Batman, Esai Morales as Deathstroke, and Natalie Gumede as Mercy Graves. Titans, go! — Mae Abdulbaki

Before the Netflix Prequel, Enter Thra in the Original The Dark Crystal

Next week, Netflix will premiere The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a live-action puppet fantasy film that serves as a prequel to the cult 1982 film The Dark Crystal. The new series features gorgeous, modern production while still sticking to old school Jim Henson puppetry, but the original film is also a must-see. It’s probably even required viewing before the series drops on August 30. Lucky for you, it’s also streaming on Netflix.

Set in the desolate world of Thra, The Dark Crystal tells the quest of Jen, a noble, young, elf-like “Gelfling” who must travel the world and return the lost shard of the Dark Crystal, a powerful gem capable of lending great power. The evil Skeksis worship and live off the Dark Crystal, but their unnatural long life functions like a drug for their species — and they want to live forever.

Co-directed by Henson and Frank Oz (also known for playing Yoda in Star Wars), the film is remembered for being tonally darker than Henson’s other works, like the Muppets. It was for this reason that The Dark Crystal was neither a critical nor a commercial hit when it was first released, but it later gained a stronger following when it hit home video.

Now, Netflix is capitalizing on the underappreciated film with all the production value a blockbuster could afford and the creative freedom that streaming allows. — Eric Francisco

Got a movie or TV show to recommend? Email it to us at corey@inverse.com and maybe we’ll feature it in next week’s newsletter.

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