Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Compass

*****Big SPOILER Alert! If you have not either read the book or seen the movie, you may not want to read this just yet!!!****

That being said...

After months of waiting, I finally got to see The Golden Compass movie today. I'd heard about it a few months ago, and heard that it was written by an atheist and that it had gotten the church, the Catholic Church in particular, all up in arms and warning its members not to see the movie. So, I thought, I'd better check it out! (Same way I first encountered the Harry Potter series as well, for that matter, but that is beside the point.) Got to love the irony--as a major theme in The Golden Compass is like this: Don't let the Magisterium do your thinking for you!!! And in as far as the church wants to act like the Magisterium and control people's thinking, and only let them access the 'desired' truths, and only see movies with the 'desired' messages--well they are only proving Pullman's point, are they not? (They may not have the power now, but back when they were in control this was exactly the sort of thing they did.)

Ok, stepping off the soapbox now :)

I think the movie is worth seeing. For one thing, the visual effects were great. The daemons were just as good as I'd imagined them to be, and this is a great compliment for any 'based on book' movie. Also, they kept the story pretty well in tact--even though they had to do a lot of condensing. It's slightly less than 2 hours long. That is a lot of story to squeeze into two hours. I hope there is an extended version when it comes out on DVD.

I was also impressed with the way the characters were played out. The girl that played Lyra Silvertongue was great--especially in the scene with Iofer Raknison. And then there was the scene where Mrs. Coulter was looking at the picture of Lyra and the golden monkey slaps it out of her hand--and in return she slaps him. It really shows her as a person divided, which is not quite so clear in the first book of the series (comes out later though.) Her very soul is full of evil, but yet there is some sort goodness in there, fighting to come out? This was very nicely played by Nicole Kidman.

I have one beef with the movie--they cut out the last scene! Right after Lyra gets the kids out out Bolvangar and her and Roger get in the airship to go to Asriel, the credits come up! I was anticipating seeing Asriel blow the Northern sky open! When I saw that wasn't going to happen, at least not in this movie, I audibly said "You've got to be kidding me!" (a bit embarrassing, actually...) Lets just say that adding that last scene would have make the movie a lot more interesting and true to the book, and would have make a great cliffhanger in lieu of the next movie. However, it would have made the movie a bit darker, so that is probably why it wasn't included. You know if you've read the book, that when the alethiometer tells Lyra that she is bringing Asriel what he needs, it is not referring to itself. And I'll leave that at that--you will have to either read the book or wait until the next movie to find exactly what I mean.

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