View Full Version : The Golden Compass

12-09-2007, 12:30 AM
Saw this film today....

I enjoyed it very much. I think we're seeing another case of the critics making much ado about nothing as far as "controversy" and the complaints I've read...well, I just didn't see them. I think I liked Ebert's even-handed review best (despite a couple of his mis-steps in re-counting the movie's story):


Is it a perfect movie? No...it does suffer from the "board room jitters" with the editing (especially the sudden end...more on that in a moment) and some of the effects are a little undercooked (most notably, some of the smaller animal daemons and some slight mismatching green screen work in the arctic sequences but nothing to stop the movie cold)...but it generally is a real feast visually, with an interesting design sense in it's "alternate universe".

I've never read the books, but thanks to a brief opening narration that quickly explains the "alternate universe" and "daemon" concepts, it was easy to just get swept along with Lara's story and just take the story elements at face value...it actually was good that the movie didn't spend a lot of plodding exposition explaining it's politics and everyone's motivations were pretty clear just in the course of the story.

Now it does move along at a pretty good clip...almost too quickly...one is left with the sense that there could be an expanded cut of this on DVD someday fleshing out some of the story and characters a bit. All of the actors...both the onscreen and voice ones...make the most of their limited screen time to great effect. Sam Elliot in particular plays the same kind of character we've seen him do before, but in this fantasy world, it adds a sense of the familiar, as does the stern vocal tones of Ian McKellen as Iorek, Lara's polar bear companion.

That ending...I went with someone who is very familiar with the books and commented that while it seemed a bit lackluster and abrupt, it made sense for the movie...to help it "stand alone" a little better...yes, there is a huge "come back for the sequel" vibe to it, but not as much as there would have been with the original book's ending. Funny thing as, if you've viewed the trailers for the film, you've seen the "original" ending...young Lara falling from the airship into the cloudy abyss...the end! For a first chapter in a movie series, that most likely would've tee'd off audiences even more. Word is they are saving that sequence to open the next film with...

If there is a next film...with all the bad buzz this movie is getting, it may not have the opportunity to find the audience that would embrace it. I think older audiences will enjoy it...it's thought-provoking and visually beautiful. The so-called "anti-religious" content has been tamed, but anyone paying attention gets the real message here of anti-authority and maintaining free will that is being presented. As I mentioned, the book lover I caught the movie with loved it and said it maintained the spirit of the novels well...and let's remember, another great movie series based on beloved books took some liberties with some story elements and worked quite well (LOTR)...and as someone who came into the world of the "Golden Compass" uninitiated, I throughly enjoyed the trip and hope there's more to come...

Now if only Sideshow would get the license to produce some 1:6 scale figures...I'd love to see "Lord Asriel" and "Lee Scorsby" figures....:)

12-09-2007, 12:53 AM
I really enjoyed the film myself. It was probably one of the better fantasy adaptions I've seen in a while. I'd put it ahead of Chronicles of Narnia even. The acting and special effects were great. And Nicole Kidman is fantastic as the primary villain. I've never read the novels, but it didn't take long for me to grasp everything thanks to the opening narration. Hopefully there is an extended cut DVD in the future.

I don't think the buzz on the film is that bad from what I've heard. And everyone I know who actually went and saw it enjoyed it. But were surprised by the violent end of the bear fight in a PG-13 kids film. I'm sure we'll get the other two chapters, especially since some of the big named casting like Sam Elliot and Daniel Craig don't have large roles in the first one. But have much expanded roles in the others.

12-10-2007, 01:54 PM
I'd like to see it for the special effects, because that armoured polar bear looks pretty cool. I've heard about the anti-GOD elements of the next few books, but don't think it can be any worse than your average episode of Star Trek. I wouldn't take my nephews to watch it, but I'm secure enough in my beliefs that I don't think a kid's movie is going to present a crisis of faith for me.

Our local theater here refused to play the movie, I talked to them at our Bible study last Tuesday and they said they had no intention of running the movie and would rather risk a financial hit than compromise their beliefs. I applaud them for that.:thumbsup:

However, the movie flopped this opening weekend, only making $26 million. By comparison TPM made $64 million, Chronicles of Narnia made $65 million and Passion of the Christ made $83 million in their opening weekends.

It looks like the sequel might go straight to DVD at this rate.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
12-28-2007, 05:59 PM
As far as any religious things, I read the first book without knowing about any of it and didn't pick up on the religious stuff; I saw it more as anti-authority than anti-religious, anti-Catholic, anti-God, or whatever. But apparently the other books are heavier on that theme, and all the religious references have been taken out of the movie. I don't know why they did that when they can show Narnia and Passion of the Christ without worrying about offending non-Christians.

Anyway, I think I'll be seeing it soon. No matter what, armored polar bears beating the crap out of each other is awesome. :eek:

12-29-2007, 12:13 AM
No matter what, armored polar bears beating the crap out of each other is awesome. :eek:

It's the only cool scene in the movie. You might as well just look for that scene on YouTube and wait until the DVD comes out.