Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Golden Compass

This is the movie we have been waiting for all year and the Daughter and I were very excited to finally get to see it last night. I loved the book The Golden Compass, and of course one worries that one's favorite books will be destroyed in movies, but I never can help going to see them anyway. This one wasn't destroyed. It wasn't nearly as good as the book, of course, but it was pretty good for a movie. We enjoyed it, although the Daughter was a bit put out by where it ended.

The controversy first:

I have mainly one thing to say to the posters-of-dire-internet-warnings: please. The early ending was doubtless in deference to those, leaving it open as to whether or not other movies are made... I'm guessing not, after all the fluff. Also, in deference to the offended, the Church was never mentioned... just the Magisterium. One would have to know what the word "heresy" means to get one's hackles up even a little and, well... let's be honest about most people's vocabularies, shall we? It was not offensive. Really.

The bad:

A bit heavy-handed with the exposition and deus ex machina plot devices to make everything fit, most especially where the witch and Lee Scoresby were concerned. Mrs. Coulter got a bit too mushy at one point, but not by too much. There is only so much computer animation that feels okay with me.

The skinny:

Mainly, it was as good as I think a movie could make it. Lyra is a fierce little girl, growing up under the benevolent neglect of the scholars of Jordan College in an another world's Oxford. Dark forces are at work, hurting children and threatening the order of her world. Lyra is in possession of a golden compass, an alethiometer, which tells the truth and which only she can read. Lyra must find out what's going on, try to rescue her friend Roger and save her world. It ends before things get dodgy, which was fine with me but which upset the Daughter. All in all, it could never come close to the book, but it was good.



At 12:47 PM, Blogger Jeanne said...

I didn't know you love movies too! :-) I'm a huge film fan, and I especially love good (not just plain good, but rockin' good) kids' movies. The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Fest has a sub-fest called "Childish Films," and that's amazing because the rest of the world does a better job at staying outside of stereotypes.

I loved the Golden Compass books, but was a bit disappointed by the movie. One of the things I loved about the books was how very *Quaker* it seemed, especially in how Lyra learned how to use the alethiometer to find truth. I was disappointed that the movie just glossed over a part that felt so huge to me, and so essential to Lyra's development and the overall themes.

I'll be checking this blog frequently!


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