Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Golden Compass

I absolutely loved this film. I don't know if it was Nicole Kidman or the talking animals, called demons, but I absolutely loved it. I'd love to have the book and read it. The idea behind all this is so fascinating that any person who would be intelligent enough to see it would love it.

Still, it is pretty scary. If had children I am not sure if I would want them to watch it, but then most of the modern films and cartoons, are scary and violent. There is always a battle to be won and enemy to be destroyed... What happened to Cinderella? Bambi? What happened to the kids and the adults who write for kids?

No wonder Mr. Weatherman can not find a publisher that would love him. It is far too nice, kind and gentle, to be enjoyed by a modern child pumped with the ideas of violence.

Back to the subject. The Golden Compass is a tool of guidance but not as we know it. It provides insight into important matters of relevance. This little girl Lyra starts her journey to save her friend, and encounters various dangers including these polar bears that can talk, and this evil organisation that is capturing children and stealing their demons... Well I appear to be lousy at describing and summarizing this film so I'm calling for some IMBD help:

In a parallel world ruled by The Magisterium where people's souls have animal shapes, the orphan Lyra Belaqua is educated in the Jordan College, and her uncle and Professor Lord Asriel is her tutor. Lyra accidentally overhears a conversation about a research of Lord Asriel in the North Artic and the existence of a powerful Dust that unites different worlds. When her best friend Roger is kidnapped by the evil Gobblers, Lyra promises to rescue him. She is invited to go to the North with the influent Mrs. Coulter and the Jordan's Vice-Chancellor secretly gives her a magic golden compass capable of revealing the truth. When Lyra finds that Mrs. Coulter is the leader of the Gobblers, she escapes from her house and the runaway girl begins an amazing adventure in a war to save her friend and other missing children with her allied Gyptians, Witches and the strong Armored Bear Iorek Byrnison.

I don't know why I am struggling so much to write about this film, but I'll put it this way:
If you have that child that you once were, still inside of you, you must watch it!

1 comment:

Richard said...

I liked the movie too. I wrote about it here.

The movie and books are not without controversy, though. Numerous Roman Catholic organizations in the US (where else?) have condemned it as a vitriolic attack against the Catholic Church.

So, naturally, I read the whole trilogy (one day, I will write about it). As for it being a vitriolic attack against the Church ... erm ... no. Yes, it does have a sinister Church like organization, but the book is not abou that. They simply serve as the bogeyman. Which is a bit unfortunate, because there is no motivation, no reasoning, no rationale really given for their actions. As for the good guys (Lord Asriel), well, in the books, he is no better than the Church he struggles against. There is no explanation why his fight, his actions are different and noble compared to the Church's.

I found the whole trilogy overly long. It could easily be cut by a third making it tighter and flow better.

From an imaginative point of view, it borrows heavily from Judaic, Christian and Gnostic mythology, making it more interesting than the typical fair of dragons, orcs, goblins, elves and princesses in need of rescue.

The only anti-religious message comes late in the third book where an ex-nun (Mary Malone) states: "Christianity is a very powerful and convincing mistake." This hardly counts as a strong polemic against Christianity, since the rest of the series doesn't even offer the slightest discussion about it.

However, I don't think the book is suitable for the targeted age range (9-12), not because of the "anti-Church" stuff, that is just part of the backdrop, but rather because of other things I consider unsuitable for children.

My kids enjoyed the movie. I am not going to rush out and buy it (I don't think there is enough in it to see it a second time), but it made for a very entertaining afternoon out at the movies.

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