Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Golden Compass - Northern Lights - Review

So, I went to see The Golden Compass on Sunday night, and I wasn't looking forward to it... why? Because all the critics had bemoaned the thinning of its content. The theological discussions were gone, the anti-christian sentiment had been eradicated. There was little left but a quest movie. Pah!

Why would I want to see something so skinny? Well, let's get this straight - it's not anti-christian, it's anti-controlling-power, and the magisterium is still in it, and there is enough references there for people to know what it all means. As for the theological. So what? It's been cut back! Who cares, it's still there, it's still obvious, and as with all other book to film renditions, the subtext can easily be read by the intelligent simply by picking up the book - that's the wonder of books, they're there to fill in the gaps in the movies.

I was thoroughly impressed, and though I bow to the omnipotence of Lord of the Rings, there is no way that Golden Compass doesn't sit alongside the quest movies of Star Wars and Harry Potter. They're all geared towards family viewing, they're all light on theology, they've got good vs bad... in fact this is a far better film than Harry Potter. There's so much more to it, not least Dakota Blue Richards's acting ability. Aside from some of the silly ways in which the script writer has attempted to insert Lyra's common pronunciations (as in from talking normally to the odd cockney moment) she is perfect.

The daemons work wonderfully on the screen and the polar bears look great. I would have preferred the full ending, but I understand why this has been put back to the second film... if there is ever to be one.

Unfortunately the American public haven't bothered to go see it, and I fear this amazing story is going to fall at the first hurdle. It's a shame, because it is such a brilliant story.

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