[Film] The Golden Compass

I liked this film. It was a good accompaniment to my day dream and i am tempted to act against habit and check out the rest of the His Dark Materials Trilogy. Seems to prove that modern fantasy can be executed with style and tasteful homage to the greats (even Jungle Book!). There are plenty of big ideas running through it; of Christian authority, colonial capitalism, knowledge and power. Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Figaro.....Magnifico-o-o-o-o. I do wonder how much of it the kids will get, must quiz some.

My favourite thing about the fantasy lark is the world that is sculpted for the tourist to buy into. Pratchett's Discworld took this the next level, whilst still remaining very familiar indeed. Douglas Adams went intergalactic. Earthly newsmedia by comparison does such a crass job.

As far as I can tell this film explored the idea of the multiverse and soul splitting. Having your soul reside in a pet demon who follows you around is pretty cool, though must be a bit of a bummer in a combat situation. Or rather an escape from combat situation. Your enemy has two targets and I dont even want to think about friendly fire issues. I loved the way the civil servants/Inquisitors' souls' seemed to inhabit insectoid creatures and the academics free thinkers and creatives had altogether more wholesome animals.

Any sefl-respecting fantasy cinematic jive has to pull of a good ruck or two. This is now established Sunnah following the epic battles of LOTR. The two key combat scenes; a one-on-one armoured polar bear duel to the death for kingship that was quite jaw impacting, and a many-on-many battle of tatar foot soldiers vs funky airborne witches and gypsie skirmishers were good value. The author himself must have a good sense of humour. The 'I am your mother' confession near the end was a clear salute to Vader.

I warmed to a lot of the film's quirks. Firstly, Mister hero polar bear reminded me of one of my friends in body shape, gait and loyalty. Accents were great, while the lead little girl, actually had character, spine and brains. She didnt come across as one of those brats that they normally use. This might have something to do with the accent, but normally female characters in films tend to let the whole film down or need saving.

The Golden Compass device at the center of the story is intriguing. It allows you, the special user, to frame any question and get the to truth of the matter. I want one.

Guess i'll have to add that to the list then.


Shak said...

This definitely looks like one that'll split audiences. I thought it was quite unfinished and shallow myself

asikha said...

The poster reminds me of 'the never ending story' - used to love that movie!

Maybe I'll watch..

Anonymous said...

strange, haven't seen this film, but the take on it from this website is it is virulently (and tediously) anti-religious.


fug said...


a muslimmoviereview blog, written in american.

how quaint.

one thing that elevated this film in my view was that the accents werent american, except for one particularly cool character. The casting was very interesting. wordked well for me.

maybe tedium is in the eye of beholder.

I dont know what fiction is written without an author's feeling or shaping.

the coding of his own beliefs is there in the product, yes its important to discern whats going on at that particular level, if not so crassly.

Shak said...

Anon: does no one care about spoilers any more? I suggest taking a bit more care when linking to articles which spell out endings for those who don't want to know.

Major chips on shoulder in that particular muslim review, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the film was crap for many other reasons. It seems to be getting a universal panning, with Wired being the latest to agree that it's a bit of a shallow rush job.


Still I guess since it's at the top of the box office some people must have liked it, eh?

fug said...

success is a function of peoplw who went to see it. exit perception polls arent the basis of things like acclaim.

something like the golden compass, because of its specific genre and the ideas going through it... kinda stands apart from general hollywood produced jive. That is in the state policy of fugstarnagar.

I think a lot of panning might be because people expected more from it. I would have liked this one to go on telling the story for another 5 hours. Its a bit of a let down to leave the cinema and lose all the cute little critters and find a world full of more bearded hags. (less cool witches)

Shak said...

>kinda stands apart from general hollywood produced jive.

I think that just means you need to get out and watch more films.

It also seems that you like the universe rather than the film, which should be considered more and over the story it tells.

I would agree with that sentiment though - I want to read the books and look forward to enjoying them much more than I did Compass.